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GOProud becomes even less gay

Timothy Kincaid

December 15th, 2011

GOProud is a rightwing political organization masquerading as a gay group. Yes, there are gay members – at least three – but their goals, intentions, and actions reveal them to be interested in gay issues only in the context of how they can be spun for partisan advantage.

Indeed, the irony of their existence can be seen in their self description: “GOProud represents gay conservatives and their allies.” Implicit in that definition is the understanding that by “conservatives”, GOProud means social conservatives generally and advocates of anti-gay policies specifically. While they claim to be “committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy” their alliances and admiration are restricted to those who oppose individual liberty and they have disdain for any whose beliefs in limited government cause them to see DOMA as a violation of freedom that strikes at the core of the US Constitution and who is dedicated to seeing it stricken down.

GOProud is an organization that sees itself primarily in terms of what it is not. And number one to its member is their identity as NOT being part of what they call “the Gay Left”, a moniker they apply to anyone regardless of their place on the political spectrum who believes that gay people are equal and that such a notion is worth fighting for. To GOProud, I am the Gay Left, the writers at the Independent Gay Forum are the Gay Left, all Europeans regardless of ideology (or sexuality) are the Gay Left, and if you read Box Turtle Bulletin, you too are the Gay Left. In fact, it would seem that the only gay people who are not the Gay Left would be the handful (I count three) of gay people involved with the loud but irrelevant group itself.

GOProud is also NOT the Log Cabin Republicans. In fact, GOProud is so much NOT Log Cabin that they split from Log Cabin over that organization’s priorities. You see, Log Cabin didn’t see much value to, say, lobbying Congress in favor of second amendment rights, though most members do hold those rights as valuable. Rather, they put their emphasis in explaining, clarifying, lobbying and seeking to influence those who they agree with on gun rights on issues about which they are better acquainted, i.e. gay rights.

So these fellows left to start GOProud, organization that is comprised mostly of gay men but which doesn’t want to talk about gay issues but instead wants to lobby on other issues like gun rights but doesn’t want to join a gun rights group choosing instead to be a gay group but not gay first but Republican first but not like that other gay group with is really pro-gay but instead we are the ones who don’t want to get along Democrats at all ever and if they support something we promise to criticize it and be really good and never ever criticize a conservative Republican no matter what he says or does and we promise to call any pro-gay Republicans “squishy” or RINO or anything else you want so please please love us please.

In case you haven’t caught on, I don’t have much respect for the group. As of today I have even less.

GOProud has imploded. It had to happen eventually. When an organization is created solely so it’s members can behave like 13 year old boys, it’s inevitable that they will. And this week leaders Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron proved that true.

Rick Perry killed any vestige of hope of being President by running an amazingly homophobic ad. But the most interesting part of that story was about how Perry’s advisors were not of one mind on the ad. Specifically, Anthony Fabrizio went public with his opposition – something I can’t recall from an active part of a candidate’s team.

GOProud’s response was to out Fabrizio.

Now a part of me would like to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe DiSalvia and Barron were not trying to punish Fabrizio for rocking the boat. Maybe.

In response to a virulently homophobic ad by presidential candidate Rick Perry, Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron outed Perry campaign consultant Anthony Fabrizio as being gay, saying it was “the height of hypocrisy for Tony Fabrizio to have been a part of that.” Follow up by the Washington Post found that Fabrizio was not “a part of that” and that the ad was created over his objections. To which LaSalvia and Barron responded that “he should have quit”.

In consequence, conservative prankster Andrew Brietbart quit as an advisor to GOProud. He, like myself, opposes outing (though I suspect for different reasons). And then the Board issued a statement opposing outing.

And finally, Chris Barron stepped down from his role as Chairman of the board. In his place, the board has appointed Lisa de Pasquale, a far right social conservative activist, to head the organization.

I don’t know de Pasquale’s orientation. The only references google gave for “Lisa de Pasquale” and “lesbian” were nasty comments she’d written which clearly suggest that she sees lesbians as inherently objectionable.

If de Pasquale is lesbian, she is of the closeted variety. The nasty vicious hateful closeted variety.

