Minnesota Republican majority leader, Matt Dean, publicly called author Neil Gaiman a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.” From The Guardian:
The astonishing attack from the Minnesota House of Representatives majority leader, published in the Star Tribune yesterday, centred on a fee of $45,000 (£27,000) paid to Gaiman – "who I hate," Dean added -- from state art funds last year for a speaking appearance at Stillwater Library in Minnesota.When it came to the name-calling, though, Gaiman had more trouble with parts of it than others.
Describing the comments as “bullying schoolyard nonsense,” Gaiman said Dean’s assertion that he stole the money “is a lie.” “Yes, I gave the money to charities -- a sexual abuse one and a library/author one, long ago, when the cheque came in, well before this ever became a political football.
Gaiman was less perturbed about the “pencil-necked weasel” insult. “I like ‘pencil-necked weasel.’ It has ‘pencil’ in it. Pencils are good things. You can draw or write things with pencils. I think it's what you call someone when you're worried that using a long word like 'intellectual' may have too many syllables. It's not something that people who have serious, important things to say call other people," said the author, whose 1.5 million Twitter followers managed to crash Dean's website after he posted a link to it. ("Bugger. Did not mean to #neilwebfail the twit's site. Sorry," tweeted Gaiman.)The Guardian has the full story here. You can read January Magazine’s 2001 interview with Gaiman here.