It's not easy to keep your cool when bigotry rears its ugly head, particularly when it's directed at you. But Mitchell McCoy, an Arkansas reporter at KARK 4 News and Fox 16 News, handled it with aplomb.
McCoy, who is openly gay, recently tweeted out a screenshot of a homophobic email he received from a KARK viewer. "I watched KARK before you joined and it was a reputable broadcast until you joined," the email read. "I have been holding back for months but I can't stand your gayness. You are on television every night and our children should not be watching people like you. You are a disgrace to Arkansas and I will be asking your boss to take you off."
The person took care to tell McCoy not to be offended, but "society is not ready for gay men reading the news."
But instead of responding with anger, McCoy took the high road and responded with words of encouragement to others:
No matter who you are or what you believe in - dream loudly and don't let anyone get in your way. The minute you stop is the minute you stop being who you are. It's not worth it.
KARK's News Director Austin Kellerman told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he stood firmly behind McCoy. "As public figures, our journalists often receive messages from viewers — some good, some bad. It's part of our profession. Mitch is a great journalist, and we're happy to have him on our team," Kellerman said.
McCoy's response was met with widespread praise from many people on Twitter.
In an email to A Plus, McCoy said that he was overwhelmed by the support he's received from Arkansas locals and people all over the world.
"While I'm humble and grateful for my managers and co-workers at KARK, some are not so fortunate. For anyone going through a rough patch in life, remember there is always light at the end of the tunnel," he wrote. "Trust me, I've been there."