Which makes GOProud accomplish something I would have thought unlikely a week ago: become even less relevant.

Sure gay groups have straight members. Some are in leadership. And that is part of inclusiveness.

But when you choose a not-openly-gay person to head the board because you don’t actually have any other gay people, you don’t get to call yourself a gay group anymore.

At this point I think perhaps we should treat GOProud like PFOX: an irrelevant group claiming to represent people who don’t know or care that they exist.

Jimmy and Chris, your little stunt was fun while it lasted, but it’s time you just went home and did something productive with your lives.

[Revised to correct the timeline on the outing of Tony Fabrizio]

Comments

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Lucrece
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Fabrizio did not publicly object to the ad. He objected to the ad as an insider toward fellow insiders.

He did not release a statement of opposition to the ad to various LGBT/adjacent media until LaSalvia outed him.

In fact, it was only after the JMG blogosphere started the firestorm that it led to reports from publications such as the Miami Herald to question him and in the pressure he THEN released a statement.

“Specifically, Anthony Fabrizio went public with his opposition – something I can’t recall from an active part of a candidate’s team.

GOProud’s response was to out Fabrizio.

Now a part of me would like to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe DiSalvia and Barron were not trying to punish Fabrizio for rocking the boat. Maybe.”

This is a perversion of the story. They did not out him for dissenting to Perry’s campaign.

If you actually read LaSalvia’s tweet and the later Barron tweets, it’s fairly clear they were taking issue with Fabrizio’s failure to speak out against this openly anti-gay ad. A hypocritical decision perhaps given their approach when Coulter took a dump on gay guests during their fundraiser.

The outing is positioned particularly as retribution for Fabrizio not being upfront about his objections to it, and the last tweets LaSalvia made complained about how it wasn’t enough to oppose the ads, but rather how a resignation from the campaign should be what any gay man should do.

Ned Flaherty
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Your 5th paragraph definition of GOProud’s schizophrenic identity (crisis) is the best I’ve seen anywhere.

No one who reads it will give GOProud any more attention, and any GOProuders who read it will have to acknowledge the bankrupt nature of their silly, dishonest venture.

Ryan
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Yeah, Lucrece is right. As absolutely loathe I am to give GOProud any sort of complement, they more-or-less did the right thing here, albeit in a very immature way. They opposed the ad and publicly condemned it and then outed Fabrizio for going along with it. Given their usual embracing of all things anti-gay, it was a bizarre bit of cognitive dissonance, but it was refreshing to see nonetheless. But of course, it was a move that cost them whatever remaining cache they had with a party that already barely tolerated them and out they go. Maybe this will be the eye-opener they need.

Lucrece
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Eh, the difference between GOProud and LCR is that LCR enjoys the perks of being an organization with chapters so it’s harder to pin single decisions on one entity.

Don’t forget that DC LCR condemened the outing of Fabrizio as Perry’s campaign advisor (and Florida’s anti-gay Governor Rock Scott).

Both the LCR and GOProud are often willing to throw gay and lesbian interests under the bus in order to maintain party accessibility.

LCR endorced John “I will raise Hell and was almost successful in stymying DADT repeal” McCain and a happy endorsement of Sarah Palin.

LCR is fairly schizophrenic, having the backbone to deny Bush an endorsement but recoiling the scorn and lack of access they suffered afterwards.

Lynn David
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Young Conservatives has called De Pasquale a RINO for her support of GoProud at CPAC:
http://youngcc.blogspot.com/2010/12/rino-watch-lisa-depasquale.html And CPAC dumped her for 2011.

AConservativeLesbian.com (http://aconservativelesbian.com/) claims De Pasquale is straight.

Ray Harwick
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Thanks for that brilliant critique of GOProud. It was long overdue. I struggle to understand how these fanatics would be the arbiters of what or whom is conservative when I’ve been a conservative since before most of GOProud’s membership was born. They are indistinguishable from the homophobic candidates they hold out as legitimate leadership in the current GOP nomination race and no less repulsive in their gay skin than Roy Coen. Their legacy is to be shamed.

