MTV Called 'Irresponsible' For Airing Pro-Homosexual Ads

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

( - MTV began running public service announcements Wednesday that highlight homosexual teens who are experiencing difficulty with their sexuality at school, but conservative family organizations call the ads an attempt to legitimize and normalize homosexuality.

The public service announcements premiered October 10 during MTV's Criminal: Hate in the Hallways, a special program on anti-gay harassment in schools, according to a press release issued by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

The ads are part of MTV's Fight For Your Rights Anti-Discrimination Campaign.

According to a survey conducted by GLSEN, 80 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students have experienced harassment at school. The survey also shows that 84.3 percent reported hearing homophobic remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke."

The survey also said "81.8 percent of these students report that faculty or staff rarely or never intervened when such remarks were made."

In response to the survey's numbers, MTV teamed up with GLESN to "launch the largest-ever series of public service announcements aimed at countering anti-gay intolerance amongst youth," the GLESN press release said.

"As these numbers make clear, harassment against LGBT youth in schools is the rule, not the exception," Kevin Jennings, GLESN executive director, said in the release. "We commend both MTV and Public Interest Productions for their strong commitment to this issue. Through this partnership, we are raising awareness of the need to protect and support LGBT students through policies and programs designed to create respect for all young people in schools."

Brian Graden, MTV's president of programming, was quoted by GLESN as being a strong supporter of the public service announcements. "MTV has been a proud partner in efforts to make schools safe for all students, and we see these troubling statistics as a call to further action," he said.

"We hope these statistics and public service announcements will push young people to continue examining their own prejudices," Graden said.

However, several groups have lashed out at MTV for running the ads.

"MTV is being highly irresponsible," said Heather Cirmo, spokesperson for the Family Research Council.

Cirmo believes the ads are an attempt to legitimize and normalize homosexuality, "especially when you look at what MTV has been doing in recent years," she said. "It's a misnomer that MTV stands for Music Television; perhaps a better way of describing it is Malignant Television, because it seems to be filling kids' heads with a lot of liberal propaganda."

Cirmo said many who speak out against homosexuality are unjustly regarded as being intolerant. "[Christians] may communicate disapproval of the lifestyle. Is that, therefore, intolerant? What about the tolerance for the Christians, Muslims or the Jews, whose faith teaches them that homosexuality is not a healthy behavior," she asked.

Cirmo said the Family Research Council disagrees with the theory that students are able to determine whether they are homosexual as early as middle and high school.

"There is no evidence that shows that people are born homosexual ...we're all born heterosexual, and [homosexuality is] only behavior[al]," Cirmo said. "Middle school students, if they are engaging in homosexual behavior, should be told that behavior is inappropriate."

Family First, a Nebraska based family policy council, recently addressed an Omaha high school on the subject of homosexuality.

"The students' response wasn't passionate in favor of homosexuality but it was pretty passive. The attitude was if they love each other, it's okay," Jessica Moenning, communications and event director for Family First, said.

"The message of tolerance and diversity in schools has just essentially brainwashed students to believe that to be tolerant you have to be void of moral convictions," Moenning said.

"I would guess that one of the reasons that tolerance and diversity includes homosexuality as a normal, acceptable lifestyle is because pop culture outlets, MTV being a prime example, normalizes and even glamorizes a gay lifestyle," she concluded.

Despite numerous attempts to contact MTV, the network would not return messages regarding the public service announcements.