Radio Host Sorry for Segment on Pedophilia, Gay Parents

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com November 14 2011 5:40 PM ET

On Friday, Public Radio International host Warren Olney led a discussion on his program To the Point that many felt linked pedophilia and parenting by gay people. Now, after harsh criticism, including from GLAAD, Olney has apologized.

Friday's broadcast on the suitability of gay parents came in response to the Penn State scandal, where assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of molesting and raping numerous boys; Sandusky also cared for foster children. Many viewers felt that connecting parenting by gays and pedophilia in a news segment was highly offensive. The show also gave extensive airtime to Jerry Cox of Arkansas's Family Council, a group that's tried unsuccessfully to strip not only gays of adoption rights but heterosexual single people.

"If those are the only two choices — child be institutionalized or in a same-sex home — I would like to challenge this and say, maybe the state can do better than that," Cox said on-air. "I blame the state for that. These children need a place to recover."

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called To the Point's segment "dangerous journalism," Gawker notes. On Monday's broadcast, Olney apologized:

"Before we end today's program, I want to apologize for something that happened on Friday's To the Point. We reported that Penn State's former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was allowed to care for foster children even though authorities knew he was suspected of child abuse. With hundreds of thousands of troubled children in need, we thought it was a good time to point out that gay and lesbian couples are often prohibited from both fostering and adopting, even though they can provide loving homes. But we failed to point out explicitly that pedophilia and homosexuality are not connected, and that led some listeners to think we were buying into an infamous falsehood. Over the weekend, we received a lot of critical comments from people who thought that, by discussing both topics in one show, we had equated the two. We respect our listeners, and we want to respond. There is no connection between pedophilia and homosexuality, and we never intended to say or imply there is. But our failure to make that crucial distinction explicit was a serious oversight. We regret it, and we apologize."