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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Nickelodeon defiant in gay row
Gay men at London's Mardi Gras
Protesters say the show will promote homosexuality
Children's TV channel Nickelodeon is to broadcast a programme about homosexuality despite receiving more than 1,000 e-mails and phone calls of protest.

The news special about same-sex parents is designed to counter hate and ignorance in the playground towards children whose parents were gay, the channel said.

But a traditional values pressure group said the show would promote homosexuality to children.


The skirt has been lifted and Nick has been exposed

Andrea Lafferty
Traditional Values Coalition
Nickelodeon was due to screen the report in the United States on Tuesday.

It received so many e-mails urging it to scrap the programme that it had to set up a separate e-mail address to stop its system crashing.

In an open letter to Nickelodeon president Herb Scannell, the Traditional Values Coalition said the network was "being used to indoctrinate children into acceptance of homosexuality as normal behaviour".

The coalition's executive director Andrea Lafferty said parents could no longer trust the channel.

"They have been led to believe that Nick is a safe harbour," she said. "Now they've been exposed. The skirt has been lifted and Nick has been exposed."

The group has described homosexuality as a "curable sexual identity disorder".

'Hate'

But Mr Scannell said the special was another way of "looking at the world from a kid's point of view", and said he had no hesitation about showing it.

The programme's producer, Linda Ellerbee, said it was never wrong to talk about hate.

The show was "not in any way" about the homosexual lifestyle, she said.


The following programme is about tolerance... it is not about sex

Nickelodeon
"It's not even introducing the subject to most kids. They know. But quite frankly, many of them know it from a hate standpoint without even knowing what they're talking about."

She had the idea for the show after she read that the derogatory term "fag" was had become the most common playground name.

Ms Ellerbee won a Peabody broadcasting award for a Nickelodeon special that explained the Monica Lewinsky scandal for children.

The latest report, called Nick News Special Edition: My Family is Different, will feature lesbian comedian Rosie O'Donnell, who has three adopted children.

It will also include children talking about having gay parents or their objections to homosexuality.

It will be introduced with the words: "The following programme is about tolerance... It is not about sex. It does not tell you what to think."

See also:

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