Many LGBT organizations and businesses, now including the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, are calling attention to local CBS affiliate, WTVF News Channel 5, for removing their gay pride logo branding after backlash from viewers on social media. The LGBT Chamber says they are disappointed and ‘they need to stand strong and not back down.’
For less than an hour Monday, News Channel 5 had a version of their logo, surrounded by rainbows for gay pride month, posted on their social media. For those few minutes of the day, the station received nearly 1,000 comments on the image change, many of which were hateful and threats to the station – a lot from self-described ‘Christians’ that spoke out against the station showing support for gay pride. Many attributed this hour of backlash similar to what many experience as being gay in Tennessee. The station not only changed the logo back to the standard but also deleted the rainbow version completely from all platforms, also removing all of the comments with it.
Scoop: Nashville reached Emerald Zellers at the station for comment minutes after the removal, and after a substantial hold while it was discussed, was told the station would not be issuing any comment or statement at this time. We were not the only ones expecting a statement, so was the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, who gave them the entire evening to respond before releasing their own statement, which is below:
When businesses show their support for the LGBT community in the form of public “PRIDE” they need to be fully committed and ready for the backlash, then they need to stand strong and not back down.NASHVILLE LGBT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
We are disappointed with our friends at NewsChannel 5 Nashville for not taking these actions and we hope to work with them, and any other business, on best practices and policy to show their PRIDE, this month and all year long. We work with our members and business every day to do this, and so much more, for the continued struggle for equality. The backlash and comments in posts around this topic show we have much more work to do.
It should be noted that News Channel 5’s ‘NC5 Plus’ sub-channel is the only station in town that broadcasts local LGBT programming regularly, so this change was especially surprising to many in the community. News Channel 5 faced backlash from those against the change, causing them to change it, and then from those that supported the change when they recalled and deleted the pride version of their branding. We’re told from multiple sources at the station the newsdesk phones were unmanageable during most of the afternoon and evening from viewers making their voice heard by calling the newsdesk @ 615-248-5250, however, everyone was simply told the station was not commenting on this issue.
It’s not clear how station management will deal with this issue, if at all, as they have refused all requests for comment via phone and email. This is a developing story, and we will update as more information is available.