Television producer sues, alleging censorship of program
COLORADO — More than a year after it was produced, Denver Community Television in November broadcast a gay and lesbian talk show program that is the subject of a civil rights suit.
Television producer Anthony Palange filed suit in the Denver District Court against the city of Denver and Denver Community Television (DCTV) in August for censoring “G/L Magazine,” his gay and lesbian talk show. Palange claims that DCTV violated his constitutional rights and breached its contractual obligations when it refused to air the program.
Palange, under contract to produce 20 “G/L Magazine” shows, submitted program number 9 to DCTV for cablecast in October 1992. This particular program opened with a clip from Palange’s theatrical production “Jungle Fantasy” that featured a sexually suggestive, but not explicit scene in a gay bar. The production had previously been aired in its entirety. Under the contract, DCTV had two weeks to review a submitted program and inform him of whether or not it would be aired. Almost two months later DCTV told Palange they needed to review the program for obscenity.
After Palange submitted “G/L Magazine” program number 10, DCTV moved the program slot to after midnight and placed a label on all subsequent episodes warning the viewer of “adult themes and language” without his consent.
According to Marjorie Hines of the Arts Censorship Project, DCTV aired “G/L Magazine No. 9” on the Denver public access channel in early November in response to the complaint. In addition to the imposed warning label, viewers were asked to call in vote on whether they thought the program was in fact obscene; however, DCTV did not define for the public what obscenity means under law.
Palange is suing for damages and an injunction to require DCTV to air the censored episodes of “G/L Magazine” in their entirety, at its regular time and without viewer warnings.
(Palange v. Denver Community Television, Inc.; Media Counsel: David Miller, Denver; Marjorie Hines, New York)