A Boston radio show offering advice to young people has disassociated itself from Exodus International after complaints that it was promoting the ex-gay message.
Twenty-two-year-old activist Greg Kimball posed as a 16-year-old to phone HopeLine, a youth advice line run by Dawson McAllister Live, a Christian show broadcast weekly on 160 radio stations across the US. Kimball told the representative that he was questioning his sexuality and thought he might be gay, and says he was told in return that his lack of a religious upbringing was to blame. He could be “cured,” however, by embracing God.
Now Towleroad reports that Clear Channel, the show’s producers, have cut ties to Exodus in response to the concerns:
We appreciate the efforts of all who shared their thoughts about recent reports concerning The Dawson McAllister Live program and the Hopeline call-in service administered by the Dawson McAllister Association. Feedback from our listeners and our communities is very important to us, and we welcome the opportunity to provide an update on developments regarding this matter.
Although Clear Channel, its Premiere Radio Networks and its radio stations are not involved in the operation of the Hopeline or the Association, we were concerned about how listener calls to the Hopeline that discussed sexuality were addressed and referrals callers were given to third parties. Clear Channel has a history of making significant commitments to diversity within our own company, and has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign for its policies regarding GLBT employees and business partners. After looking into this matter, we expressed to the producers of Dawson McAllister Live that Clear Channel listeners who call the Hopeline be treated in a manner consistent with our corporate commitments to diversity. As a result of those discussions, the Dawson McAllister Association has reviewed its training for Hopeline volunteers and will remove the Exodus organization from its referral system and remove links to Exodus from its website.
As a broadcaster, Clear Channel is committed to providing our listeners with access to a broad range of opinion and commentary, at that same time that we adhere to the highest standards as a responsible corporate citizen in our communities. We trust this clarifies our efforts to keep those principles in balance.
The Dawson McAllister website has removed its link to the Exodus website (cache here), though its ‘partners’ page reveals associations with other right-wing Christian organizations, including the anti-gay Focus on the Family.