LOS ANGELES – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), is calling on KRIV FOX 26 in Houston, Texas to issue an apology after the station aired a news segment which questioned whether positive portrayals of gay and lesbian characters on shows like 'Glee' could negatively impact teenagers.
During the segment, FOX Houston gave voice to Bryan Fischer from American Family Association, one of the country's most vocal anti-gay activists.
Fischer incorrectly stated that being gay "is conduct that bears enormous psychological and physical risk to those that engage in it" and that "is just as risky and just as dangerous as injection drug use."
"FOX Houston should not only apologize and correct the misinformation in this segment, but needs to think twice before elevating hurtful messages and anti-gay attitudes," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.
GLAAD launched an online action for supporters to send e-mails to station management.
After receiving complaints about this FOX Houston segment following its original airdate on April 26, 2011, GLAAD contacted the station to demand that they issue an apology for broadcasting anti-gay speech. In conversations with GLAAD, a representative of the station implied that an apology was in order and should be expected. However, no apology has been issued, and representatives of the station now maintain that they stand behind this content.
The news segment, entitled "Is TV Too Gay?" focused on that night's episode of 'Glee' which featured a theme of self-acceptance and celebration of diversity inspired by the Lady Gaga song "Born This Way." In addition to Fischer's remarks, FOX host Damali Keith compared the gay characters on Glee to "product placement" by soda companies in movies, where "everyone in the theater is thirsty for that particular brand."
Fischer's disdain for diversity is evident in his track record of making statements such as calling Muslim student associations "parasites" and a "toxic cancer" on his radio show in September 2010.
"Today a vast majority of Americans support gay and lesbian youth, who still too often face bullying and discrimination," said Barrios. "FOX Houston needs to send a clear message to young viewers that it is okay to be who you are."
GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios spoke out in support of 'Glee' after an anti-gay activist Dan Gainor said that McKinley High School was "a high school most parents would not want to send their kids too."
"Fair-minded Americans are tuning in by the millions to inclusive shows like Glee and Modern Family because they don't care whether someone is straight or gay – what they care about is seeing characters and stories they can relate to," Barrios told The Hollywood Reporter. "Most Americans today support full equality for their gay and lesbian friends, family and neighbors. That anti-gay critics continue to be out-of-touch with the majority and can't see that fact is no surprise."
This year 'Glee' received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for the second consecutive year, tying with Modern Family.