Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Bigots And Heath Ledger

By Cernig

Rupert Murdoch's News International gets a little schizo whenever it plays to different sensibilities on both sides of the Atlantic. It's very different stances on the war in Iraq (US- good, UK - bad) show this to good effect. But so does its playing to its customer base when it comes to gay issues.

Exhibit A, John Gibson of FOX radio and cable TV in the US:
comments made by Fox host John Gibson on his radio show, soon after the death of actor Heath Ledger, that appeared to hint that the actor was gay.

Gibson used the occasion of the 28-year-old actor's death to crack jokes about the actor and play clips from his most notable film, Brokeback Mountain. The remarks from the radio host seemed to make insinuations about the actor's sexuality.

"Maybe he was a weirdo, I'm thinking about it right now," Gibson said on his show.

Gibson also played a memorable line from Ledger's most notable film, Brokeback Mountain, and said, "Well, he found out how to quit you.

"Heath Ledger died, and I'm sure people will be upset," Gibson continued. "All you "Brokeback Mountain" fans who want to give Christine a call, she'll be happy to talk to you."
Exhibit B, Sky News, the UK's version of FOX, reporting on plans by Westboro Baptist Church to show up at memporial services for Ledger in the US:
A controversial church described as a "hate group" has said it will protest at Heath Ledger's memorial service because he played a gay character in Brokeback Mountain.

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church - which has previously said they wished a million people had been killed in the London terror attacks in 2005 - issued a statement saying the Australian actor was "now in hell".

"WBC will picket this pervert's funeral, in religious protest," the group said.

"God hates the sordid, tacky bucket of slime seasoned with vomit known as Brokeback Mountain and He hates all persons having anything whatsoever to do with it.

"Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begun serving his eternal sentence there."

...The Westboro Baptist Church has been classified as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors extremist activity.

It is the same church which Sky News investigated in 2005.

They revealed to Sky's US correspondent Robert Nisbet their views on the London July,7, 2005 attacks.
Clearly, they know their demographic - and in the US at least it's a very prejudiced one. But one wonders whether the homophobes on the Right will manage to condemn Phelps' nutters as they should or whether in this case they will look the other way, tacitly agreeing with a man who has said similiar things about killed US servicemen.

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