The Republican lieutenant governor of Tennessee has been commenting fire emojis on one young man’s thirst traps for months now.
The official Instagram account of Randy McNally, who has been Tennessee’s lieutenant governor since 2017 and is also the speaker of the state Senate, has been liking Instagram photos of a young man posing in his underwear, as well as commenting with fire emojis.
“Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine!” McNally commented on one Instagram of @franklynsuperstar, whose name on Facebook is Franklyn McClur. The image is a close-up of McClur's butt.
In January, McClur posted a photo of lollipops with the caption “I didn’t eat them. They were just My favorites, and I took a pic. This pussy, healthy, on God.” McNally commented on the photo, “Best of health to you, Finn.” Finn is listed as McClur’s nickname on Facebook, and his Facebook account lists his gender as male.
McClur also posted a photo of his shorts pulled down low on his hips, almost exposing his genitals. McNally commented on the photo with a heart emoji.
Adam Kleinheider, McNally’s communications director, confirmed in an email to BuzzFeed News that McNally is the individual behind his Instagram and that there is nothing “sinister” about his social media use.
“Trying to imply something sinister or inappropriate about a great-grandfather’s use of social media says more about the mind of the left-wing operative making the implication than it does about Randy McNally,” Kleinheider said. “As anyone in Tennessee politics knows, Lt. Governor McNally is a prolific social media commenter. He takes great pains to view every post he can and frequently posts encouraging things to many of his followers. Does he always use the proper emoji at the proper time? Maybe not. But he enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media. He has no intention of stopping.”
While McNally is a great-grandfather, he is not the great-grandfather of McClur, Kleinheider clarified when asked.
Just one week ago, McNally commented fire emojis along with “way to go Finn!!! You light up the world!!” on a video of McClur wearing makeup and posing.
On Facebook, McClur posted a video of himself singing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” and McNally commented, “Great song! I remember when Peter, Paul and Mary sung it. Your rendition was wicked good. Keep on singing Finn.”
Meanwhile, Tennessee became the first state to ban public drag performances last week, when Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the law prohibiting “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest” in public or where there are minors present. The law goes into effect July 1.
Lee also signed a law restricting gender-affirming care for transgender youth that will go into effect July 1. As speaker, McNally was presiding over the state’s Senate when both anti-LGBTQ bills were passed.
In 2020, the Tennessee Senate passed a bill that would protect religious adoption agencies if they wanted to discriminate against same-sex couples. McNally did not vote on the bill. In 2019, McNally said he wanted “to be sensitive to the rights of individuals” in regard to several bills that would affect LGBTQ people. In 2021, McNally said allowing transgender girls to compete in girls sports could “hurt” sports but added that the decision on whether to allow it should be left to local officials.
McClur did not immediately reply to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News, but he told the Tennessee Holler, which broke the story, that he’s 20 years old and he and McNally were Facebook friends first. McClur said he didn’t take McNally’s comments seriously.
“I just thought he was older and out of touch,” McClur said. “I’ve always taken it as a compliment. I don’t dislike him or think he’s a bad person, he’s one of the only people who has consistently uplifted me and made me feel good.”