GAY GROUPS PREEMPT ALABAMA ELLEN BLACKOUT

Satellite downlink planned for banned TV show

Rich Ferraro
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

April 22, 1997
NEW YORK CITY, APRIL 22, 1997- Following the refusal by Birmingham, Alabama
ABC affiliate 33/40 to air the history-making "coming out" episode of
Ellen, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Birmingham
Pride Alabama (BPA) will downlink the episode via satellite to an audience
of thousands of Ellen fans.  Birmingham's "Official Welcome Out Ellen
Party" will take place at the Boutwell Auditorium, 1930 8th Ave. N., on
Wednesday, April 30th at 6:00 PM.

The "Welcome Out Ellen Party" was created in response to ABC 33/40 General
Manager Jerry Heilman's decision to pull Ellen from his station's evening
lineup. Heilman, defending a decision many civil rights experts have called
censorship, told the Los Angeles Times that Ellen was "not appropriate for
family viewing." GLAAD Entertainment Media Director Chastity Bono thinks
that Birmingham television viewers should make that decision for
themselves.  "Heilman made the decision to pull Ellen before seeing it.  We
should all have the chance to see the show without that choice being made
for us," said Ms. Bono.

GLAAD will be working hand-in-hand with BPA and with other local
organizations to ensure a successful event. Cathy Renna, GLAAD Washington
DC Media Resource Manager praised the work being done in Birmingham.  "The
'Welcome Out Ellen Party,' is a testament to the courage and determination
of lesbians and gay Alabamans, their families and friends to overcome
bigotry," said Ms. Renna. "ABC 33/40's attempt to segregate American
television flies in the face of our cultural foundations of fairness and
respect," she added.

"There's an Ellen in every family," said Kevin Snow, BPA's vice president.
"This event is a chance for our whole community to celebrate our own
'Ellens,' and to let the world know that we will not allow ABC 33/40 to
deny us the chance to participate in television history in the making."

BPA's "Welcome Out Ellen Party" at Boutwell Auditorium, located at 1930 8th
Ave. N. begins at 6:00 PM, and will feature dancing, letter-writing and an
indoor street fair.  Tickets are available for a suggested donation of
$5.00 through Ticketline at (800) 277-1700 or (205) 715-6000. In addition,
special tables for 10 can be purchased for $150 directly from BPA at (205)
254-9199.

GLAAD is the nation's lesbian and gay news bureau and the only national
lesbian and gay multimedia watchdog organization. GLAAD promotes fair,
accurate and inclusive representation as a means of challenging
discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.   GLAAD maintains a
"Come Out With Ellen" Web site at www.glaad.org.