A group of social conservatives are attempting to have an ABC planned sitcom nixed because of gay rights activist and sex columnist Dan Savage’s involvement with the project, reports The Associated Press.
The show, tentatively titled The Real O’Neals, is about a family whose bond strengthens after the youngest son comes out as gay. A pilot is in the works, but the show itself is only in the early stages of development.
According to The Media Research Center and Family Research Council, its members have sent more than 21,000 postcards and made thousands of phone calls urging ABC to abandon the series before it gets the green light.
Members of the socially conservative groups are reportedly outraged over Savage’s role as executive producer.
While ABC has yet to comment on the effort, Savage insists the members are “misdirected” and the sitcom is not about his life.
Savage, author of advice column “Savage Love,” said the series may involve aspects of his childhood that he’s written about, but “it wouldn’t be accurate to describe it as autobiographical.”
MRC President Brent Bozell and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins addressed the issue in a letter to Disney/ABC Television president Ben Sherwood, citing Savage’s “radical hate speech” and “venomous anti-Christian bigotry.”
“They’re choosing him for his signature, which is religious bigotry and personal offensiveness, not because he’s gay,” wrote Bozell. “There are a thousand and one gay people they could have chosen.”
In 2000, Savage wrote about his experience as a volunteer for Republican Gary Bauer’s presidential campaign, wherein he described suffering from the flu and licking doorknobs in the campaign office hoping to infect others.
He also attempted to associate Republican Senator Rick Santorum’s name with a gay sex act on Google.
“A campaign for or against the show isn’t relevant at this point as the pilot isn’t even finished yet,” said Savage. “Again, the campaign….is misdirected, as the show isn’t by me-I’m not one of the writers-and it isn’t about me.”
Bozell says members of his group are likely to oppose the show with or without Savage’s involvement.
“Would a show like this bother me? he asked. “Sure. It makes a political statement. Where is the market demand for this? You might even resign yourself that this is the way that it is, but when I heard it was Savage, I gasped in disbelief.”