William Donohue | Media Matters for America

William Donohue

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  • As Art Exhibit Moves To Brooklyn, Right-Wing Activists Renew Their Anti-Gay Outrage Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    Last year, the right-wing Media Research Center launched an attack on an art exhibit on gay self-portraiture at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, with particular focus on one item: a video by artist David Wojnarowicz that includes a few seconds of an image of ants crawling over a crucifix. The Catholic League, for which MRC chief Brent Bozell serves as an adviser, soon joined the pile-on. The Smithsonian ultimately succumbed to the right-wing pressure and removed the video from the exhibit.

    Now, the "Hide/Seek" exhibit has moved to a new venue, the Brooklyn Museum. And the manufactured outrage has begun anew.

    Catholic League president Bill Donohue initially said he wouldn't he wouldn't fight the exhibit and the Wojnarowicz video, telling the New York Daily News, "We can't be like in a dog and pony show every time they show the stupid video." Donohue apparently changed his mind, issuing a press release on the exhibit the same day the Daily News published his remarks. In the release, Donohue attacked the museum for hosting the exhibit and declared that Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992, "died of self-inflicted wounds":

    The fact is that the artist who made the vile video died of self-inflicted wounds: he died of AIDS. The homosexual, David Wojnarowicz, hated the Catholic Church (had he lived by its teachings, he would not have self-destructed). He once referred to Cardinal John O'Connor as a "fat cannibal," and labeled the Catholic Church a "house of walking swastikas." Sounds like the words of a bigot.

    Meanwhile, the MRC's Penny Starr, reporter for its "news" division, CNSNews.com, was back on the case as well. In a November 15 CNS article, Starr highlighted Catholic criticism of the Wojnarowicz video "depicting Jesus Christ on a cross with ants crawling over him," described the "Hide/Seek" exhibition as "gay erotic" without attribution, and put "art" in scare quotes when describing previous Brooklyn Museum exhibitions.

    Missing from Starr's report was any mention of the artist's intent regarding the 11-second shot of the ants on the crucifix. As The Washington Post reported in December:

    Ants, for Wojnarowicz, were a mysterious stand-in for humanity and part of a lifelong fascination with the natural world that his friend, artist Kiki Smith, recalls was part of a charmingly boyish rapture with creepy, crawling things. When asked what he thought of God, he responded by wondering rhetorically "why ants aren't the things that destroy the world instead of people." There is a host of theological possibility in that thought: Is God as indifferent to humans as humans are to ants? Should we love the small things of the planet as we hope to be loved by God?

    But who needs nuance or comprehensive reporting when there's anti-gay outrage to manufacture?

  • Anti-gay bigotry isn't off-limits on Fox either

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    Fox & Friends this morning provided further evidence of their willingness to tolerate any kind of hateful, bigoted rhetoric, as long as it advances their agenda. Today's example: Catholic League President Bill Donohue who appeared on the program to whine about perceived anti-Catholic prejudice in the New York Times. Donohue cited past artistic reviews, and a picture of the musical Divine Sister to support his claim.

    If it had just ended with a well-known guest complaining about a so-called "liberal," anti-Christian "bias" in the media, this segment would be no different from Fox & Friends' normal campaign against any media outlet that isn't a political arm of the GOP. But, Donohue went further, using his appearance on a major news program to spew anti-gay bigotry. Donohue claimed that "if everybody practiced what the Catholic Church teaches in terms of sexuality, you wouldn't even have people dying of AIDS," and, after pointing out that the Catholic Church spends money "servicing people dying of AIDS," complained "and yet we continue to get it by these gay bigots."

    Donohue went on to claim that the Times "hate[s] the Catholic church's teachings on sexuality," presumably because "it's a gay-friendly newspaper." Here is the interview, posted in its entirety just so you don't miss any of Donohue's vitriol:

  • WaPo gives coalition of bigots a platform to claim to oppose bigotry

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    On Faith, the Washington Post religion web site edited by Sally Quinn and Newsweek's Jon Meacham, currently features guest post by Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, writing on behalf of something calling itself "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry." Bozell and his ostensibly-anti-bigotry buddies are upset about some animated show Comedy Central may or may not produce and may or may not air.

    What's striking about the Post's decision to grant Bozell and "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry" this forum is not the substance of their criticism of Comedy Central, but the fact that the coalition is made up of some of the most irredeemable bigots you'll ever encounter.

    Take, for example, Catholic League president Bill Donohue. Donohue is a rabid anti-gay bigot with a long history of highly questionable commentary about religions he does not practice. He has said, for example, that "[p]eople don't trust the Muslims when it comes to liberty" and that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular." Donohue has also demonstrated selective outrage when it comes to the religious bigotry of others, defending conservative writer Jerome Corsi's attacks on the Catholic Church and conservative actor Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic rants. (Donohue has previously been granted a guest post at On Faith.)

    Or Tony Perkins, another anti-gay bigot who is a member of the "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry." Perkins has said "the soil of the Islamic faith just does not work with democracy" and has spoken to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a hate group that "oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind … and to force the integration of the races."

    Or Michael Medved, another member of the "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry." Medved has said that "Islam, as a faith" has "a special violence problem." (Medved also seems to have more problems with gay people than you might expect from a member of an anti-bigotry coalition.)

    Tim Wildmon, another member of Bozell's band of self-described opponents of bigotry, has praised a far-right author who has advocated the execution of gays, adulterers, and doctors who perform abortions.

