Radio talk show host Warren Olney apologized on air today (listen here) for having implied to his audience that there are links between the Penn State child abuse scandal and LGBT parents. During Friday’s show, Olney reported that the university’s former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was allowed to care for foster children despite being suspected of child abuse. The host followed this coverage with a discussion of LGBT parents of foster children by a panel that included anti-gay activist Jerry Cox (president of the anti-gay Family Council).
In his apology, Olney explained that he thought this was a good opportunity to point out that gay and lesbian couples can provide loving and stable homes for the thousands of foster children who need places to stay. But as he acknowledged today, he failed to explicitly say there are no links whatsoever between the Penn State child abuse scandal and LGBT parenting.
“Over the weekend, we received a lot of critical emails from people who thought we had equated the two,” Olney said. “We respect our listeners, and we want to respond. Pedophilia and homosexuality are not the same, and we never intended to say or imply they were. Our failure to make that crucial distinction was a serious oversight. We regret it, and we apologize.”
GLAAD applauds Olney and KCRW for recognizing half of their mistake and apologizing to their listeners on air today. However, GLAAD still remains concerned about the network’s decision to give a well-known anti-gay activist the platform to spread false and inaccurate information – and that this false information went completely unchallenged by Olney during the segment. And even after their apology, Olney and KCRW have still failed to address why they chose to give Cox a platform to spread false and inaccurate claims against LGBT parents in the discussion, and why Cox was not challenged when he made the very link Olney now says his show was not trying to make.
This apology was a great first step, and GLAAD hopes to continue working with Olney and KCRW to improve their coverage of LGBT issues in the future.