New York, NY, June 23, 2008 - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today urged community members to contact FX Networks to express their concerns about a defamatory claim by an anti-gay activist that will appear, unchallenged, in the June 24 episode 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 Web site. 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. 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. Community members should let FX Networks know that it is irresponsible and unacceptable to put forth such a damaging, defamatory assertion about lesbian and gay parents, and worse, refuse to include the voices of credible experts to dispute it. GLAAD, the Family Equality Council and COLAGE honor the gay and lesbian parents and their children who are featured in this episode for sharing the real stories of their lives, and especially Dennis and Thomas and their family for opening up their home and the hearts and minds of millions through their participation on 30 Days.
20th Century Fox Television, Inc.:
Senior Vice President, Current Programming
Executive Vice President of Original Programming
Executive Vice President of Programming
Vice President of Public Relations
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.