TampaZeke
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy, Lucrece is right. Fabrizio didn’t mention to anyone outside of the campaign that he objected to the ad until after he was “outed” by Barron and LaSalvia.

As for “outing”; political hypocrisy is exposed and reported on all the time. In other cases it’s not considered controversial but rather a requirement of journalism. Why should gay political hypocrisy be given special, untouchable privilege?

Priya Lynn
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Goproud has made the log cabin republicans seem reasonable and rational.

Tom in Lazybrook
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Why not have Peter Thiel take over the board? Isn’t he the one funding the whole show anyway?

Timothy Kincaid
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Lucrese,

You have a most peculiar set of “facts” there in your effort to equate Log Cabin and GOProud. Your adjectives are, to say the least, creative.

I know them to be wrong – but then again I’m working from actual knowledge and not out of animus-based speculation.

Timothy Kincaid
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Zeke,

I have long believed that each person is entitled to come to terms with their own sexuality in their own time.

Sometimes it can be frustrating, especially when we think that we could benefit from taking that right away from a person and deciding for them. But that is not our decision to make.

Some argue that when a politician or other person in power is actively harming the gay community but is personally benefiting from the sexual freedoms, then outing is justified. Roy Cohn comes to mind.

There may be merit to that argument. And when those strict parameters are observed, I tend to withhold criticism of the decision to make their orientation public. IF the purpose is to stop a harm.

But unfortunately, this very quickly leads to definitions of “politician” and of “harm the community” that cover just about anyone at all.

Take Fabrizio. He is a consultant. He makes no laws, he is not running for office, he has no direct power over any aspect of any person’s life.

And, from all that we’ve heard, Fabrizio seeks to influence Republican politicians away from anti-gay advocacy. He appears to encourage tolerance and advise acceptance. That would not fall under my definition of “harm”.

But for some, that he works for a Republican at all is concrete evidence of his intentional malicious harm to all gay people the world over. And for some, that he has a job within the political sphere is sufficient to call him a politician.

You argue that the media exposes hypocrisy. But whose? While it is true that the hypocrisy of those in power is exposed by the media, it would never extend to someone on Fabrizio’s level. There are no media stories tracking down the beliefs or lives of campaign consultants and comparing them to the positions of the candidates they are working for. And I’m sure you would find it as offensive and distasteful as I would were there such “exposes”.

But let’s talk about what is really going on with this story. Lets be honest for a moment about some of the motivations behind the condemnation of Fabrizio.

Tony Fabrizio is accepted by some people whom we want to hate. We claim that Rick Perry hates gay people (and there is truth to that statement). But Tony Fabrizio’s existence challenges that statement and insists that we think with nuance rather than in all or nothing, black and white terms. And we don’t want to think with nuance, we want bumper stickers. We want our bad guys to be all bad with no exceptions. So as Perry accepts Fabrizio, we transfer our anger to him. And outing is a punishment.

The thinking behind GOProud – and, indeed, most outing is to punish. If you dare take a position or support a candidate that we don’t like, then we will punish you.

I find that thinking troublesome. But, on some level, I can agree with consequences flowing from actions.

However, there is something within me that objects to outing as punishment. It relies on the assumption that being out is a bad thing, that being gay is shameful, that the negative consequence that might flow from such a situation are deserved. And I believe that being gay is natural, deserves no shame, and should never result in negative consequence or, indeed, any consequences at all.

And punitive outing also assumes that the person outed “will see what those haters really think about them.” Which is ironically counterproductive. Because outing elicits sympathy from those who oppose our community. And it reinforces their impression of the outers as vindictive and amoral and lacking in decency. It quite often results in both a quick note of commiseration for the victim and a renewed commitment to oppose equality.

And, unfortunately, outing tends to bring out the worst in each of us. I wish it were not true, but for a good many people in our community Fabrizio’s outing brought a smile of joy. Not that Fabrizio will in the process come to live a more full more open life, but a smile because today Fabrizio is unhappy and his unhappiness delights them.

I didn’t in this particular instance, but I certainly have had a smug little smile in the past about some who were exposed. “Ha, let them feel what it’s like!” I’m not proud of that.