    Another coalition member, James Dobson, warns of the "Muslim threat," has defended attacks on the Catholic Church by an associate and -- surprise! -- doesn't much like gay people.

    I'm sure there are plenty more examples, but you get the point: Bozell's "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry" is made up of some of the most notable bigots in American public life. And yet Sally Quinn and the Washington Post allowed them to portray themselves as opponents of bigotry, without any indication of their own enthusiastic bigotry towards a wide range of people.

  • Expert: Donohue's claim that most abusive priests are gay is "unwarranted"

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    One of the researchers responsible for a landmark statistical study of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church says that Catholic League president William Donohue "drew an unwarranted conclusion" from her work when he claimed that "most" of the clergy who committed the abuse have been "gay."

    In a March 30 ad published in The New York Times, Donohue described the sex abuse scandal as a "homosexual crisis." Donohue added: "Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay."

    During a March 31 appearance on CNN, Donohue elaborated on his claim, specifically citing a 2004 study produced by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which found that 81 percent of the alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests were male. During the CNN segment, Donohue repeated his assertion that "most of the molesters have been gay."

    But in an interview with Media Matters, Margaret Smith -- a John Jay College criminologist who worked on the 2004 study -- said that while Donohue "quoted the study's data correctly," he "drew an unwarranted conclusion" in asserting that most of the abusers were gay.

  • What, exactly, does Bill Donohue add to the "conversation"?

    Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

    One of the astounding characteristics of the mainstream press is its dogged willingness to accept with open arms some of the most incendiary and hateful elements of modern-day conservatism. Ann Coulter appears on NBC with stunning regularity, Howard Kurtz wrote a drippy mash note to Michelle Malkin, Time pristinely whitewashed Glenn Beck's colorful record of shocking and false rhetoric -- you get the idea. Yesterday, The Washington Post's On Faith blog featured a guest post from Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, on "America's secular saboteurs." On Faith markets itself as "A Conversation on Religion and Politics with Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn," so let's see what Donohue brought to the conversation:

    There are many ways cultural nihilists are busy trying to sabotage America these days: multiculturalism is used as a club to beat down Western civilization in the classroom; sexual libertines seek to upend the cultural order by attacking religion; artists use their artistic freedoms to mock Christianity; Hollywood relentlessly insults people of faith; activist left-wing legal groups try to scrub society free of the public expression of religion; elements in the Democratic party demonstrate an animus against Catholicism; and secular-minded malcontents within Catholicism and Protestantism seek to sabotage their religion from the inside.

    Yesterday's radicals wanted to tear down the economic structure of capitalism and replace it with socialism, and eventually communism. Today's radicals are intellectually spent: they want to annihilate American culture, having absolutely nothing to put in its place. In that regard, these moral anarchists are an even bigger menace than the Marxists who came before them.


    Sexual libertines, from the Marquis de Sade to radical gay activists, have sought to pervert society by acting out on their own perversions. What motivates them most of all is a pathological hatred of Christianity. They know, deep down, that what they are doing is wrong, and they shudder at the dreaded words, "Thou Shalt Not." But they continue with their death-style anyway.


    The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State harbor an agenda to smash the last vestiges of Christianity in America. Lying about their real motives, they say their fidelity is to the Constitution. But there is nothing in the Constitution that sanctions the censorship of religious speech. From banning nativity scenes to punishing little kids for painting a picture of Jesus, the zealots give Fidel a good run for his money.

    Catholics were once the mainstay of the Democratic Party; now the gay activists are in charge. Indeed, practicing Catholics are no longer welcome in leadership roles in the Party: the contempt that pro-life Catholics experience is palpable. The fact that Catholics for Choice, a notoriously anti-Catholic front group funded by the Ford Foundation, has a close relationship with the Democrats says it all.


    The culture war is up for grabs. The good news is that religious conservatives continue to breed like rabbits, while secular saboteurs have shut down: they're too busy walking their dogs, going to bathhouses and aborting their kids. Time, it seems, is on the side of the angels.

    OK, so let's run it down -- the nameless and faceless "secular saboteurs" are worse than Marxists; "gay activists" are perverts practicing a "death-style;" the ACLU is just like Fidel Castro; Democrats don't put Catholics in "leadership roles" (except for the vice president, the Speaker of the House, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the chairman of the DNC, and just about every Kennedy); and all these Catholicism-hating gay Marxist perverts are aborting themselves into oblivion while "walking their dogs" (which, unless it's a euphemism for something else, doesn't strike me as particularly sinful).

    Aside from being false, offensive, and generally unhinged, it's also unoriginal -- Donohue says stuff like this all the time. Donohue makes his living crudely attacking homosexuals and anyone who isn't Catholic.

    So, Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn, would you care to explain what exactly Bill Donohue's presence added to your "conversation"?

  • NY Times' standards for Catholic League's Donohue: Three articles for criticism of Edwards, two paragraphs for criticism of McCain

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    The New York Times has devoted only two paragraphs and 102 words thus far to Catholic League president Bill Donohue's criticism of Sen. John McCain for his failure to repudiate the support of evangelist John Hagee, who has made statements Donohue considers anti-Catholic, and McCain's ensuing response. By comparison, the Times published three separate articles on Donohue's criticism of former Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign for hiring two bloggers who Donohue contended were "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots," and the Edwards campaign's subsequent reaction.