A Mormon-owned television station in Salt Lake City has refused to air a new American sitcom about two gay Los Angeles dads longing for children and a young woman who decides to be their surrogate.
Even though The New Normal only premiers on the NBC network in the US next month, it has already generated considerable controversy due to its gay characters and storyline.
Last month, the conservative lobby group One Million Moms called for the comedy’s boycott, claiming that it will be “harmful to our society” and “damaging to our culture”.
It said that “NBC is using public airwaves to continue to subject families to the decay of morals and values, and the sanctity of marriage in attempting to redefine marriage”.
Now, Salt Lake City-based local NBC partner station KSL-TV has announced that it will not broadcast the show.
“After viewing the pilot episode of The New Normal, we have made the decision to keep it off our fall schedule,” said Jeff Simpson, CEO of Bonneville International, the company behind the channel, which is in turn owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In a statement to Deseret News he said that the show contains crude dialogue, explicit content and offensive characterisations.
“For our brand, this program simply feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time,” he said.
Actress Ellen Barkin, who stars in the sitcom as the surrogate’s homophobic grandmother, took to twitter to express her feelings about the station’s move.
“Anyone in Utah interested in @NBCTheNewNormal please clog up @ksl5tv feed 4 their blatantly homophic decision 2 not air the show #KSLBigots,” she tweeted.
She went on to say: “Shame on u ‪@kslcom‬ not airing ‪@NBCTheNewNormal‬ So L&O SVU (rape & child murder) is ok? But loving gay couple having a baby is inappropriate?”
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also slammed KSL-TV for its decision. “KSL is demonstrating how deeply out of touch it is with the rest of the country,” commented GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.
“We invite Jeff Simpson to sit down with GLAAD and local LGBT families. We know that if he would, he would see that not only are our families normal, but by citing ‘crude and rude’ content and refusing to affirm LGBT families, KSL and Mr. Simpson are sending a dangerous message to Utah. They should make that right,” he said.
The New Normal was created by the openly gay producer Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler, the same team behind Glee and American Horror Story