News Channel 5 issues statement on Gay Pride logo branding, denies removed due to controversy

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News Channel 5 says an employee posted, then removed, Gay Pride logo because “it had not gone through our usual process of discussion and approval”.. & “was in no way meant to indicate a lack of support for the LGBTQ community, either from the station or the employee involved”

After much controversy over their decision to initially support Gay Pride month by changing their social media branding to include a rainbow version of their logo, and then delete and remove it from social media after hundreds of hateful comments and threats, local CBS affiliate News Channel 5 has issued the following statement after we learned that News Director Sandy Boonstra directed Digital Director Catlin Bogard to remove the gay pride logo from their social media, without consulting anyone else in her decision, and informed the station we were prepared to publish on this, after multiple employees confirmed the events.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the station says :

NewsChannel 5 is committed to equitable, diverse, and inclusive news coverage that reflects the Nashville and Middle Tennessee community. Recently, one of our employees briefly posted an image related to Pride Month. The same employee made a decision to remove that image because it had not gone through our usual process of discussion and approval. Reaction to the image was consistent with responses we have received from other posts related to LGBTQ issues. The removal of the image was in no way meant to indicate a lack of support for the LGBTQ community, either from the station or the employee involved. In fact, on the very day the image was briefly posted, NewsChannel 5 provided other social media posts and on-air reporting related to LGBTQ issues and Pride Month in particular. Like the image that was posted and removed, our other posts related to LGBTQ issues were met with negative comments from some viewers. 

The station and its leadership have a long history of service to many diverse groups, including the LGBTQ community. In 2005, we became the first broadcast TV station in the country to launch a regular program focused on LGBTQ issues, weathering significant pressure from some viewers and advertisers.  That program, Out & About Today, has been on the air now for 14 years. The station is committed to diversity in hiring and has a written inclusivity policy with a specific focus on LGBTQ. Members of our Diversity Team represent different races, departments, genders and sexual orientations. That team schedules Lunch and Learn sessions on important topics, including gay and lesbian rights and transgender issues.  We have built a learning environment with a diverse staff, including those in the LGBTQ community, so that we can cover stories fairly and without bias.    

News Channel 5 did not indicate if they would be returning to their rainbow logo for the month of Gay Pride.

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