Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean of Dellwood is apologizing for calling author Neil Gaiman a “pencil-necked little weasel,” but isn’t backing off of his criticism for Gaiman collecting a $45,000 speaking fee from state taxpayers.
Dean originally made the comment while talking about changes to how the state’s Legacy Funds for the arts are distributed. Dean says he’s sorry he called Gaiman a name but thinks he shouldn’t have taken the fee for speaking at the Stillwater library last year.
“My mom is staying with us right now because my wife’s out of town,” Dean said. “She was very angry this morning and always taught me not to be a name caller. And I shouldn’t have done it, and I apologize.”
Gaiman reacted to Dean’s comments by saying Dean was engaging in “lunatic schoolyard rhetoric.” Gaiman said he gave the speaking fee to charity. The funds were collected through a sales tax dedicated to the environment, the outdoors, the arts and cultural programs.
Update: Gaiman gives a full explanation of his speaking fees here.