But it happens and if it’s a Republican it seems to be even more evident. Because there are those in our community – there are those reading this comment – who hate Republicans more than Rick Perry hates gays. Perry will tolerate a closeted gay man working on his campaign, but they have no exceptions to their hate.

Those people don’t see Fabrizio as a brother. In their us v. them thinking, he is a “them”.

Of course this isn’t everyone and the BTB readers are far more nuanced and thoughtful than those whom I read commenting elsewhere. But even so, we have some who cannot think in terms other than absolute.

I think that we need to be more mindful that closeted gays are our people as well. We’ve most of us been there. We know the fear. That we “got over it” shouldn’t invalidate the reality of the closeted person’s experience.

I believe with firm conviction that most people are much much happier after they come out. I believe with firm conviction that the conflicts and tension and confusion and misery of the closet is not worth whatever benefit the believe it brings.

But that is not always true. For some few, the closet is the best place for them and coming out will result in losses that are too great to overcome.

And I believe with even firmer conviction that this is a decision that is each person’s to make and only in very very rare circumstances should it be made for them by someone else.

Timothy Kincaid
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

RE the timeline:

Before the ad was created, Fabrizio sent an email to Nelson Warfield calling the idea “nuts”. Warfield has told the Post that Fabrizio opposed the idea from the beginning and it was made over his objection.

I have not yet been able to work out whether Fabrizio’s objections were made public before LaSalvia’s tweet or after. So I’ve revised my commentary above.

Erin
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Can we please not make comparisons between GoProud and LCR? Yes, they’re both Republican groups that are also have or had gay members. That’s where the comparison ends. LCR has actually done things for the gay community. They did not want to wait around for Congress to get around to DADT. They sued over it and continued to fight even when the legislation passed, because it needed to be struck down and called UnConstitutional right away, lest the law doesn’t get changed back again with a new administration.

Lucrece
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

And I’m the one accused of animus based speculation in a comment thread for an article that had to revise its timeline due to such obvious “animus” that also lead to a complete misrepresentation (a “creative” one, as you would call it) of GOProud’s tweets.

Feel free to consider yourself impartial and fair if it makes you feel better. Not that anyone will be fooled about where your graces lie on the GOProud v. LCR divide.

Pretend to be magnanimous about your approach while in the same breath you describe people you disagree with as “13 year old boys”.

“If de Pasquale is lesbian, she is of the closeted variety. The nasty vicious hateful closeted variety.”

Baseless speculation and animus-born assumptions.

“Take Fabrizio. He is a consultant. He makes no laws, he is not running for office, he has no direct power over any aspect of any person’s life.

And, from all that we’ve heard, Fabrizio seeks to influence Republican politicians away from anti-gay advocacy. He appears to encourage tolerance and advise acceptance. That would not fall under my definition of “harm”.”

Cite your sources. No, really, I’m pulling that card now. I want you to cite where you’ve hear from that Fabrizio makes it his task to advocate for gay people in the campaigns of anti-gay politicians he works to get elected for.

Fabrizio makes no laws — he just aids the people who will get elected. People he knows to be virulently and unequivocally bigoted. Let’s split hairs.

“Tony Fabrizio is accepted by some people whom we want to hate. We claim that Rick Perry hates gay people (and there is truth to that statement). But Tony Fabrizio’s existence challenges that statement and insists that we think with nuance rather than in all or nothing, black and white terms. And we don’t want to think with nuance, we want bumper stickers. We want our bad guys to be all bad with no exceptions. So as Perry accepts Fabrizio, we transfer our anger to him. And outing is a punishment.”

Funny, this strikes me as just the same activity you love to engage in whenever GOProud is involved.

Coulter accepts Barron and LaSalvia. LaPasquale accepts them too, alongside all those advisory board members. Barron is still chariman emeritus. LaSalvia remains executive director. Barron and LaSalvia have been shown to advocate for DADT repeal to these kind of people, not that you would acknowledge that.

