Call to Action: Another Shock Jock, Another Offensive Comment pt. 2

Call on Clear Channel Communications to Sanction Syndicated Radio Host
Jim Quinn for Defamatory Comments; “Gay Sex Produces AIDS”

November 7, 2008

Contact: Cindi Creager, Director of National News
Phone: (646) 871-8019 Email: creager@glaad.org

Contact: Richard Ferraro, Director of Public Relations
Phone: (646) 871-8011 Email: ferraro@glaad.org

New York, NY, November 7, 2008 – On November 6, Jim Quinn of the nationally syndicated radio program, The War Room with Quinn & Rose, made defamatory statements about marriage for same-sex couples. As noted by Media Matters for America, “Discussing the passage of a California ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, radio host Jim Quinn asserted: ‘[G]ay marriage doesn’t produce anything that the state has an interest in. Gay sex produces AIDS, which the state doesn’t have – or should have an interest in. They should charge homosexuals more for their – for their health insurance than they charge the rest of us.’”

The War Room with Quinn & Rose originates in Pittsburgh and is syndicated by Clear Channel Communications. It can be heard in 12 markets across the country in Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and nationally on Satellite XM radio.

Please contact Clear Channel to voice your concerns about Quinn’s reprehensible remarks about gay people and people with AIDS. Call on Clear Channel to reprimand him and stop providing a national platform for these kids of defamatory attacks.

CONTACT:

Lisa Dollinger
Chief Communications Officer
Clear Channel Communications
(210) 822-2828
lisacdollinger@clearchannel.com

Kathryn Johnson
Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations
Clear Channel Communications
(210) 822-2828
KathrynMaysJohnson@clearchannel.com

Sanda Coyle
Clear Channel Radio
(210) 822-2828
sandacoyle@clearchannel.com

About GLAAD
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.


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I am deeply disturbed by the fact that yet another shock jock is spewing erroneous and offensive information about the queer community. Many of my readers may not be old enough to remember the rhetoric of HIV/AIDs as the “Gay Cancer” or the number of children and educators who were ostracized or kicked out of school because they had contracted the disease through blood transfusion. Before the HIV/AIDs epidimic became a universal health risk in the eyes of both the state and health care providers it was seen as specific to the gay community and churches, radio stations, even some physicians claimed it was “God’s punishment for homosexuality.” They vilified the gay community so clearly and so swiftly that, like all other forms of hate, it not only created a dangerous and volatile environment of marginalization for gay people but also for anyone, gay or straight, adult or child, who contracted the disease or had similar symptoms. People shunned their neighbors. Queer communities went undergroung for safety as historic clubs, shops, streets, were targeted for vandalism, violence, and destruction. The rhetoric of disease and damnation reached new heights, with some providers refusing to treat gay clients, infected or not. People’s health insurance was cancelled, infected or not.

Shock Jock Jim Quinn wants to return to this period, advocating “higher premiums” for gay people b/c “gay sex produces AIDs.” Like those who were willing to let HIV/AIDs simply wipe the queer community off the planet, and yes people wrote thought pieces, made jokes, and even spoke in public about doing just that, Quinn argues on his show that gay people serve no purpose. When you serve no purpose, by extension you have no purpose and therefore expendable.

Now that we have fought so hard to educate people about HIV/AIDs and largely beaten back the disease amongst white middle class queers, the homophobic rhetoric has been replaced by a racist-sexist one that vilifies the sexual practices of women of color (the largest new group of infected people) as promiscous. It also continues racist narratives that ran alongside those of the homophobic ones from the onset of the disease, ie 1. Africa, and to a lesser extent other 3rd world countries, are inherently diseased and responsible then for the creation of the disease and now for the spread of new strains, and 2. that “because communities of color are so homphobic” gay men of color’s lifestyles – either their sexual practices, which is an extension of the homophobic + an intersecting racist narrative, or their lives on the “down low” make them more suceptible and spreaders of AIDs. These narratives all rely on the idea of individual responsibility and pathology within traditionally marginalized groups like gay people, people of color, and women. In other words, they use existing phobias and isms to perpetuate ongoing oppression. The difference is that outside of conservative circles, the actual likening of any N. American group to a “disease machine” is no longer acceptable in the way it had been in the 80s.

