American Atheists Protests Emmy Awards Censorship
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2007
CONTACT: American Atheists
Ellen Johnson, President (908) 276-7300
Dave Silverman, Communications Director (732) 648-9333
Atheist Group Protests Emmy Awards Censorship
Emmy Awards Cave To Religion Police -- Public Deserves To Hear Full Text
of Griffin Monologue
CALIFORNIA - September 12 -An Atheist civil rights group is calling for a boycott of the Emmy
Awards if officials censor remarks by comedienne Kathy Griffin making
light of stars who "thank Jesus" for their good fortune.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for broadcast on the E! Channel on
Saturday night. Ms. Griffin won a creative arts Emmy last weekend for
her hit program "My Life on the D-List." She remarked that "a lot of
people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know
that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus... This award is
my god now."
The Roman Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights complained
however, and League president William Donohue blasted Ms. Griffin's
remarks as "vulgar, in-your-face-brand of hate speech." The group
called upon the TV academy to "denounce Griffin's obscene and
blasphemous comment" as well. A statement released by the Academy of
Television Arts& Sciences (which oversees the Emmy awards) concurred,
saying that the "offensive" portions of Ms. Griffin's comments would be
cut from Saturday's broadcast.
Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists said that the League and
the Academy were censoring speech by Atheists. Ms. Griffin has, in fact,
described herself as a "militant Atheist."
"It's permissible to make religious comments at the Emmy Awards and
other public events as long as they do not criticize or threaten the
self-appointed 'Religion Police," said Johnson. "Celebrities can go on
national television to 'thank' Jesus, or Allah, or Scientology for their
success, but an Atheist cannot make an honest and forthright statement
that their success came from developing their talents and working hard."
"Now we're going to be scrutinizing stage routines by comics for
'blasphemy'?" asked Johnson? "This is something I'd expect in a nation
like Saudi Arabia or Taliban-controlled Afghanistan."
Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists, said that
the decision by the Academy to "cave in" to threats was wrong. "Say
what you want about God and Jesus, as long as it's positive and
thankful. But disavow Jesus, even in a joke, and you might as well be
swearing, and you'll get bleeped."
"Theistic speech is welcome at the Emmy Awards, but the least bit of
levity and humor about religion is not."
Mr. Silverman added that American Atheists was urging its members, and
all others concerned about censorship in the media, to contact the
Awards to protest the decision to censor Ms. Griffin's comment.
AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for
Atheists; works for the total separation of church and state; and
addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.