Instead of outing them, considering they at least have the decency to be open about their aid to heterosexist bigots, you call them 13 year olds and gloat about the fall of GOProud. You call them puppets of the social conservatives. You decide that they’re not a legitimate gay organization because they don’t put gay advocacy first (and when you’re reminded of McCain’s endorsement by LCR you shrug it off as people getting creative with adjectives and facts).

“Those people don’t see Fabrizio as a brother. In their us v. them thinking, he is a “them”.

Of course this isn’t everyone and the BTB readers are far more nuanced and thoughtful than those whom I read commenting elsewhere. But even so, we have some who cannot think in terms other than absolute.

I think that we need to be more mindful that closeted gays are our people as well. We’ve most of us been there. We know the fear. That we “got over it” shouldn’t invalidate the reality of the closeted person’s experience.”

That’s a strange form of brotherly love you’ve extended to LaSalvia/Barron and possibly LaPasquale (she’s of the bad closeted kind, as opposed to Fabrizio’s “help Perry/Rick Scott get elected” good kind).

When I was closeted, I didn’t decide to make my way into the social circle of homophobic jerks and defend my position by claiming “I did not participate in homophobic bullying — I just lent them legitimacy by validating their social status as a desirable group culture.”

The umbrage people take with Fabrizio is not that he works for Republicans, as much as you like to trot out that persecuted gay Republican complex. The annoyance comes from the efforts this private gay man contributes to empowering bigots.

Somehow GOProud rubs you as a laughable propaganda machine for social conservatives, and yet part of being a lead strategist+pollster for the Perry campaign makes Fabrizio a contributor to the same machine. Except he’s been outed by GOProud, and that ultimately makes him a nuanced good guy in any story as fasr as you’re concerned.

Erin
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

“I don’t know de Pasquale’s orientation. The only references google gave for “Lisa de Pasquale” and “lesbian” were nasty comments she’d written which clearly suggest that she sees lesbians as inherently objectionable.” This is not a suggestion that she is a lesbian. It’s not even speculation that’s she may be a lesbian. It goes on to point out that what is supposed to be an alliance of gay and straight Conservatives is now actually headed by a woman who had nothing but nasty things to say about lesbians. I don’t know which particular story is correct in this Fabbrizzio thing, but I do know Timothy is spot on when he says the GoProud founders have acted like a bunch of 13 year old boys. I agree with him and I’m not ashamed of it. Chris Barron makes himself look like a jackass on a constant basis. Anyone who insists peaceful protesters committing civil disobedience for a cause, whether you agree with it or not. deserves a mouth and face full of bear pepper spray is either a psychopath or very ignorant and immature. Calling someone who quotes him verbatim for the vile things he says a “fat loser” makes him childish.

That being said, if Barron and LaSalvia genuinely thought this guy was backstabbing the gay community for his own gain, then I agree with outting him, whether I generally like what GoProud stands for or not. I would have clapped if someone could have outted Ken Mehlman sooner. What a despicable human being he is.

Timothy Kincaid
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Lucrese,

I am not impartial about the difference between LCR and GOProud. Nor do I pretend to be. One is a gay organization that tries to advance our rights, the other is not.

Erin addressed the de Pasquale comment nicely.

Cite your sources. No, really, I’m pulling that card now.

This is not news to anyone involved in gay politics, but here’s Sam Stein on HuffPo

And Fabrizio has done polling for the Log Cabin Republicans in addition to urging lawmakers to reconsider their approach to the culture wars and embrace basic fairness for gay Americans on the issue of marriage.

You decide that they’re not a legitimate gay organization because they don’t put gay advocacy first…

Yes, exactly. Political groups that do not focus on gay advocacy are not “gay groups”.

As for the rest… well, that’s your opinion and you are entitled to it. It has nothing to do with what I actually believe, but I don’t think that matters much to you.

Lucrece
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

The huffPo article you cited doesn’t have a source for the statement that Fabrizio urges lawmakers to reconsider said approach. Not a valid citation. In the same poll Fabrizio did for LCR they said he was also a pollster for Bob Dole.

Of these politicians he has worked for, none of his speculated “advocacy” has born fruit. They all vote against gay rights regardless, and Fabrizio gets his fat paycheck at the end of the day for helping them campaign to get elected.

