FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Contact: John Becker, Director of Communications & Development
Truth Wins Out Calls on Networks to Reject Reality Show Featuring Anti-Gay Televangelist Joel Osteen
A Show With Homophobic Preacher is ‘Not TV’s Best,’ Says TWO
BURLINGTON, Vt – Truth Wins Out strongly urged all broadcast and cable networks today to pass on a proposed reality television show featuring televangelist Joel Osteen, who preaches at a Houston megachurch. Osteen has made a number of demeaning comments about LGBT people over the years and is most notorious for saying ”I don’t believe homosexuality is God’s best.”
“We strongly urge all television networks to act responsibly and soundly reject giving a platform to an anti-gay preacher like Joel Osteen,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “A show featuring someone who dehumanizes LGBT people is clearly not TV’s best.”
Mark Burnett, best known as the man behind Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, has already agreed to partner with Osteen as the show’s producer, and is currently pitching it to television networks.
“Many religious leaders have Osteen’s charisma, without the anti-gay rhetoric,” said John Becker, TWO’s Director of Communications and Development. “Instead of glamorizing and lionizing religion-based bigotry, the networks should offer a show to a more tolerant and inclusive preacher.”
Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria are co-pastors of Lakewood Church, which is the largest congregation in the nation. Each episode of their reality show would feature the Osteens and several hundred church members flying to different parts of the country on miniature mission trips. Don Iloff, an Osteen family spokesman, explained: “We do these projects without the cameras rolling. But Jesus said, ‘Let your light shine. Don’t hide it under a bushel.'”
“With his huge multimedia empire of bestselling books, podcasts, and televised religious services, Joel Osteen is hardly ‘hiding under a bushel,'” said TWO’s Becker. “Further amplification of his already booming voice would be a slap in the face to LGBT people and is completely unacceptable.”
Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to create a world where LGBT individuals can live openly, honestly and true to themselves. TWO fights anti-LGBT religious extremism, monitors anti-LGBT organizations, documents their lies and exposes their leaders. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.
– 30 –