The First Minister said there was no excuse whatsoever for the abuse directed at the co-leader of the Scottish Greens yesterday and he stood in “solidarity” with him.
Mr Harvie, who is also a minister in the SNP-Green government, was harangued while his party unveiled their candidate in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West byelection.
A bisexual advocate of transgender rights, Mr Harvie was interrupted while talking about the value of politicians expressing their differences “amicably and respectfully”.
In a clip shown by BBC Scotland, a man was heard off-camera asking which party was involved, and when told Scottish Greens said: “Vote blue. Vote any colour except his colour.”
He then said: “Mr Harvie, you’re a deviant.”
Mr Harvie replied: “You’re a bigot”.
The man went on: “You’re a deviant, mate.”
Asked by the BBC interviewer for his reaction to the comments, Mr Harvie, a Glasgow list MSP since 2003, suggested it was part of a wider problem of homophobia.
“The fact is there are some pretty toxic forces in politics at the moment that have unleashed homophobia and transphobia in a way that we haven’t seen for many, many years,” he said.
“Those who have cultivated this nasty kind of culture war against minorities need to take responsibility for verbal abuse like that, but also for violence that we’ve seen rising against LGBT+ people.”
Asked if such abuse happened often, Mr Harvie said: “It doesn’t happen often that people express those kind of homophobic sentiments.
“It has been rising though, not just against politicians, but against members of the public.
“We’ve seen attacks at queer venues in recent weeks within the UK.
“We’ve seen similar in the US, and those who’ve politically cultivated a kind of culture war agenda against minorities need to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.”
I understand people hold strong views about politicians but there is simply no excuse, none whatsoever for bigotry and hatred aimed towards anyone.
Disgraceful, disgusting and completely unacceptable. Solidarity with @patrickharvie
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) August 22, 2023
Two men were stabbed in a homophobic attack outside a London nightclub this month.
Responding to the BBC’s coverage on Twitter/X, Mr Yousaf wrote: “I understand people hold strong views about politicians but there is simply no excuse, none whatsoever for bigotry and hatred aimed towards anyone. Disgraceful, disgusting and completely unacceptable.
“Solidarity with Patrick Harvie.”
The Scottish Greens have said they will report the incident to Police Scotland.