REEDVILLE, Va. — A number of self-described “Christian, family values” groups banded together Thursday demanding that Fox News discontinue guest appearances by “homosexual agitator” Wayne Besen on the O’Reilly Factor talk show, saying Besen is “demonizing conservative organizations and individuals.”
Citing the shooting incident at the headquarters of the Family Research Council in Washington last week, the groups wrote that “Besen has a long history of slandering conservative groups and the ex-gay community in language that foments hatred and undermines civil discourse.”
Besen is the Executive Director of Truth Wins out, an LGBT advocacy group, and author of “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”
The groups said that despite their repeated complaints, the “O’Reilly Factor” continues to feature Besen, “a radical homosexual activist aligned with the SPLC,” as a guest commentator.
“It is time that the ‘O’Reilly Factor’ cease using Besen as a guest commentator,” the statement read. “Providing Besen with a forum lends credibility to his pernicious tactics and enables Besen to exploit his appearances for fundraising purposes.
“When Fox News provides a forum to a radical homosexual activist known for employing inflammatory and hateful language in the service of promoting lies, the network becomes complicit in the damage done to the victims of Wayne Besen’s and the SPLC’s smear campaigns.”
Unfazed, Besen spoke out on his website Thursday, responding that he has “never been more proud” of his accomplishments:
“It has been said that the friends and foes accrued over a lifetime can be used as a measure of the man. Given the coalition of homophobes and hate groups that viciously attacked me today, I feel my life’s work has been vindicated and validated.”
“It is rich to see these alleged defenders of liberty and freedom begging FOX to censor a point of view in which they find objectionable. The hypocrisy of these individuals and groups is stunning and reveals that they embrace ‘free speech’ as little more than political buzzwords employed for tactical advantage. This effort to silence diverse points of views is disappointing and stands in stark contrast to the America I grew up in and love.”
Besen called it “improper, if not a tad unseemly, for this group to cravenly exploit the tragic shooting that occurred last week at the Family Research Council.”
In his response, Besen addresses several of the signatories by name, highlighting the “level of vitriol” they regularly display:
Scott Lively is a holocaust revisionist and one of America’s most spiteful anti-gay activists. He is the co-author of an incendiary, intellectually bankrupt, and historically inaccurate propaganda book, The Pink Swastika, which blames Nazism on LGBT people.
Lively has repeatedly compared homosexuality to pedophilia [...] and is currently being sued by a Ugandan gay rights group in federal court in Massachusetts, alleging that he violated international law by inciting the persecution of gay men and lesbians in Uganda.
I wasn’t stunned that Linda Harvey was on the list considering that she may be the most homophobic woman in America. In one of her columns, she warned mothers about the alleged “threat” of openly gay doctors and nurses treating their children.
Peter LaBarbera once awarded me his “Gay Grinch” award. He’s angry because I dubbed him “Porno Pete” – a nickname that has stuck and defined his bizarre advocacy. Why the label? Because LaBarbera is best known for infiltrating gay male leather events and surreptitiously photographing naked men and posting the pictures on the Internet. He then claims that he is “exposing” the “homosexual lifestyle.”
Of course, such activism is the equivalent of a gay person secretly recording revelers at Mardi Gras and Spring Break and politicizing the material as the “heterosexual lifestyle.” LaBarbera’s entire purpose in life, it seems, is to grossly distort the reality of LGBT people.
Also signing the letter to Fox News were Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel; Matt Barber, Vice President, Liberty Counsel Action; Regina Griggs, Executive Director, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX); and Brian Camenker, Executive Director, MassResistance.
One political pundit noted that “it seems that anti-gay groups are taking a page from the playbook of their enemies, calling for the removal of biased, partisan guests from ‘impartial’ news programs, which has been an objective of progressive efforts such as GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project.”
Besen’s full response is here.
Editor’s Disclosure: Wayne Besen’s weekly columns from Truth Wins Out are frequently published in LGBTQ Nation’s Views and Voices.