Dear GLAAD Supporter:
Thank you for your response regarding the South Park “F Word” episode. We have heard from many who believe we acted harshly in our stance. We have also heard from those
who supported our stance. The responses indicate how widely our experiences and perspectives vary.
We continue to believe this word is associated with violence and hatred, as evidenced by incidents in the last six months:
- In Seattle, a gay couple’s home was tagged, “faggots rape kids.” The tagger was arrested but the case dismissed.
- An Illinois teacher discussing arts funding said to his class: “How would you feel about your tax dollars going to pay for some black fag in New York to take pictures of other black fags?” He walked away with only a warning.
- In San Francisco, a city usually perceived as safe and accepting, the streetcar dedicated to Harvey Milk was defaced. What was the word used? “Fag.”
- In Kalamazoo where voters recently upheld anti-gay discrimination, a 15-year old was punched repeatedly in the head while being called “faggot.”
According to Trevor Project, LGBT youth who experience harassment are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
However, we’ve listened to all of the responses in support of South Park and we believe, upon reflection, that those who have encouraged us to see more in this episode than typical satire are right. The show’s writers were trying to get people to think deeper about this subject.
What this show has done is provoke debate and that’s a good thing. At the end of the day, what many of us here at GLAAD believe is that this word will still be used as hate speech, but we can respect the intention of the writers. The episode ends but the discussion goes on for the many who live with an epithet that taunts them daily and creates a climate of fear and intimidation. The attention in the media that the Call to Action received started important conversations in print, on comment sections of online articles, on Facebook, and around the office water cooler about this word. We hope these discussions will continue--not just with those of us in media--but with school administrators, teachers and students. We hope that these conversations will result in people thinking twice before it is spoken - especially when they hear it in schools and playgrounds as a means of bullying LGBT youth.
We will continue the important task of working with media about how LGBT issues are handled. We hope you will keep sharing your thoughts with us about what matters to you.
Taj Paxton, Director of Entertainment Media
Rich Ferraro, Director of Public Relations