UPDATED 5:29 p.m. E.T.: Christine Quinn has issued a statement apologizing for her remarks against Cynthia Nixon. Her statement to TIME reads:
"Cynthia Nixon’s identity has no bearing on her gubernatorial candidacy and it was not my intention to suggest it did. I want to be clear about that. I would never, ever, criticize someone because of their identity. I’ve experienced that kind of criticism time and time again and I would never support it or condone it. As a lesbian who ran one of the most high-profile races in the country, I know what that’s like. And I know it’s imperative that we encourage more members of our community to run for office.”
“Cynthia Nixon aggressively opposed my candidacy in New York, despite my qualifications for the office and despite my strong progressive credentials. I was attempting to make a comparison between the two of us. The real point I am trying to make is that qualifications matter and records matter. I do not believe she has the qualifications or the record.”
Quinn also sent out clarifications on her personal Twitter account, stating that the "real point" she had intended was that "qualifications matter."
Original story below.
When former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon announced that she'd be running for governor of New York, it didn't take long for people to speak out in opposition to the latest instance of a celeb-turned-politician. But out of the sea of people voicing their skepticism, one particularly barbed retort from former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stood out as especially harsh.
Just a day after Nixon had announced her campaign, Quinn spoke out against her, referring to the actress as "an unqualified lesbian." Quinn explained to the New York Post that back in 2013, Nixon chose to endorse current NYC mayor Bill De Blasio over her when she ran against him in the Democratic primary that year.
Quinn, who is also an openly gay politician, went on to express some harsh opinions of Nixon's latest career choice. "Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City. Now she wants to be an unqualified lesbian to be the governor of New York. You have to be qualified and have experience. She isn’t qualified to be the governor," Quinn said.
While Quinn can appreciate that they are of the same political leaning on most issues, she condemned Nixon's critiques of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and insisted that it takes more than being "a reliably leftist celebrity" to run a state government. "But she’s never run an organization. Being an actress and celebrity doesn’t make you qualified for public office," Quinn said. "This is a time to move away from celebrity and toward progressive leadership."
Nixon didn't seem all too bothered by Quinn's comments, however. In an expertly political move, she quickly pivoted the conversation from Quinn's name-calling to the need for ending the corruption in Albany. "It’s time for an outsider. I’m not an Albany insider," she said. Despite her lack of experience, it looks like Nixon has a pretty good grasp of the political game so far.