Nation's first full-time gay cable network rejects pro-gay ad

The nation's first full-time gay cable channel has joined a growing list of networks that refuse to show an ad from the United Church of Christ promoting its message of gay inclusiveness.

BY admin

April 08 2006 12:00 AM ET

It was
controversial when the nation's major television networks
rejected a pro-gay ad from the United Church of Christ
because it was "too political." But what about
rejection by the nation's first full-time gay cable
network?

Logo, a TV
channel catering to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
people, is now among the growing list of networks to reject
an ad in which a gay couple and other minorities are
seen being "ejected" from church pews, followed by a
welcoming message from UCC. A Viacom-owned network,
Logo is operated by MTV, which states that its
standards and practices could not accept the 30-second
commercial "because of the political nature of its
content," according to a sales associate's e-mail
response to UCC on March 30.

When pressed by
the church for an official reason, MTV Networks
responded, "Our guidelines state we will not accept
religious advertisements that may be deemed as
disparaging to another religion." "I guess the idea of
gay TV doesn't really mean it's your community's
network," Ron Buford, director of the UCC's
Stillspeaking Initiative, told United Church
News
. "It's just something that's targeted at you to
sell product."

Buford said the
1.3 million-member denomination's four-year identity
campaign was created after focus-group testing revealed the
depth to which people felt alienated or rejected by
organized religion. The church's new "Ejector" ad uses
humor to convey the message, stated in a voiceover,
that "God doesn't reject people. Neither do we."

On Thursday, the
UCC's media action Web site—www.accessibleairwaves.org—launched
a letter-writing campaign to Logo executives, urging
them to rethink their decision. "Viacom's refusal to
air this new commercial is an example of an apparent
policy that fails to allow for a full range of religious
expression in the United States," the action alert reads.

In late 2004,
when Viacom operated CBS, the company rejected the UCC's
gay-affirming Christian ad on its major broadcast network
only, but not its cable channels, saying it considered
the ad a political endorsement of same-sex marriage.
Ironically, last November, Buford was honored by the
Logo network and Out magazine for being among
"the top 100 most interesting, influential, and newsworthy
LGBT individuals." UCC general minister and president
John H. Thomas also made the list as a significant
straight ally.

Even though at
least 17 broadcast and cable networks have rejected the
"Ejector" ad, it has been accepted and is running during
April on several others, including: A&E, AMC, BET,
CNN, CNN en Español, Headline, Hallmark, History,
TBS, TNT, E!, Lifetime, SiTV, and Azteca America.
(The Advocate)

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