Cable television examines homophobia but refuses to correct defamatory misrepresentation by anti-gay activist

The Family Equality Council and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) ask community members to contact FX Networks and express their concern about a defamatory claim by an anti-gay activist that appears – unchallenged – in the June 24 installment of 30 Days.

30 Days, FX Networks’ original series produced by Morgan Spurlock, “examines social issues in America by immersing individuals in a life that requires them to see the world through another’s eyes,’” according to the show’s website. In 2006, the series won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program for the “Gay/Straight” episode.

During the June 24 episode, entitled “Same Sex Parenting,” Kati, a woman who opposes gay and lesbian parents and their families, lives for 30 days with gay parents Dennis and Thomas and their four adopted sons [pictured]. The episode includes the personal stories of kids raised by lesbian and gay parents.

Regrettably, the episode also features a defamatory statement by Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, an anti-gay activist organization, who claims: “Homosexuality is associated with higher rates of sexual promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse, and those are all reasons for us to be concerned about placing children into that kind of setting.” While there is no credible scientific research that backs Sprigg’s claim – and much that disputes it – the episode presents his assertion as if it were fact and offers no credible social science experts or child health authorities to challenge Sprigg’s assertion. Indeed, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America, and many other child health and social services authorities who support parenting by qualified lesbian and gay parents dispute Sprigg’s claim.

After reviewing a screener supplied by FX Networks, GLAAD and the Family Equality Council, a national non-profit working to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families, contacted FX Networks last week, requesting that the inaccurate claim be removed from the episode or that a credible social science expert or child health authority be brought in to provide an on-air correction. FX Networks, however, refused to remove the defamatory content or, at minimum, address it during the course of the episode.

“This is an episode of 30 Days that GLAAD would have liked to support for its commendable effort to share the authentic story of everyday lesbian and gay parents and their families and the opposition they face in trying to provide a stable and nurturing home for their children,” said GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson. “However, FX Networks’ insistence on airing – and refusal to correct the record on – this defamatory misrepresentation makes that impossible. It is unacceptable that FX Networks and its parent company 20th Century Fox would provide a platform for the inaccurate and dangerous claims of anti-gay activists – misinformation that can put gay and lesbian parents and their families in harm’s way.”

GLAAD, the Family Equality Council and Children Of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere (COLAGE) are urging their members and the community to contact FX Networks, and 20th Century Fox, to express their concerns over providing a platform for such an inaccurate, misleading claim by the Family Research Council.

Nick Grad
Executive Vice President of Original Programming
(310) 369-0949
ngrad@fxnetworks.com

Chuck Saftler
Executive Vice President of Programming
(310) 369-0949
csaftler@fxnetworks.com

Scott Seomin
Vice President of Public Relations
(310) 369-0938
scott.seomin@fxnetwork.com

Article adapted by ProudParenting.com from original press release
Image: FXNetworks.com

4 thoughts on “Cable television examines homophobia but refuses to correct defamatory misrepresentation by anti-gay activist

  • July 6, 2008 at 11:07 pm
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    Thank you so much for your comment! I am a bisexual preschool teacher in my first lesbian relationship (going on 4 years now). I hail from a HIGHLY religious Baptist family, and they refuse to allow my girlfriend (a middle school teacher) into their homes. As far as I am concerned, this goes against every concept of “Christian love” I was taught in my first two decades of life. Just because I am in love with a woman doesn’t make me a pedophile, or a “lesbo trainer.” I do not even refer to my partner at school as anything but “the lady I live with,” simply because I know the parents like me, but may not appreciate me teaching tolerance to their children, and I really need my job. I take care of many children (I babysit for 13 or so families on a regular basis), and every family who drops their kids off at my house are more than comfortable with my parenting skills in their absence. This episode didn’t make any sense to me. “I think you guys are great parents, but homosexuals shouldn’t be parents.” What the heck is that supposed to mean???!?!?

  • June 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm
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    This was the most disappointing episode yet. I am an active member of the LDS church ( the same church that Kati belongs to) and am completely ashamed of Kati and her ignorant self-righteousness. I would like to believe that the vast majority of members of the LDS Church consider themselves to be Christians, but I see nothing Christian about Kati’s attitude and behavior. To cling so closely to one’s principles and “moral fiber” and to ignore the experiences and struggles of real, ordinary people who are trying to build a nurturing and supportive family is in complete opposition to the compassion that all Christians should seek to cultivate in their relationships with others. Let us remember that nowhere in the Bible, or any other source that “Christians” like Katie mention to support their disdain of homosexuality, does it say that one must, in order to be a true Christian, be intolerant of homosexuals or seek to take away their rights. To claim that one’’s “moral convictions” gives one the right to seek to limit the rights of other individuals–who want nothing more than to raise happy, healthy children–demonstrates an absence of Christ-like love and understanding and an abundance of the smugness and narcissism that unfortunately characterizes many who consider themselves “Christian.”

  • June 25, 2008 at 5:14 pm
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    I too am very upset that FOX Networks would not take the part out of the show, or at the very least get a statement from our side. Also I was somewhat scared that again, the show seems to lean on the woman’s side and did not present an equal balance to the issue. I worry that it may put us back a few years after all the struggle we have made to move forward for equal rights for the homosexual community. Joyce Kipp, President PFLAG Bel Air/Susquehanna, Harford County, Maryland.

  • June 30, 2008 at 2:27 pm
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    Funny how she can go on TV and act like such a judgemnetal person, but never have her last name released. Oh, poor baby. Is she afraid the big bad gays will find her and convert her? Maybe she better put in another call to god about this and see what the answer is. Then again, maybe she did and the answer was, “don’t release your last name. Stay in the cult.”

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