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During the December 11 edition of his Focus on the Family broadcast, FOF founder and chairman James Dobson hosted syndicated conservative radio host Michael Medved to discuss the film Happy Feet (Warner Bros., November 2006), an animated feature about penguins living in Antarctica during a period of environmental upheaval. Medved claimed that the film contains a "subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality," prompting Dobson to wonder whether the filmmakers are "getting at the idea that homosexuality is genetic."
As Media Matters for America has noted, in a November 17 entry, titled "Don't Be Misled By Crappy Feet," on his Townhall.com weblog, Medved called the animated movie, "the darkest, most disturbing feature length animated film ever offered by a major studio." He further alleged that the film contains "a bizarre anti-religious bias" and "a subtext that appears to plead for endorsement of gay identity." Medved also attacked Happy Feet in a November 29 op-ed in USA Today for its purported "pro-environmental" propaganda, as Media Matters also documented.
During the December 11 Focus on the Family broadcast, Medved repeated his warning of Happy Feet's purported pro-gay propaganda:
DOBSON: There is a movie that's out now, called Happy Feet. It's about penguins. It's obviously designed to pull children in and yet, you don't like it. I've read some of the things you've said about it. I haven't seen it and don't plan to see it but from what I've heard, I don't like it either. Explain why.
MEDVED: Because it's depressing and it's dark.
MEDVED: And then there's this whole subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality. Not that the penguins are gay -- they're not gay -- but the one penguin hero doesn't fit in and the religious authorities -- the so-called religious right in the penguin world -- are very judgmental. They say, "You are not a penguin. You're not a real penguin." And then he makes this heartfelt plea, he says, "Dad, you have to accept me as I am. I can't change." And --
DOBSON: Are they getting at the idea that homosexuality is genetic? Is that what the subtle implication is?
MEDVED: Well, how many times do we hear that in the media? That it's not a matter of choice, it's not a matter of change, and my problem with that -- as I understand, that there are some people, who -- for whom that may be true, but they're other people -- and you and I know them -- who have changed their lives and have turned around their lives.