NBC’s Utah affiliate KSL-TV in Salt Lake City is not backing off its decision not to air the new comedy The New Normal about a gay couple starting a family with the help of a surrogate mother.
So Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center announced Friday (31 August) that they have teamed with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to host a free public screening of the show followed by a panel discussion sometime next month.
But KSL-TV executives and parent company Bonneville International – a broadcasting company wholly owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – and released a statement about it.
‘It was helpful to talk together, to better understand issues, and to be able to discuss the reasons behind our decision to not air The New Normal,’ they stated. ‘This was not a decision we made lightly and it was not made because of any single issue including gay characters or LGBT families.’
‘… We made a decision to not broadcast this program because we feel it had a number of issues including sexually explicit content, demeaning dialogue, and inciting stereotypes,’ they added. ‘We care about and value all members of our community, including LGBT people and their families, and are grateful when there can be the type of cordial and respectful dialogue we have had today.’
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick remains disappointed in the decision not to air the series from Glee producer Ryan Murphy.
‘From the outset, it appeared clear that the presence of gay characters factored into KSL’s decision,’ Graddick said. ‘With gay families having long been part of some of television’s most well-known and popular series, KSL’s decision is out of touch with a vast majority of television viewers, advertisers and critics. Refusing to air this series about gay families sends the wrong message to LGBT families and young people in Utah.’
Utah Pride Center’s Executive Director Valerie Larabee said KLS’s decision ‘incited this community and many across the country who feel KSL was censoring the show because of its gay content.’