Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hoaxes don't help...

Yesterday I posted about the absolutely unacceptable way a New York mother responded to a birthday party invitation her son received from a classmate with two gay fathers. Many of you shared my outrage and cynicism.

Well, it turns out cynicism and outrage were appropriate emotions, but for the wrong reason. You see, the two people pictured above made the whole incident up.

DJs Leeana Karlson and Steve Harper, with Long Island's K-98.3, made the whole thing up. Apparently at the behest of K-98.3 management, the two admitted today that the entire story was a lie and issued an apology.
"Dear K-98.3 Listeners," the statement begins, "On Wednesday, we told you the story of Sophia's birthday party, and one parent's objection to the same-sex household of Sophia's parents. We also posted the invitation on our Facebook page, and invited comments from our followers.

"This story was, in fact, totally fictitious, and created by the two of us. This was done without the knowledge of K-98.3 management or ownership.

"We were attempting to spur a healthy discourse on a highly passionate topic, but we made a mistake by misleading our listeners into thinking that this specific situation actually existed. "We are very sorry that we perpetuated this falsehood, even after it was clear that it had taken on a 'life of its own.' We deeply apologize for violating your trust, and we will work hard to regain that trust."
At this point the radio station's management hasn't commented on their plans for the pair. I hope they get fired and never work in radio again.

Let's face it: the type of treatment Karlson and Harper created actually does happen in our country. But when hoaxes like these catch the media's attention, they add fuel to the fire of those who deny that discrimination and prejudice exist, those who say that anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people aren't necessary. They're the reason that certain states—Kansas being one recently—can feel empowered enough to introduce a law in the state legislature that says discrimination against LGBT people for religious reasons is okay.

Hoaxes like these don't help. We need to talk about these issues, to make this type of prejudice really stop, but creating a scheme to promote dialogue isn't the answer.

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