(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Republican Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally announced he would be pausing his social media use on Monday after posting complimentary comments on the Instagram posts of a scantily clad queer man.
McNally’s account repeatedly commented on various racy pictures, saying “Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine,” “Super look Finn,” and “way to go Finn!!! You light up the world!!”
McNally told ABC affiliate WKRN in a statement that he has “long been active on social media” and engaged with constituents via posts, comments and messages. He said the comments on these posts “are no different.”
“While I see now that I should have been more careful about how my comments and activity would be perceived, my intent was always engagement and encouragement,” he said in the statement.
He continued, “I apologize for any embarrassment my postings have caused my family, friends and colleagues. For this reason, I will be pausing my social media activity in order to reflect and receive more guidance on the use of social media.”
Under Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and McNally, several policies targeting the LGBTQ community have been passed, including restrictions on certain types of performances in a public space, which can include drag shows, and restrictions on transgender youth health care.
McNally said in the statement to WKRN that though he has made some mistakes in his use of social media, it’s inaccurate to call him “anti-gay,” as he has spoken out against an anti-LGBTQ adoption bill that protects religious adoption agencies in their ability to discriminate against same-sex couples.
“On a personal level, nothing could be further from the truth. I believe every person has value and deserves respect regardless of their orientation,” said McNally. “I am 79 years old, and was raised in a time when homosexuality was deeply shameful. And I absolutely still hold traditional Tennessee values dear.”
Lee was called out on social media after a yearbook photo of him apparently dressed in women’s clothing and a wig became public following passage of the law that restricts drag performances.
Lee has yet to respond to ABC News’ request for comment concerning the apparent yearbook photo. But his office told NBC News that “any attempt to conflate this serious issue with lighthearted school traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to Tennessee families.”
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