LAURA AND PARAMOUNT: AGREEMENT OR RUSE?
Laura's staff says there was no concession
DC - Today's Los Angeles Times reports that GLAAD has reached a
"tentative accord" with Paramount about the upcoming Dr. Laura TV
show, to be syndicated by Paramount this fall. But was a substantive
accord really reached? According to religious right sources, Dr.
Laura's staff says they made no concessions at all.
Laura has a history of describing gays as biological mistakes and
sexually deviant (sample quotes can be found at the end of this
message), and many in the community were more than concerned about
Paramount providing her a nationwide TV audience to spread her anti-gay
In spite of yesterday's announcement of the accord to tone Dr. Laura
down, the news doesn't appear to have reached Dr. Laura. According
to a press release today from the religious right group Americans
for the Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) - an organization with
close ties to the Family Research Council, a "family values" organization
that Dr. Laura regularly quotes on her show - "Dr. Laura's staff
claims that she has made no concessions and retains full control
of her show."
according to the Los Angeles Times story, Paramount and GLAAD (they
met withParamount on Monday to discuss the new Dr. Laura show) "issued
a joint statement Tuesday saying the TV program will offer 'many
points of view, derived from a variety of sources, guests and a
studio audience.'" In addition to asking that Dr. Laura stop using
exclusively religious right research when discussing gay issues,
GLAAD had also asked that Dr. Laura stop using defamatory words
to describe gays, such as "deviants."
to believe? Paramount, or Dr. Laura's own staff?
Dr. Laura's record on gay issues, and her take-no-prisoners persona,
it's hard to believe that any agreement could make her show somehow
tolerable. On the day before Paramount and GLAAD reached their accord,
Variety quoted Dr. Laura as saying: "How many letters have I read
on the air from gay men who acknowledge that a huge portion of the
male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys?''
just yesterday, the day the accord was announced, Dr. Laura used
her radio show to discuss a "fax poll" she did on gay marriage.
According to the Post, Dr. Laura said: "'I asked for only those
supporting legal gay marriages to respond to the question of whether
it's OK for adult male and female siblings to marry,' Schlessinger
said. 'Except for one fax, they all said yes,' she reported with
disgust. 'If we're serious about gay marriages, then there is no
In addition to questioning how much self-censorship Dr. Laura can
reasonably be expected to accept, her offensive comments might still
be allowed under the new accord.
Because Dr. Laura already includes "many points of view" on her
show. She regularly reads quotes from sources such as the Human
Rights Campaign, the American Psychological Association (which is
quite gay-friendly), and even GLAAD itself - only to follow the
quote with a less-than-congenial attack on gay men and lesbians.
It's unclear why Dr. Laura wouldn't be correct in arguing that her
current show meets the letter of the new agreement, as she is certainly
including "many points of view."
In fact, in the quote above where she talks about the "huge portion"
of gays who are predators towards young boys, Dr. Laura's comment
was in reply to a quote by someone pro-gay who said "Pedophilia
and child molestation have zero to do with being gay, homosexual
or orientation..." Dr. Laura in fact included a pro-gay viewpoint
on her show, then "strongly suggests", as Variety put it, that gays
are sexual predators. While the pedophilia insinuation would appear
to be acceptable under the new agreement, is it really acceptable
for Paramount to broadcast that message to all of America, should
Dr. Laura choose to repeat it this fall?
should be held to a very simple standard here. Treat gay and lesbian
Americans as you would any other minority or ethnic group. If Dr.
Laura's comments would be acceptable as applied to blacks or Jews,
then let her have her show. If Paramount would balk at a host that
said blacks were "biological mistakes", deviant, and sexual predators,
then I think they have some explaining to do. Gays and lesbians
deserve equal respect, not a double standard.
we get some very clear, and detailed, answers from Paramount, this
battle appears to not be over.