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SyFy Channel responds to GLAAD’s “F” grade, promises more diversity

activism, lgbt, media No Comments »

syfylogoThe SyFy Channel (formerly Sci-Fi)  responded to  GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index which gave the network a failing grade, promising to try harder to increase diversity in its original programming.

A GLAAD rep told that Syfy’s grade was based on the fact that there were only two gay characters appearing on the network’s programming during the timetable of the study — Eureka‘s Vincent and Battlestar Galactica‘s Gaeta — and the latter’s sexual orientation was never directly addressed on the show. Instead, it was only referred to in a webisode.

Looking ahead, however, Syfy’s [executive vice-president] Stern touts two new series and the diversity depicted within.

“On Stargate Universe, one of the main female characters, we discover, is a lesbian and has a wife at home. It’s a pretty important facet of who that character is,” he says. ER alum Ming-Na plays intergalactic diplomat Camille Wray, while 24‘s Reiko Aylesworth recurs as her wife.

Similarly the Galactica prequel spin-off Caprica has at least two main characters depicted as being in gay relationships. “[One] is a ‘goodfella’-type, and we discover in a nonchalant way that he is gay, with a husband,” Stern says. “It was very interesting to me to take what is traditionally a very heterosexual role in an organization that we think of as being extremely homophobic, and put a gay character in that world in a very normalized way.”

NBC, CBS, A&E and TBS also received failing grades for lack of diversity but have refused to comment. HBO and Showtime received the highest ratings.

As a longtime science fiction geek, it will be good to see more of us represented in the Final Frontier. J.J. Abrams, are you listening?

[ad#iTunes Sci-Fi]

Broadcast news pioneer Walter Cronkite dead at 92

media, news No Comments »

Walter CronkiteOnce known as the “most trusted man in America,” former CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite passed away this evening after a long illness at the age of 92.

Cronkite was the broadcaster to whom the title “anchorman” was first applied, and he came so identified in that role that eventually his own name became the term for the job in other languages. (Swedish anchors are known as Kronkiters; In Holland, they are Cronkiters.)

“He was a great broadcaster and a gentleman whose experience, honesty, professionalism and style defined the role of anchor and commentator,” CBS Corp. chief executive Leslie Moonves said in a statement.

In a career spanning more than half a century, Cronkite will perhaps be most remembered for his honest and human coverage of some of the most important news events in modern American history, including the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the Apollo moon landing, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis.

Since this week is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, it seems appropriate to re-visit his coverage of that event.

And that’s the way it is. Rest in peace Mr. Cronkite.

Radio show in hot water over transphobic remarks, sponsors yank advertising

activism, lgbt, media 2 Comments »

Rob, Arnie and Dawn ShowThe Rob, Arnie and Dawn radio we posted about earlier this week has come under fire for disparaging remarks made against the transgender community, encouraging the beating of transgender/questioning youth. A Call to Action by GLAAD has been successful in getting sponsors to pull ads from their show. From GLAADblog:

At 1:33pm, I received an email from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. The company is responsible for well, Dr. Pepper and Snapple along with 40+ brands including 7UP, Country Time, Crush, Hawaiian Punch, Mott’s, Orangina, Welch’s and Yoo-hoo.

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc gave us the following statement to share with our supporters:

“We found the segment to be offensive and as a result, we are pulling our Snapple advertising from the station. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.”

As far as we know, the beverage company now becomes the second business to pull its advertising from KRXQ as a result of last week’s defamatory and dehumanizing comments against transgender children made by radio hosts Rob and Arnie.

The popular restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill was the first to announce pulling their advertising contract from the station.

Please continue to check back for updates on this developing story.

At 4:00pm EST, GLAAD spoke with SONIC Corp, the largest chain of drive-in restaurants in the country. SONIC confirmed they pulled all of their advertising from KRXQ as a result of the offensive comments made on the “Rob, Arnie and Dawn in the Morning” show during their May 28 radio segment.

SONIC provided GLAAD with the following statement at 4:45pm EST:

“Sonic wants to assure you that the views of this station are in no way related to the views of Sonic. Sonic was alerted to the May 28th segment only yesterday and immediately began researching the segment, show and Sonic’s planned advertising on the station. SONIC in no way condones violence toward children and does not wish to be associated with media content that condones or promotes such activity in any way.  We have decided to immediately withdraw advertising from this station and have notified the station of our decision.”

SONIC now joins Snapple and Chipotle in their removal of advertising on KRXQ.

And it gets better… as of today Bank of America is pulling their ads

In response to your inquiry, I would like to express our thoughts to you regarding Bank of America’s decision to discontinue advertising on the station and show in question.

Bank of America is proud to be a leader in supporting diversity and continues to be widely recognized for our progressive workplace practices and initiatives to promote inclusion. This commitment to equality and diversity informs every aspect of our enterprise, including our approach to advertising. As a result, we adhere to a set of media buying guidelines for syndicated programming and for local stations that promote inclusion and help our company reach a broad range of diverse customers.Bank of America prides itself on fostering a corporate culture that is inclusive of all the communities we serve. Our customers, clients and associates speak different languages; support different family structures and life situations; and have unique and personal financial requirements. In order to meet the diverse needs of our customers, we require a variety of products and services, marketing and a diverse workforce that demonstrate and reflect our awareness and appreciation of who our clients and customers are.

We hope the immediate actions that we have taken demonstrate our longstanding support of diversity, and we hope you inform members of your organization of the steps that we have taken to address your concerns.

Thank you for your inquiry and bringing this to our attention.

It’s been heartening to watch how quickly our community has come together to take the radio show to task and affect change, and in matter of just a few days. Please continue to support GLAAD in their efforts fight discrimination in all its forms.

Update: You can now add Verizon, Carl’s Jr. and Nissan to the list…

Sacramento radio show encourages beating transgendered, questioning kids

activism, entertainment, humor, lgbt, media 1 Comment »

Rob, Arnie and Dawn ShowGranted it’s a comedy show by some crude and talent-impaired shock jocks (and one semi-reasonable jockette), but give me a break. It’s dehumanizing talk like this that nudges someone to act out and hurt someone. Listen to audio from the Rob, Arnie and Dawn Show if you can stomach it. Discussion starts around the 4:45 mark.


It’s easy to forget sometimes living here in this bubble called San Francisco that we are just an hour or two away from such intense prejudice and intolerance. Oh wait a minute, Michael Savage broadcasts from San Francisco. So much for that theory.

GLAAD has now called for an apology from the show.