There might only be a handful of people in this country who better understand the power of words than Howard Stern. Love him or hate him, there's no denying he's built himself a media empire on the strength of his ability to communicate with people.
On his show this week, Stern had a conversation with a caller about comedian Lisa Lampanelli's use of the word "f*g" on his show, and whether he was upset by it - and Stern said he is actively trying to curb his own usage of the slur.
I have a tremendous compassion for people who are homosexuals. I feel that they are bullied and abused in our society.
They just treat them so poorly. It must be a terrible thing to be exposed to that kind of hatred and be hated just because of your sexuality.
I’ve tried to change my thought about that word, I’ve tried to stop using it.
Stern has previously expressed his support for marriage equality and his opposition to the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell law on his show, and reitterated both stances in this segment. You can also read about Stern's support for his producer, Mike Morales, in a great piece Morales wrote for the Advocate last week. But obviously it's Howard's position on this one word that's got people talking right now.
Let's remember that Stern famously moved to Satellite Radio in 2006, in large part to rid himself of FCC regulations and to free his show from government censorship. His talk about essentially self-censoring his use of this word should be all the testament anyone needs to understand its dangerous and hurtful impact.
We applaud Howard Stern for recognizing the dehumanizing potential of using anti-gay slurs, and for using his platform to communicate that potential to his audience.