By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
DETROIT – On April 20, the Michigan Citizen reported that Darrell Dawsey was fired as host of WTVS Channel 56’s “American Black Journal.”
According to the article, Dawsey claims he was fired for his progressive views subsequent to a difficult interview with anti-gay minister and candidate for U.S. Senate, Rev. Keith Butler.
The Michigan Citizen article quotes Dawsey as saying that he had grilled Butler, who reportedly had not wanted to do the interview, on his reasons for supporting George W. Bush and bans on equal marriage rights instead of issues that are of more urgency to the black community.
In a followup report by the Washington Blade, Jeff Forster, WTVS’s vice president for production, claimed Dawsey was fired because, “We disagreed on the direction of the show. … We certainly support gay rights at Detroit Public Television.”
However, according to the Michigan Citizen’s report, anti-gay radio personality Mildred Gaddis is one of the guest hosts that have filled Dawsey’s shoes since the firing. As reported in the April 14 issue of Between The Lines, Gaddis has drawn ire from Detroit’s black LGBT community for her anti-gay stances after having been a keynote speaker at Hotter Than July in 1997. (See “Anti-gay radio host to receive NAACP ‘Freedom and Justice’ award” at https://www.pridesource.com)
Forster told BTL that Gaddis’ appearance was not evidence of an anti-gay swing by his network.
“We have a lot of people and a lot of positions, on more than just this program, that espouse all sorts of different views, and we hope we will get a balance in the long run,” he said. “We’re going to be getting a lot of guest hosts. We try for a balance, and that’s, I think, the best that anyone can do,” he said.
Calls to Dawsey were not returned by press time.