Again, you pretend that LCR puts gay advocacy first. If so, explain how offering endorsement to McCain and lauding Sarah Palin represented that, because Palin’s record was crystal clear and during the 2008 campaign McCain made clear that if the courts decided for gay marriage, he would vote for the FMA. McCain was opposed to DADT repeal.

I wish you would stop dodging the inconvenient cases that contradict your evaluation of LCR’s depiction.

Oh, well, paint me away as this crazed inquisitor as much as you like. When Romney or Gingrich get the nomination, we’ll see about LCR’s endorsements and talk then.

Lord_Byron
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

I generally oppose outing someone, but in certain cases like ted haggard i think it’s justified. I know we argued about this in another post and Mr. Fabrizio is not the politician running for office, but it’s hard to argue that no harm comes from him helping candidates like rick perry run for office. Governors Rick Perry and Rick Scott both either used or are using him to run for political office. Rick Perry is, as shown from quotes, extremely homophobic and Rick Scott is homophobic as well. I see it harmful to the LGBT community to help elect men like that.

emma
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

De Pasquale would go lesbian for Ann Coulter, as anyone who has ever tried to read any of her worshipful articles on Coulter.

Neil
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Is it unequivocally true that Mr Fabrizio was closeted? What constitutes ‘the closet’ here?

My impression of the state of being closeted is that it is a carefully edited behaviour intended to conceal one’s sexual orientation with a mask heterosexual appearance. Surely Fabrizio was not unknown to be gay if it was so casually understood by the GOProud kids.

So is this a case of closeting by degree? Fabrizio was socially out but urged an observance of a sort of radio silence on the matter, one that La Salvia transgressed? I ask this because I’ve not read any direct rebuke from Mr Fabrizio himself. It seems a little like the umbrage over outing is a convenient flap for Breitbart to disavow an association with such a petty collection of quislings as is GOProud. He’s been champing at the bit and now he’s unbridled? I imagine where there’s quisling business to be done the likes of Breitbart would prefer it to be performed in a more professional manner.

JohnAGJ
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy: I’ve never heard of Lisa de Pasquale before this. Why do you say that she is “a far right social conservative activist”? Thanks.

As for GOProud, well all I’ll say is that I’ve never been a fan of Barron and the direction I saw GOProud going is one of the biggest reasons why I no longer guest blog at GayPatriot.

Ryan
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

I have to agree with Neil, here. Fabrizio was “outed” in the sense that we ordinary folks learned he was gay, but he seemed to be already out in his social circles and at work. And we ordinary folks didn’t even know his name a week ago. I definitely believe that outing anti-gay /secretly gay politicians is an unequivocal good and moral thing to do, and the documentary Outrage makes the case that it’s more than just a punitive act; it’s self-defense. And often the outed politican sees the light and changes his ways. But here, it’s on the borderline, as Fabrizio isn’t really a politician so much as a behind-the-scenes guy. Of course, he never would’ve publicly condemned the ad had he not been outed, so Outrage was right again. But equally as valid is the fact that he was hardly to blame for it in the first place. I do find it funny and ironic that Barron and LaSilva got in trouble because they finally did what Timothy pointed out they never do: put “gay” first over “Republican”. I suspect we’ll never again see GOProud condemning any Republican for doing or saying anything anti-gay ever again. And in that sense, they are definitely not a gay group anymore.

Donny D.
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Gay hardcore Republican conservatives will continue to exist whether or not they have an organization to represent them.

Timothy Kincaid
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

JohnAGJ

de Pasquale is the former director of CPAC. Of course there are many conservatives for whom social issues are of secondary importance and who are primarily fiscal conservatives or focused on national security issues. However, based on what little I’ve read from de Pasquale, she has an interest in cultural conservatism and traditional values.

Based solely on what she has written (and allowing that I’ve not read everything she’s written) she appears to be a far right social conservative activist.

Jim
December 18th, 2011 | LINK

Just curious,

So you don’t think the guy who outed Haggard should have outed Haggard. If so, what are you thinking?

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