A former writer for the Tampa
Tribune, a sister company of News Channel 8, says executives at
Media General, the parent company of both news outlets, were not gay
inclusive. Gay activists demonstrated outside News Chanel 8
Wednesday to protest the station's airing of an anti-gay video.
David Simanoff, an openly gay man who
left the Tribune in 2008 after a decade of service, says
bosses at Media General were insensitive to gay and lesbian issues.
“My recollection is that gay men and
lesbians were accepted in the newsrooms, but that sensitivity about
GLBT issues – in fact, all minority issues – declined
exponentially as one progressed higher up the organizational chart,”
Simanoff says at his blog, Daily Dave 3.0 at
About 250 demonstrators took issue with
New Channel 8's airing of the American Family Association's (AFA)
controversial documentary special on the “radical homosexual
agenda” titled Speechless: Silencing the Christians on the
night of the St. Petersburgh Gay Pride parade last month.
The protesters chanted “Shame, Shame,
Channel 8. Make your money and spread your hate!” and held signs
that read “News Channel H8.”
The documentary asserts that proposed
federal hate crime legislation would outlaw religious speech,
employment protection laws force churches to hire gay men and
lesbians, that gay men and women are largely responsible for the
HIV/AIDS pandemic and the spread of all STDs, and that gay marriage
hurts the family because it deprives children of a mother or a
Simanoff also points out that Media
General did not include sexual discrimination in its discrimination
policy. And in a memo issued soon after Massachusetts legalized gay
marriage, executives reminded employees that its health care plans
only cover opposite-sex couples.
“I left MFE (My Former Employer)
feeling confused and frustrated about the company's approach to GLBT
employees,” Simanoff said.