This is bad. The NYT article below provides a lot of evidence that the religious right got “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” a reality TV show, killed before it even aired a single episode because ABC/Disney thought the religious right would pull its support for the movie Narnia if the gays were shown to win the reality show (the gay couple did win).
What’s worse, a bit part of the religious right’s problem with the reality show is that many of the neighbors of the gay couple in the show were quite homophobic Christians and by the end of the show they ended up loving their gay neighbors. The religious right objected especially to the fact that real Christians embraced their gay neighbors.
And it looks very strongly like ABC/Disney caved to the religious right in order to ensure that a reality TV show didn’t show real Christians embracing gays.
“Neighborhood” features a real gay couple and their prospective neighbors in a continuing dialogue about homosexuality, including interpretations of the Bible.
In a recent interview, Richard Land, an official with the Southern Baptist Convention involved in the negotiations with Disney last year to end the group’s boycott of the company, said he did not recall any mention of “Neighborhood.” He added, however, that had the show been broadcast – particularly with an ending that showed Christians literally embracing their gay neighbors – it could have scuttled the Southern Baptists’ support for “Narnia.”
“I would have considered it a retrograde step,” Mr. Land said of the network’s plans to broadcast the reality series. “Aside from any moral considerations, it would have been a pretty stupid marketing move.”
Paul McCusker, a vice president of Focus on the Family, which had supported the Southern Baptist boycott and reaches millions of evangelical listeners through the daily radio broadcasts of Dr. James Dobson, expressed similar views.
“It would have been a huge misstep for Disney to aggressively do things that would disenfranchise the very people they wanted to go see ‘Narnia,’ ” he said.
This is all a sign of the larger battle we’re fighting, and losing, with the media. They’ve turned to the right, and until we show them that we too can cause them pain, they’re going to continue promoting bigotry and discrimination as an effort to win favor with the far-right.
Just like the religious right’s Ford Motor Company boycott, it too got suddenly called off, we now see another case where perhaps these boycott’s are getting called off because of behind-the-scenes secret deals these companies are working out with the far-right bigots.