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US Group Launches StopDrLaura.com Web Site and Coalition
Battle Against 'Dr. Laura' and Paramount Goes Online
ONLINE:  WEDNESDAY MARCH 1, 9:06 AM EST (GMT-5).

Editor's Note:  The site was launched yesterday (Feb. 29) and as of 3:00 PM EST today it had received 125,000 hits.

A group of veteran gay activists, public relations executives and media professionals have teamed up to create "StopDrLaura.com."  As both a Web site and a same-named coalition, the group hopes to prevent Paramount from offering the "Dr. Laura" show this fall.

"Laura Schlessinger has called gays and lesbians 'biological errors,' 'deviant' and much worse," said Alan Klein, a New York-based public relations consultant and spokesman for StopDrLaura.com.  "We're not about to let her spew her defamatory pseudo-science on national television."  Schlessinger's now-infamous "biological error" quote dramatically opens the StopDrLaura.com site, with an introduction using state-of-the art Flash technology.

In recent weeks, the flap over the controversial talk show host has escalated sharply.  Two weeks ago, the US Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) pleaded with Paramount to control Schlessinger's on-air rhetoric.  And just last week, another gay group, the San-Francisco-based Horizons Foundation, launched a nationwide ad campaign to educate the public about the danger Schlessinger's anti-gay rhetoric poses to children.

When Jimmy-The-Greek stereotyped blacks, he got fired.  But Dr. Laura calls gays 'biological mistakes,' and she's getting a TV show from Paramount.
-John Aravosis
 
 
Now, StopDrLaura.com takes the battle online.  The ad hoc coalition began several weeks ago with the issuance of a simple email appeal.  Titled "Stop Dr. Laura," the email encouraged netizens to contact Paramount, which has poured considerable resources into offering "Dr. Laura" on television this September.

"When Jimmy-The-Greek stereotyped blacks, he got fired," the email begins, "But Dr. Laura calls gays 'biological mistakes,' and she's getting a TV show from Paramount."

"The email alert really woke people up to Paramount's double standard," said the email's author, John Aravosis, a Washington-based Internet expert who is in charge of the coalition's online strategy.  "Had Dr. Laura called blacks biological errors, Paramount would never have given her a show.  But since her target is gays somehow that's ok. Well, it's not okay."

The original email has found its way far and wide, Aravosis says.  "I was at a lawyers' conference in New York recently and 3/4 of the audience had received a copy, some of them up to 10 times," he noted.

It is outrageous that Paramount chooses to be in business with a woman who is literally dangerous.
-David Lee, executive producer of Frasier
 
 
With the new site, StopDrLaura.com hopes to expand its e-grassroots effort.  In addition to encouraging people to contact Paramount, StopDrLaura.com features photos and virtual testimonials from a cross-section of Americans offended by Schlessinger's statements.  Titled "Our Feelings on Being Biological Errors," the testimonials literally place a face on the targets-to-be of Paramount's upcoming show.

One such testimonial, by Emmy Award-winning producer David Lee, is already raising eyebrows.  "It is outrageous that Paramount chooses to be in business with a woman who is literally dangerous," Lee is quoted as saying on the Web site.  Lee is executive producer of "Frasier," a Paramount show.

"You would never promote someone who said the hateful things about other minorities that Schlessinger has said about gays," wrote Lou, a retiree in Kentucky in a second testimonial.  "Why the double standard?"

The site also offers an index of Schlessinger's anti-gay rhetoric, a section called "Paramount's Big Deal," and several options for taking action and staying informed.

"This site will grow, as will this controversy for Paramount," Klein said.  "We will unveil celebrity additions to the testimonials, disclose insider information on 'Paramount's Big Deal,' and use the site to mobilize offline actions over the coming months."  In addition to the website, the group has raised funds for advertisements in Variety magazine.

In addition to Klein and Aravosis, the StopDrLaura.com coalition includes:  William Waybourn, a gay civil rights leader; Robin Tyler, veteran activist and Los Angeles-based producer; Joel Lawson, a Washington-based public relations consultant; and, Scott Robbe, a producer and director of TV and film.

StopDrLaura.com was designed and built by BlueMaggie.com.  All of the above have donated their time pro-bono.