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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Outcry Continues at TV Debut of 'Dr. Laura'

September 12, 2000

HOLLYWOOD — Dr. Laura didn't talk about them on the premiere of her daytime TV show Monday. But gay activists trying to get her kicked off the air had plenty to say about her.

Fifty protesters rallying outside Paramount Studios repeated complaints that radio "doctor" Laura Schlessinger's professional credentials are phony--and so is her advice about homosexuals needing therapy to overcome their "deviant" behavior.

"This is what happens when you put someone with a Ph.D. in physiology on the air and let her pretend she's a real doctor," said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a UCLA clinical psychiatrist. "Her show is a prescription for disaster and must be stopped."

Corey Johnson, 18, a former high school football team captain from Massachusetts who gained national recognition by disclosing that he is gay, stood outside the studio gate with a sign, "Paramount Why Do You Hate Me?"

"Kids are being hurt by her. She's inciting violence by her words," Johnson said.

In her first syndicated TV show, , the subject of gays wasn't broached. Schlessinger and her guests discussed teenagers and drugs.

"We will let the television show speak for itself and hope the viewers will find it informative and entertaining," said Keven Bellows, a spokeswoman for Schlessinger.

Paramount Pictures' Television Group, which is distributing the show, said it is "committed to presenting society's moral and ethical issues without creating or contributing to an environment of hurt, hate or intolerance."

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