January 3, 2008, New York, NY — The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today identified several of the worst anti-gay voices in 2007. GLAAD worked diligently behind-the-scenes and publicly to address the anti-gay rhetoric from these public figures.
“Since our founding over 22 years ago, GLAAD has taken a stand against anti-gay defamation,” said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. “As a media advocacy organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, it is our responsibility to articulate the harm done when anti-gay sentiment is voiced through media platforms. By fighting defamation with educational resources and telling the stories of the community, GLAAD changes hearts and minds so that LGBT people can live in a more understanding, accepting and inclusive society.”
“Though we made great strides in responding to the anti-gay defamation of 2007, we know there will be heightened challenges in 2008,” continued Giuliano. “Too often our lives are used as political fodder in election years and told with sensational distortion so as to distract from substantive issues of policy that affect every American. With the stakes higher than ever, GLAAD will be there to ensure that media are responsible for those persons and ideas to whom they give their public platform. Through collaboration with sister organizations, allies and responsible media, LGBT representation can be more fair, accurate and inclusive in 2008.”
Anti-Gay Voices of 2007 (in chronological order):
• Isaiah Washington uses the “f-word” during a Golden Globes® interview.
Summary: During a backstage press conference at the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards® on Jan. 15, then Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington used an anti-gay slur when denying an allegation made earlier by T.R. Knight. Washington said on the air: “No, I did not call T.R. a fa***t.” Rumors had begun in Oct. 2006 that Washington initially referred to Knight as a fa***t during an on-set altercation with co-star Patrick Dempsey. Following the incident, Washington apologized and worked with GLAAD and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to produce a PSA conveying the power of demeaning, dehumanizing words.
• Snickers® promotes anti-gay sentiment with ad campaign.
Summary: GLAAD strongly condemned elements of an ad campaign launched by Snickers® during the Feb. 4 Super Bowl® telecast that included a Web site featuring alternate endings for the ad -- among them, a version called “Wrench” where one man grabs a wrench and uses it to bash the other, who responds by slamming the hood of the car down on his head and a video of NFL athletes reacting with prejudice and disgust to depictions of two men kissing. The televised ad showed two mechanics eating from opposite ends of a Snickers® candy bar and, after their mouths touch, ripping out their chest hair in a desperate attempt “do something manly.”
• Tim Hardaway says he hates gay people.
Summary: In the days following former NBA player John Amaechi coming out publicly as a gay man, former NBA all-star Tim Hardaway said on the Miami radio station Sports Talk 790 The Ticket, “You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States.” Following his Feb. 14 comments, Hardaway went on to apologize, and on Sept. 26 he participated in a discussion at the YES Institute to talk about ways to keep transgender children safe.
• Ann Coulter calls John Edwards the “f-word”.
Summary: On March 2, Ann Coulter used an anti-gay slur when commenting on presidential candidate, former Senator John Edwards. Coulter said, “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘fa***t,’ so I’m - so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.”
• General Peter Pace calls gay and lesbian soldiers “immoral.”
Summary: On March 12, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, the senior ranking member of the U.S. Armed Forces, gave an interview to the Chicago Tribune in which he characterized gay and lesbian service members as “immoral,” reiterated his support for the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy based on that personal prejudice, and disparaged gay and lesbian relationships by equating them with adultery. In the days that followed, news media reported comprehensively on Pace’s anti-gay remarks and the outrage they sparked across the country. The glare of the media spotlight is credited with prompting Gen. Pace to subsequently claim that his disparaging comments were “personal,” though he did not apologize for them.
• Bill O’Reilly claims existence of “national network” of “lesbian gangs.”
Summary: On the June 21 edition of Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News Crime Analyst Rod Wheeler detailed what he called a “national network” of so-called “lesbian gangs” that prey on young girls. Using exaggerated, sensational language, Wheeler claimed there are more than 150 such gangs in the Washington, D.C., area alone. On July 10, GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson was invited on the program to challenge the factually incorrect story. O’Reilly admitted the report was exaggerated and promised, “[W]e’ll do better next time.”
• Rush Limbaugh uses vulgar slurs in discussion of transgender people.
Summary: On Oct. 4, Limbaugh used the vulgar slurs “add-a-dick-to-me” and “chop-a-dick-off-a-me” in discussing an article about the medical and psychological outcomes of sex reassignment surgery, part of the transition process for some transgender people.
• New York Post uses dehumanizing references to transgender people.
Summary: Twice in the month of Oct., News Corporation’s tabloid, New York Post, used dehumanizing insults directed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. On Oct. 5, Page Six’s editor Richard Johnson was pressured to apologize in print after GLAAD condemned his column for referring to transgender reality show star Miriam as a “she-male” in an Oct. 4 item. On Oct. 29, the Post published another Page Six item about the legal troubles facing billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The item offensively referred to a transgender woman who is suing Epstein as a “he/she.”