Launches Web Site and Coalition Battle Against "Dr. Laura" and Paramount
Wednesday, March 1, 2000
NEW YORK, NY
-- A group of veteran gay activists, public relations executives
and media professionals have teamed up to create "StopDrLaura.com."
As both a Web site and a same-named coalition, the group hopes to
prevent Paramount from offering the "Dr. Laura" show this fall.
has called gays and lesbians 'biological errors,' 'deviant' and
much worse," said Alan Klein, a New York-based public relations
consultant and spokesman for StopDrLaura.com.
"We're not about to let her spew her defamatory pseudo-science on
national television." Schlessinger's now-infamous "biological error"
quote dramatically opens the StopDrLaura.com site, with an introduction
using state-of-the art Flash technology.
In recent weeks,
the flap over the controversial talk show host has escalated sharply.
Two weeks ago, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
pleaded with Paramount to control Schlessinger's on-air rhetoric.
And just last week, another gay group, the San-Francisco-based Horizons
Foundation, launched a nationwide ad campaign to educate the public
about the danger Schlessinger's anti-gay rhetoric poses to children.
takes the battle online. The ad hoc coalition began several weeks
ago with the issuance of a simple email appeal. Titled "Stop Dr.
Laura," the email encouraged netizens to contact Paramount, which
has poured considerable resources into offering "Dr. Laura" on television
stereotyped blacks, he got fired," the email begins, "But Dr. Laura
calls gays 'biological mistakes,' and she's getting a TV show from
"The email really
woke people up to Paramount's double standard," said the email's
author, John Aravosis, a Washington-based Internet expert who is
in charge of the coalition's online strategy. "Had Dr. Laura called
blacks biological errors, Paramount would never have given her a
show. But since her target is gays somehow that's ok. Well, it's
email has found its way far and wide, Aravosis says. "I was at a
lawyers' conference in New York recently and 3/4 of the audience
had received a copy, some of them up to 10 times," he noted.
With the new
site, StopDrLaura.com hopes to expand its e-grassroots effort. In
addition to encouraging people to contact Paramount, StopDrLaura.com
features photos and virtual testimonials from a cross-section of
Americans offended by Schlessinger's statements. Titled "Our Feelings
on Being Biological Errors," the testimonials literally place a
face on the targets-to-be of Paramount's upcoming show.
One such testimonial,
by Emmy Award-winning producer David Lee, is already raising eyebrows.
"It is outrageous that Paramount chooses to be in business with
a woman who is literally dangerous," Lee is quoted as saying on
the Web site. Lee is executive producer of "Frasier," a Paramount
"You would never
promote someone who said the hateful things about other minorities
that Schlessinger has said about gays," wrote Lou, a retiree in
Kentucky in a second testimonial. "Why the double standard?"
The site also
offers an index of Schlessinger's anti-gay rhetoric, a section called
"Paramount's Big Deal," and several options for taking action and
"This site will
grow, as will this controversy for Paramount," Klein said. "We will
unveil celebrity additions to the testimonials, disclose insider
information on 'Paramount's Big Deal,' and use the site to mobilize
offline actions over the coming months." In addition to the website,
the group has raised funds for advertisements in Variety magazine.
to Klein and Aravosis, the StopDrLaura.com coalition includes: William
Waybourn, a gay civil rights leader; Robin Tyler, veteran activist
and Los Angeles-based producer; Joel Lawson, a Washington-based
public relations consultant; and, Scott Robbe, a producer and director
of TV and film. StopDrLaura.com was designed and built by BlueMaggie.com.
All of the above have donated their time pro-bono.