Last week, the Batesville Daily Guard used its platform to insult and attack a local gay man – only days after they had erased mention of him in his late partner’s obituary.
A spokesman for the Guard had originally told GLAAD they planned to apologize to Terrance James, the man whom it had edited out of his partner’s obituary, and to revisit their policies around excluding mention of surviving partners in obituaries. Instead, the paper printed a full page attack against Mr. James, insulting him by issuing a highly offensive tirade against him.
We wrote about the Guard’s decision to exclude the name of Terrance James in the obituary of his partner of ten years. Instead of taking positive proactive steps, the paper completely hardened on their discriminatory stance, insisting that excluding a surviving partner of ten years is justifiable. At GLAAD, we completely disagree. Excluding a grieving partner from recognition is cruel and insensitive. It’s wrong.
The Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR) has been on this issue since day one and has instituted a ground campaign of outreach to the paper to encourage changing the policy.
Instead of using this as an opportunity to open up a dialogue, the paper responded with personal attacks against the man they had already removed from his partner’s obituary. In Friday’s paper, the page following the HRC ad contained an editorial that concluded, “The Guard does not owe Mr. James a free obituary or an apology.” They printed a long insult to Terrance, insinuating that he’s a liar with an “AGENDA” (their scare-bolding and capitalization) in that announcement.
The Batesville Guard has gone from insensitive to downright mean-spirited and repugnant.
Please join us, HRC and CAR in calling on the Guard to correct its policy and to use its pages to make things right – not to make things worse.
Please contact the Guard and let them know that the paper does in fact owe Mr. James an apology, and should re-run the obituary, including recognition of the surviving partner.
See http://glaad.org/telltheguard for more information.
- Publisher, Batesville Daily Guard
- Attorney, Batesville Daily Guard
- Managing Editor, Batesville Daily Guard
Throughout the country, people are seeing that their gay and lesbian neighbors are everyday folk – working hard to make a living, contributing to their community, and taking care of their families. When someone loses a family member, like Terrance James did, the mourning and pain can be unbearable.
When Mr. James lost his long-time partner, he did the same thing anyone else in Batesville would do if he or she lost their loved one: listed his name as the surviving partner in the obituary.
Not only did your paper edit out Mr. James’ name, but they added insult to injury and took to the paper to attack Mr. James’ integrity.
When someone is mourning the loss of the most important person in his life, it only adds to the immense pain and sense of loss to have a newspaper edit away your very existence – to erase you, as though the last ten years of love, struggle, hardships and commitment simply never existed.
And rather than recognizing the hurt that this incident caused to supporters of Mr. James and engaging in a dialogue with those calling for a policy change, you chose to stubbornly add insult to injury by defaming Terrance in an editorial.
Your newspaper’s actions were hurtful, completely disrespectful, and mean-spirited. It is time you apologize, and implement steps to ensure this never happens again.
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