Rapper's Slurs Okay; But Not Dr Laura's 'Rhetoric'

Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:04pm EDT
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(CNSNews.com) - Rap musician 50 Cent used several anti-homosexual gay slurs in an April interview with Playboy magazine, but even so, a homosexual advocacy group has restrained its criticism of him -- even inviting him to "get to know the LGBT community."

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) offered a relatively mild response to words uttered by rapper 50 Cent, in marked contrast to GLAAD's relentless attack on a conservative radio talk-show host several years ago. That talk show host - Dr. Laura Schlessinger - never said the words that 50 Cent did.

"I ain't into faggots," 50 Cent told the most recent issue of Playboy . "I don't like gay people around me, because I'm not comfortable with what their thoughts are. I'm not prejudiced. I just don't go with gay people and kick it - we don't have that much in common. I'd rather hang out with a straight dude. But women who like women, that's cool," he said.

Later in the interview, 50 Cent said, "It's OK to write that I'm prejudiced. This is as honest as I could possibly be with you. When people become celebrities they change the way they speak. But my conversation with you is exactly the way I would have a conversation on the street. We refer to gay people as faggots, as homos. It could be disrespectful, but that's the facts."

GLAAD issued a press release on Tuesday, expressing "concern" over 50 Cent's comments. The group said it "believes that it can be dangerous to use words like 'faggot' and 'homo' when talking about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community."

According to GLAAD, 50 Cent, as a public figure, should realize that his words can have a huge impact.

"We applaud his honesty in talking about the murder of his bisexual mother and appreciate his acknowledgement that he is not comfortable with gay people. We know that confronting homophobia can indeed be uncomfortable," said GLAAD's People of Color Media Manager C. Riley Snorton.

"But honesty is always the first step in overcoming the desire to judge those who are different than us and in overcoming prejudice."

Snorton said a good way for 50 Cent to overcome prejudice would be to attend GLAAD's annual media awards. "I'd like to invite 50 Cent as my personal guest," she added.

"GLAAD encourages 50 Cent to get to know the LGBT community, and we are fully confident that in doing so he will find that he has more in common with us than he thinks," the press release concluded.

Dr. Laura's 'Rhetoric and Defamation'

In contrast to its gentle treatment of 50 Cent, GLAAD showed no such restraint in its three-year campaign against conservative talk show host Dr. Laura Schlesinger.

In a March 20, 2001 press release, GLAAD announced it had culminated its "three-year public education campaign against the rhetoric of talk-show host Laura Schlessinger."

The group hailed the cancellation of Schlessinger's TV show as a "major victory against defamation and anti-gay intolerance."

GLAAD said it launched its campaign against Schlessinger in 1998, when she "began using terms such as 'deviant,' 'disordered' and 'biological error' to describe gays and lesbians."

"In coalition with thousands of local activists from across the country, we have held Laura Schlessinger accountable for her defamation of our community," GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry said at the time.

"And we've sent a strong message that we are no longer an easy target for prejudice. GLAAD hopes the cancellation of 'Dr. Laura' will make media corporations think twice about giving a platform to someone who promotes derision and exclusion. Such decisions will never go unchallenged."

GLAAD accused Dr. Laura of perpetuating misinformation and reinforcing damaging stereotypes about homosexuality (including the concept that homosexuals can choose to change their behavior).

Like many homosexual activists, GLAAD rejects the notion that homosexuals can be "converted" to heterosexuality. It calls the notion "dangerous."

According to GLAAD, "Schlessinger's attacks first came to GLAAD's attention in 1997 when she characterized homosexuality as a "biological faux pas" in her syndicated newspaper column. In February 1998 and March 1999, GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry met with Schlessinger in an unproductive effort to educate her about the hurtful impact of her words. When Schlessinger signed with Paramount Domestic Television for a TV talk show in mid-1999, GLAAD launched a campaign to bring the topic of defamatory language into the national public consciousness."

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation says it is "dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation."

See Earlier Story:
Dr Laura to Drop Column, Go Ahead with TV Show (26 May 2000)

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