The Family Research Council appears to have made a rare concession that it was spinning a falsehood about gay people.
A "documentary" by the organization had alleged that the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network was printing how-to guides on gay sex and hookups. Bloggers disproved the tale. And GLSEN fought back by sending a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal action if the video wasn't removed from YouTube and no longer sold via FRC's website.
Since then, it appears the original was scrapped by FRC earlier this week. The audio for the YouTube video has been replaced with music, and a red box overlaid on top of the video asks readers to "Click here to view updated video: Does GLSEN Really Keep Kids 'Safe?"
The new video starts in Washington, D.C., with a revised introduction from Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. The phrasing walks a careful line to avoid pretending GLSEN printed and distributed the "Little Black Book" pamphlet, which is actually a guidebook for people over the age of 18 created by the AIDS Action Committee to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Eliza Byard, GLSEN's executive director, said she had not heard back from FRC after sending the letter, "nor did we expect to." She said GLSEN has been successful in convincing groups like FRC to stop repeating false statements in public, but Byard can remember only a couple instances when any product was revised.
"This is a big one," she said. "They actually reshot the video -- they had to go back to the old tired stuff."
The new video adds a litany of swipes against GLSEN, including alleging that the group has "done a poor job of keeping children safe from graphic sexual content" and that it once taught kids about fisting.
But FRC is listed as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center because it habitually distributes false and defamatory information about LGBT people.
"What do you do? There's a group of people out there that think that homosexuality is wrong, LGBT people should not exist, and that our very presence is a sign of evil in the world," Byard said. "There's not much you can do to argue with that. However, you can go after specific statements of fact that are out-and-out lies."