The overnight outrage was stoked, in part, by Mike Cernovich, once branded by The New Yorker "the meme mastermind of the alt-right." On Tuesday evening, Cernovich tweeted to his 258,000 followers an exchange Colbert had with an audience member last summer.
The exchange took place during a question-and-answer session that was not broadcast as part of The Late Show.
That joke, it must be said in fairness to Colbert's detractors, is hopelessly juvenile in nature, as are those that have followed; it does, moreover, historically have homophobic connotations.
The Daily Beast bemoaned Spayd having fallen for what it called an "alt-right harassment campaign." It's hard to call the #FireColbert campaign "harassment," since Colbert plainly knew the joke would invite controversy (which doesn't exactly hurt his ratings).
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald, who is gay, tweeted Tuesday morning: "Homophobia for the right cause, with the right targets, is good homophobia, apparently." And the deputy editor for The Huffington Post's Queer Voices section, James Michael Nichols, wrote that "Colbert’s decision to make this kind of joke illustrates a kind of casual homophobia that permeates American culture―even among supposed liberal allies with massive media platforms.