Jim Quinn is using a particularly egregious moment in our collective history, the failure of gay rights across the nation but particularly prop 8, to return to the 80s style rhetoric of hate and homosexuality as diseased. His words are not only offensive in general, when inserted into this particularly volatile time in California they are potentially dangerous. They capitalize on and further extend existing homophobic and heterosexist sentiment amongst the 52% of Californians who voted against gay rights. And his words are no doubt bolstered by the white and poc churches, and handful of synagogues and mosques, who had already been preaching against homosexuality as part of prop 8. Thus they exacerbate existing divides and help foster continued tension at a time that 10,000s took to the streets to reclaim their rights and millions were spent to take them away.

There have already been hate crimes perpetrated by white evangelical conservative Christian European immigrant communities against queers of color in California in the past few months; members of our community were killed in these incidents. There have already been verbally abusive exchanges between anti-gay groups (from many backgrounds) and gay people and their allies (from equally diverse backgrounds). Hate crimes against the gay community are not only on the rise nationally but in California, even in its queer meccas. Imagine then how his comments will be perceived and what they could incite as a result. He is not just fuel to the fire, he could be a lightening rod to violence against the queer community, its allies, and anyone who is mistaken for gay. (and again we see how hatred spills outward to all of us.)

Please do not allow his comments or anyone else spreading homophobia in this conflict to go unchecked. (You should also note that Quinn has made pro-slavery comments and anti-feminist comments in the past on his show as well, without sanction.)

You can read part of the transcript of Quinn’s Nov. 6 Broadcast below:

The War Room with Quinn & Rose, co-host Jim Quinn said: “The only thing that — the only thing that gay marriage produce — well, gay marriage doesn’t produce anything that the state has an interest in. Gay sex produces AIDS, which the state doesn’t have — or should have an interest in. They should charge homosexuals more for their — for their health insurance than they charge the rest of us.”

… .

Quinn continued:

I mean, just like they charge — look, if I’m a tobacco smoker, I pay more, right? Why? Because I’m risking my life, and the insurance company has an interest in that, because the chances were more likely they’re gonna have to pay off on me than somebody else. So why don’t they charge gay men, especially, higher premiums? Because they’re engaged in an activity that will have an impact on that – on the health care system.”

QUINN: Let me ask you a question. You’re hanging out with some — some woman that you picked up in a bar and, you know, you two are out there; maybe you decided at the last minute to go to Las Vegas, rent a hotel room, and make a little whoopee for the weekend. What is that called? Does society have a strict definition for that? I mean, yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of people who different definitions for it, different names for it. But, I mean, is there one thing that we can all agree on? Is there a name for it? And no, there is no one name for it, because society has no interest in it. But there is a name for a man and a woman who commit to each other, it’s called marriage. Why does it have a name? Because we seek to define it. Why do we seek to define it? Because society has an interest in the outcome, and the outcome is the next generation of citizens in that society, and the assurance that those citizens will have a proper upbringing.

That’s why we name things. That’s why we have words to define things. We are under no obligation to change the definition of things to include some demand from some special-interest group who suddenly decides that their union ought to be called a marriage to make them feel better about it, and to force the rest of us to look at it as equivalent to a man and a woman having a marriage that produces something that the state has an interest in. The only thing that — the only thing that gay marriage produce — well, gay marriage doesn’t produce anything that the state has an interest in. Gay sex produces AIDS, which the state doesn’t have — or should have an interest in. They should charge homosexuals more for their — for their health insurance than they charge the rest of us. I mean, just like they charge — look, if I’m a tobacco smoker, I pay more, right? Why? Because I’m risking my life, and the insurance company has an interest in that, because the chances were more likely they’re gonna have to pay off on me than somebody else. So why don’t they charge gay men, especially, higher premiums? Because they’re engaged in an activity that will have an impact on that — on the health care system. That’s — I don’t know, is there something wrong with that?

Anyway, the people of — of California, you know, maybe they didn’t articulate it quite that way, but somehow they understood. And they voted against gay marriage. And the mayor of San Francisco is just beside himself over this. But they did the right thing. Look, if you’re gay and you want to have a relationship, and you want to have it — you know, you want to have it legalized and sign a contract, I have no problem with that. Go ahead. I’m not gonna come knock on your door, it’s not a problem for me. Just don’t — don’t try to muddy the waters by calling it a marriage — it’s not. What else here this morning?

source: media matters

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