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GLAAD Criticizes CNN Host Glenn Beck’s Anti-Gay Slur

Wednesday Jan 24, 2007
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New York, N.Y. , January 24, 2007 - In a release today by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD,) the group’s President Neil G. Giuliano criticized CNN host Glenn Beck for his flippant and gratuitous on-air use of an anti-gay slur during his Jan. 22, 2007 program.

The host of CNN Headline News’ Glenn Beck was discussing the Isaiah Washington story when he had the following exchange with radio host Dave Glover:

BECK: But anyway, Dave, what is the-what is the controversy? One of the guys called another guy a naughty name.

GLOVER: Yes. Basically you have Isaiah Washington, who’s one of the stars of the show, who referred to one of his co-stars during a heated argument as a derogatory term for a gay man that starts with "F", rhymes with maggot. Did it a couple more times after that. And do you like how I did that?

BECK: Yes.

GLOVER: And...

BECK: Do you know that "The New York Times" wouldn’t even print - I mean, we can say the word. We’re having an adult conversation here. Wouldn’t even print the word "faggot."

GLOVER: Right.

BECK: Wouldn’t print it. I find that amazing.

Glover’s attempt to identify the epithet without using it on-air was in keeping with how other broadcast and cable outlets - including CNN - have approached it since the 64th Annual Golden GlobeŽ Awards incident that sparked a national dialogue about the slur and the impact of anti-gay prejudice. Throughout CNN’s coverage of the Isaiah Washington controversy over the past week, Beck appears to be the only host to have repeated the epithet on the air.

"Beck’s obnoxious repetition of the slur - and his flip dismissal of it as simply a ’naughty name’ - speaks volumes about his appalling ignorance of its impact," Giuliano said. "Beck added nothing to the audience’s understanding of the issue, except perhaps to demonstrate his juvenile belief that repeating an anti-gay slur makes him an ’adult.’"

On Tuesday, GLAAD reached out to CNN’s standards and practices department to discuss the matter. On Wednesday, a CNN spokesperson told GLAAD that Beck wasn’t using the word himself, that Beck’s show is an "opinion show" and not a news program, and that Beck was expressing an opinion about The New York Times’ decision to not use the word.

"The ugliness of Glenn Beck’s word choice and his ignorance of its impact really speak for themselves," Giuliano said. "Other CNN personalities have discussed derogatory slurs as part of this story without debasing that discussion. CNN has a responsibility to address Beck’s crudeness and require that he adhere to basic standards of respect."

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