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Councilman wants WFLA to apologize for "homophobic" program

Tampa, Florida -- Tampa councilman John Dingfelder is asking WFLA NewsChannel 8 to apologize for airing what he calls a "homophobic" program.

"This community wouldn't accept a racist infomercial, it wouldn't accept an anti-Semitic infomercial and we shouldn't accept a homophobic infomercial" Dingfelder told 10 Connects.

Dingfelder joined more than 100 other people protesting WFLA's decision to air "Speechless: Silencing the Christians" on June 27th. The station reportedly received $35,000 for airing the hour-long show.

The executive director of Equality Florida says the show was "dishonest, damaging and defamatory" in its depiction of lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

"They (WFLA) allowed gay people and our families to be denigrated, dehumanized and we're here to say those messages won't go unchallenged" Nadine Smith said during Wednesday's protest.

WFLA has not apologized for airing the program but John Schueler the president of Florida Communications Group, part of the company that owns WFLA, issued the following statement:

"Our overriding mission is to provide platforms for the broadest points of view and be responsible to the community we serve. We understand that doing so can cause strong disagreement. We screened this program and ran a disclaimer before and after it ran noting that this does not reflect the views of WFLA."

But Dingfelder says WFLA can't stop there.

"Everybody makes a mistake sometimes, even big corporations and I think it would be an easy solution for channel 8 to come out and say they made a mistake, they're sorry to this community and they'll do better next time."

Preston Rudie, 10 Connects


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