By Brody Levesque | REEDVILLE, VA -- In what self-described 'christian' family values groups see as an affront to their beliefs, a significant number banded together Thursday issuing a press release demanding that Fox News discontinue guest appearances by "homosexual agitator" Wayne Besen on the O'Reilly Factor talk show.
Citing the incident of shooting violence 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, who is the Executive Director of Truth Wins out, an LGBTQ advocacy and equality rights organisation responded on his website writing,
"I have never been more proud of my career accomplishments than I am today. 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."
Echoing the publicly expressed sentiments by FRC head Tony Perkins, who lashed out in a press conference a week ago in the aftermath of the shooting, blaming the Southern Poverty Law Center-who had included FRC to its Hate Watch list of groups that demonise LGBTQ people in 2010- for giving the shooter, Floyd Corkins, II "a licence" to launch his attack on FRC, the joint release today claimed that "The SPLC and Wayne Besen are united in demonizing conservative organizations and individuals."
The groups complain that Despite repeated complaints about Besen's appearances, producers of the O'Reilly Factor continue to feature Besen, a radical homosexual activist aligned with the SPLC, as a guest commentator. The release goes on to state:
It is time that the O'Reilly Factor cease using Besen as a guest commentator. 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.
We ask the News Corporation, Fox News, and Bill O'Reilly to find more ethical spokespersons for the liberal view of sexuality. In their infamous Washington Post ad accusing FRC of hateful values, Besen and the SPLC claim that "words have consequences." Yes, they do. And Besen's may lead to violence.
Besen fired back by saying,
"I’d like to thank Bill O’Reilly and his producers for ignoring these fringe elements. Bill has invited me on periodically as a guest for more than a decade. While Bill and I have rarely agreed on the air, our exchanges have consistently been reasonable, rational, and respectful.
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.
It is improper, if not a tad unseemly, for this group to cravenly exploit the tragic shooting that occurred last week at the Family Research Council."
Besen goes on to detail the hypocrisy inherent in these anti-gay groups and chronicles the homophobic histories of each of the signatories, which includes Oklahoma state senator Sally Kern, anti-gay pastor Scott Lively, and Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
One political pundit noted that "it seems that antigay 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."