Recently, California lawmakers started a long-overdue process to repeal a ridiculous law that required the state of California to search for a "cure" or "treatment" for homosexuality. On Tuesday, CNN's Kyra Phillips attempted to tackle the topic by asking, "Homosexuality, Is it a problem in need of a cure?" As if that wasn't enough, she and her producers then gave air time to the thoroughly discredited "ex-gay therapist" Richard Cohen to discuss this awful question.
After getting blowback from all parts of the LGBT community, CNN agreed to have representatives from GLAAD on the next day's broadcast to talk about these concerns. Merely hours before the scheduled start of the segment, CNN canceled and issued this terse statement:
By bringing this story to the fore, we engage various advocates from all sides. This story does not end here and CNN will continue to explore other views and positions.
My letter to Phillips is after the jump along with her contact info at CNN. Please feel free to use it as inspiration to write your own letter and let Phillips know what you think about how this topic was covered.
I've been an admirer of your work for years. I've watched as most of your fellow CNN anchors have moved on while you've held fast and secured a name and place for yourself at the network. I love the angle you typically bring to news stories and I'm particularly fond of the behind-the-scenes vignettes you've produced.
But I'm extremely dismayed by a recent segment on the question of whether homosexuality needs to be "cured" that was precipitated by a proposed change to California law. Just the framing of this question is highly offensive to me and many others. Should we be looking to "cure" you of your heterosexuality or your femininity? Is it possible to "cure" you of being white? Or do we only look to "cure" minorities that are less popular among the majority?
What's worse is that you pose this ridiculous question and then let a discredited homophobe waste valuable air time "answering" this inane and irrelevant question. No real scientists, no real debate. Tell me, are members of white supremacist groups invited to discuss racial issues on CNN? I'm sure there were several Klan members who contributed to CNN's Black in America and Latino in America series, right? I mean, you wouldn't want to leave out a point of view, would you? Yes - this situation is just as ridiculous as that, Kyra.
The "ex-gay" movement has been discredited by every major medical and psychological association in the country. The notion that you can "cure" or "pray away" an innate or immutable trait is absurd. These people have an agenda that is based on religious dogma - not facts, not science. They peddle lies and falsehoods that perpetuate the hate and misunderstanding that foments the intolerance and discrimination gay people face daily. This is not responsible journalism.
Kyra, the way you treated this topic is well below your standards and reflects poorly upon you and on your network. I hope you will do more than issue a half-hearted statement that doesn't address the real concerns of LGBT people. You have no obligation to "hear from advocates on all sides" if one of those sides is discredited and duplicitous. Your job is to present the truth, foster honest debate and to help people weed out the facts, not to give voice to lies and mistruths about gay people. Lies that do real harm. It's not a debate when one side lies, Kyra.
I hope this gives you a better perspective for the next time you try to address such an important topic.
Thanks for your time and consideration. I hope this was an isolated incident and that such nonsense doesn't get your attention in the future.
You can email Kyra Phillips at Kyra.Phillips@turner.com
Other CNN Contacts:
Producer, CNN Newsroom
GLAAD also has an action alert on their website with more background info.