GLAAD attacks National Geographic for new Boy Scouts reality show over anti-gay policy

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The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has criticised a television station for commissioning a new reality series based around the Boy Scouts of America, as the BSA has an anti-gay policy.

The National Geographic show, from the makers of The Deadliest Catch, is called Are you Tougher Than a Boy Scout, and is set to premier on the channel later this year, reports the LA Times.

GLAAD has been involved in the battle with the BSA, and in July 2012, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

National Geographic issued a statement last week saying that it appreciated “all points of view on the topic, but when people see our show they will realize it has nothing to do with this debate, and is in fact a competition series between individual scouts and civilians.”

The President of GLAAD, Herndon Graddick responded in a statement: “That National Geographic would brush aside countless gay teens suffering at the hands of the BSA, shrugging off injustice as just another ‘point of view,’ is irresponsible.

“By airing this program, National Geographic is providing support and publicity to an organization that harms young people simply because of who they are.”

A new petition with 70,000 signatures has urged Verizon, a US communications company, to cease the funding because of the BSA policy.

The Boy Scouts have already lost funding from several large corporate donors, including UPS, back in November, who had given over $150,000 (£95,000), Intel, another of the scouts’ largest donors, ceased funding back in September, and the Merck Foundation in December. 

Two weeks ago, gay teenager Ryan Andresen received his final decision to say that he had been denied the highest Boy Scouts honour, the Eagle Scout badge.

Last week, a synagogue in California became the latest in a list of religious groups to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s policy, described as “damaging”.

A father of two from Brooklyn, New York, recently started his own Boy Scouts troop, inclusive of gay members, and girls, to allow his son to be a member without having to accept the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.