October 27, 1997
ABC'S MISGUIDED "PARENTAL ADVISORY" FOR ELLEN RETURNS
Nation's only lesbian & gay media watchdog organization denounces waffle as blatant double standard
NEW YORK, OCTOBER 27, 1997-The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today expressed dismay at ABC's decision to reintroduce the controversial "parental advisory" warning this coming Wednesday on its hit show Ellen. The advisory, normally used for explicit violence, sex or language, was removed from the show two weeks ago after protests from star Ellen DeGeneres, GLAAD and others who complained that the advisory represented a double standard in regards to sexual orientation. Ellen DeGeneres has spoken out about the double standard of giving Ellen the advisory when many much more explicit heterosexual sexual situations, graphic violence, and even other same-sex kisses (Spin City, Relativity, Laverne & Shirley) did not warrant the severe warning. GLAAD spoke with representatives of both the program and the network, urging a resolution which was fair to lesbians and gay men, and mobilized national support for removal of the advisory two weeks ago. This week's episode, and several to come will feature Ellen Morgan's continuing coming out process and the introduction of the character's first girlfriend. "ABC's decision to reintroduce the warning constitutes a double standard for lesbian and gay content on television that is simply unfair and un-American," said GLAAD Entertainment Media Director Chastity Bono. "ABC made history last April when Ellen came out. Now ABC is telling Americans, especially young people who are struggling with their own sexual orientation, that there is something explicitly wrong and harmful about living openly and honestly." "Ellen DeGeneres has done something rather extraordinary this season by demonstrating through her comedic gifts the evolution of the coming out process," said Joan M. Garry, GLAAD Executive Director. "ABC's decision to waffle on the advisory points to a much larger problem; people's inability to make a distinction between 'orientation' and 'sex.' ABC needs to rise above the fray and act responsibly to both its gay and straight viewers. All Americans deserve better from ABC." GLAAD will continue to monitor and report on Ellen and its media coverage, and has reintroduced "Ellen Watch" at GLAAD Online (http://www.glaad.org). This resource will continually update the community on which companies have advertised this season on Ellen and will continue to monitor the "parental warning." GLAAD is a national organization that promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation of individuals and events in the media as a means of combating homophobia and all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.
About GLAAD: GLAAD amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.