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About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 1995)
12 ▼ lU c a m b c r 1, I M S ▼ ju s t out
THE BEST RATES
THE BEST SERVICE
THE QUICKEST RESPONSE
PACI FI C
PFLAG stands firm
As TV stations cave in to Pat Robertson
the group takes its ads elsewhere
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espite the threat of legal action,
getting a gun and considering suicide. The spot
members of Parents, Families and
finishes with a voice saying: “It is estimated that 30
Friends of Lesbians and Gays say
percent of teenage suicide victims are gay or les
they will not back away from
Project Open Mind, a new advertis
“People need to hear about this,” says Banaszak,
ing campaign that condemns anti-gay rhetoric
es PFLAG has turned to print media to get
poused by national figures such as Pat Robertson
its message out.
and Jesse Helms, among others.
“We had not initially intended to do that, but
“We are not going to give up on this,” says Rob
we’ve been forced to because CBN has put enough
Banaszak, PFLAG’s communications director.
pressure on the broadcast outlets,” he says.
“Our goal right now is to let people know that these
On Nov. 21, PFLAG placed a half-page print
ads exist and the reasons they are not airing.”
advertisement in USA Today that describes CBN’s
PFLAG, which has affiliates in 380 cities na
efforts to quash the project. The ad starts off: “Pat
tionwide and in 12 countries, recently launched an
Robertson doesn’t want you to hear these hateful
words on TV ...”
emotionally compelling television advertisement
campaign known as Project Open Mind, which
Banaszak says PFLAG has also attempted to
focuses on the deadly consequences that may stem
place print ads in the major newspapers in the
from anti-gay hate speech.
target cities; as we went to press, both the TuIsa
PFLAG kicked off Project Open Mind on Nov.
World and Houston Chronicle were refusing to let
8 at a press conference in Washington, D.C. Dur
PFLAG purchase ad space.
ing that briefing, the group unveiled two 30-sec-
In related news, PFLAG says Nancy Rodriquez,
ond television ads—which include anti-gay com
who is included in the “Bashing” spot, was dis
ments from Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell,
missed from her job the day after Project Open
Christian Coalition leader Pat Robertson, and ul
Mind was made public.
traconservative U.S. Sena
tor Jesse Helms—that were
set to air that week in At
lanta, Tulsa and Houston.
Soon after the campaign
was made public, PFLAG
says R obertson and the
Christian Broadcasting Net
work threatened legal action
against the local television
stations in the target cities.
Banaszak says the threat
of a lawsuit convinced the
CBS affiliate in Houston to
-■»ss.. W m . ïdè*?.-
renege on its promise to run
one of the PFLAG spots,
while the NBC affiliate in
Tulsa, which ran a spot for
five days, took it off the air
after CBN announced its liti
gious intentions. PFLAG fur
ther claims the Atlanta-based
Cable News Network agreed
to run a spot on the Larry
King Show, but also backed down due to CBN’s
In a statement issued Nov. 10, Rodriquez said:
“On Nov. 9 , 1 went to my job as usual at Houston
“This is censorship pure and simple,” says
Auto Care [near Atlanta], where I was dismissed.
PFLAG President Mitzi Henderson. “We are sad
I was told to turn in my keys and that I would be on
dened and angry that television stations who have
an ‘on-call status until March’ because of a slow
down in sales. Since I began working at Houston
a broadcast responsibility to their communities
Auto Care last March I have consistently been a top
would cave in to pressure...from the Christian
person, as 1 can show with end-of-the-month
reports. While at Houston I was repeatedly com
Donna Red Wing, national field director for the
mended for my job and given permission for every
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,
leave I took from work so that I could participate in
adds: “[It] is a sad day when the radical right can
Project Open Mind and matters involving Paul’s
bully people from doing what is right. Project
Open Mind is an extraordinary project that has the
potential to educate millions of Americans on the
“1 believe I was wrongly dismissed from Hous
dangers of hate speech. That education can prevent
ton Auto Care because of my public involvement
violence and even save lives.”
with Project Open Mind,” she continued. “I have
One spot, entitled “Bashing,” features a voice
filed a [complaint] with the Georgia State Labor
over of Robertson equating homosexuality with
Board and sought legal advice.”
Satanism and Adolf Hitler as the viewer witnesses
In addition to the advertising campaign. Project
Skinheads beating up a young gay man. At the end
Open Mind includes a program of local commu
of the spot. Atlanta resident Nancy Rodriquez tells
nity outreach to educate the public about the harsh
viewers: “My son Paul was brutally murdered. The
realities of anti-gay rhetoric and attacks.
FBI said it was a gay-bashing.”
For more information about Project Open
The second spot, “Innocent,” includes anti-gay
contact PFLAG, 1101 N th St. NW, Suite
comments from Helms and Robertson, as well as a
1030, Washington, D.C. 20005;
clip of Falwell saying: “God hates homosexual
(202) 638-4200. Contributions benefiting the
ity.” As they are speaking, the viewer sees a
campaign are appreciated.
teenage girl in tearsentering her parents’ bedroom.
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