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 of the author for collecting a $45,000 speaking fee from state taxpayers.
"I'm sure he has a lot of fans but also a lot of those fans would agree that he's extremely financially successful," Dean said. "He could probably donate a few hours of his time for some kids who follow him and like his books."
Dean originally made the comment while talking about changes to how the state's Legacy Funds for the arts are distributed.
"My mom is staying with us right now. My wife's out of town, and she was very angry this morning and always taught me to not 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." The author, who lives in Wisconsin, says he gave the money he received for speaking at the Stillwater library to charity.