Monday, January 30, 2006

In The Life Atlanta denounces violence against gay men and homophobic comments made on V-103’s morning show

(Atlanta, January 26, 2006) - Near the end of the January 25, 2006 V-103 Morning Show broadcast, Frank Ski of the Frank and Wanda Morning Show, recounted an incident where he was approached by another man who possibly expressed an interest in him. Mr. Ski said this disgusted him and that he should have “kicked his ass.” Adding insult to injury, both co-host Wanda Smith and Mr. Ski engaged in an on-air discussion about the foundations of same-sex sexuality and sexual attraction. Their premise—that individuals become attracted to members of the same sex because of an inability to deal with members of the opposite sex—lacks any credible basis from any reputable medical or psychological organizations.

While In The Life Atlanta endorses every individual’s guarantee of freedom of speech, and their right to express themselves, as an organization we believe that institutions, and influential and widely listened to radio personalities, as well as other community leaders, have a social and moral responsibility to engage in well-informed discourse that builds community. “In short, The Morning Show’s campaign of violence and misinformation are morally irresponsible and apprehensible. Inciting violence against someone with whom you disagree with because of his or her sexual orientation, race, gender, etc. cannot be tolerated in Atlanta of all places—one of the birthplaces of civil rights,” said Michael E. Slaughter, co-chair of the In The Life Atlanta Board of Directors.

In The Life Atlanta calls on V-103, and parent company CBS Radio, to take a stand against violence and homophobia against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. Specifically, In The Life Atlanta calls for the following:

A statement made by V-103, and parent company CBS Radio, admonishing violence against members of the LGBT community;
An on-air apology from the Frank and Wanda Morning Show for their homophobic and violent remarks;
A formal, and written commitment, of unequivocal support for V-103 LGBT listeners;
Sensitivity training on sexual orientation and gender issues for all on-air personalities at V-103;
A timeline by which the four aforementioned concerns will be met.

“Atlanta ranks among the top 10 U.S. cities for Black LGBT individuals and families. Undoubtedly we are daily listeners to V-103, and consumers to many of the station’s advertisers. It is incumbent upon In The Life Atlanta, as one of the larger Black LGBT organizations in Atlanta, to orchestrate our own campaign—both locally and nationally—should V-103 and CBS Radio turn a deaf ear to inclusively and sensitivity by not following through on these simple commitments toward a unified Black community. However, we are confident that V-103 and CBS Radio will responsibly address these concerns and we as a Board look forward to working especially with Frank Ski and Wanda Smith for all Atlanta residents,” said Darlene Hudson, member of the In The Life Atlanta Board of Directors.

We as Americans—black, white, male, female, gay or straight—can no longer afford to allow these ongoing blatant forms of disrespect and the perpetuating of homophobic values across the airwaves. It does not support nor embrace the concepts of non-violence or community.

Founded in 1996, ITLA serves to promote unity, pride, self-empowerment, and positive visibility within Atlanta's Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender community of African descent through education, advocacy, and coalition building programs. ITLA is also the official host of Atlanta Black Gay Pride during Labor Day weekend, the largest African American LGBT event of its kind.

Contact ITLA

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