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Journalist who broke story about Tennessee’s Lt. Gov. liking gay pics says his home was shot up

Justin Kanew
Justin KanewPhoto: Screenshot

The pro-LGBTQ+ founder of a progressive news site covering Tennessee politics says his home was targeted in a late-night shooting over the weekend. He has recently gotten attention online for breaking the story of Tennessee’s anti-LGBTQ+ lieutenant governor liking gay thirst pics on Instagram and asking the state’s anti-drag governor about his past dressing in drag.

Luckily, no one was hurt.

On Thursday, Tennessee Holler founder and former U.S. congressional candidate Justin Kanew tweeted a statement describing the incident. “On Saturday night, someone targeted our home by shooting several bullets into our house while my family was sleeping,” he wrote. “This violence has no place in a civilized society and we are thankful no one was physically hurt.”

“The authorities have not completed their investigation and right now we do not know for sure the reason for this attack,” Kanew continued. “We urge the Williamson County Sheriff’s office to continue to investigate this crime and help shed light on Saturday’s unfortunate events and bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.”

As Tennessee Lookout notes, Kanew is known for holding state Republican lawmakers’ feet to the fire, frequently questioning them at the Tennessee Capitol while filming on his cell phone. He’s grilled state GOP leaders on their support of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. In February, he confronted Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R) about a state law intended to outlaw drag shows and ban gender-affirming care for transgender young people. Johnson lashed out, calling Kanew a “jackass” and a “loser.”

The same month, after a 1977 yearbook photo surfaced appearing to show Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) in drag, Kanew asked the governor whether he remembered dressing in drag. Lee was a supporter of the state’s anti-drag bill, signing it into law on February 28.

“What a ridiculous, ridiculous question that is,” Lee said in response to Kanew. “Conflating something like that to sexualized entertainment in front of children, which is a very serious subject.”

In March, Kanew broke the story of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally’s (R) seemingly flirtatious social media interactions with a 20-year-old gay man who posted scantily clad photos on Instagram.

More recently, Kanew has been covering efforts to strengthen Tennessee gun laws in the wake of the March 27 mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, which left three teachers and three nine-year-old students dead.

In addition to founding The Tennessee Holler and running for the state’s 7th Congressional District as a Democrat, Kanew also appeared in two seasons of the CBS reality competition series The Amazing Race in 2009 and 2011.

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