NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The lawmaker at the center of a social media controversy has responded to accusations of hypocrisy.

News 2’s Chris O’Brien asked Lt. Gov. Randy McNally if he worried about being seen as hypocritical given he has been commenting on a young gay man’s Instagram posts while simultaneously enacting legislation targeting the LGBTQ community. McNally was discovered commenting with heart and flame emojis on nearly naked pictures of a Knoxville man named Franklyn.

“I’ve got friends that are in that community. I’m not against those individuals,” McNally said Thursday following a Senate floor session. “I try to encourage and support individuals that I know.”

According to Franklyn, McNally added him on Facebook in 2020 and then followed his Instagram page and sent him direct messages filled with compliments.

Initially, the lieutenant governor’s office issued a statement saying in part that McNally “enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media.”

Thursday morning, McNally added the following comment:

“Well, I probably could’ve been more careful in my selection of things.”

The lieutenant governor was called hypocritical in commenting on Franklyn’s Instagram posts given that the legislature has passed a number of anti-LGBTQ bills this legislative session.