Residents of Columbus, Ohio launched a social media campaign this morning after WNCI Morning Zoo host Jimmy Jam allegedly announced his intention to "change" any "hot lesbians" willing to go on a date with him.
"Columbus has a very strong LGBT population, so in a city like this, it's very offensive," said Elizabeth Lessner, a local restauranteur who helped circulate the news on Facebook and Twitter — now, she says, it's "blowing up" online — adding that the popular show is syndicated across the country via Clear Channel. "It gets aired everywhere," she said. "That's why it's so dangerous."
Michael McCoy, operations manager of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-Columbus, told us via email that the bit was not a contest and was meant to be "instructional and educational":
"How many times have you watched a TV show or a movie that started with a theme or action you might have found objectionable, then end with a lesson for all of us. Nobody on the show thinks that Jimmy can "turn" a lesbian straight. What will end up happening is that Jimmy will be embarrassed by his efforts and the lesson that will be forwarded through the story is exactly what you think it would be: you can't change who a person is and that you need to accept them as they are. The idea was from a news story that is all over the place today. [See here.] The joke in this bit is not on the lesbian or the GBLT community, it's on Jimmy."
But Lessner said Jam has a history of being sexist and homophobic and that the bit clearly came off as a competition, not satire. "He clearly said something like, 'let Jimmy turn you straight by going on a date,' and said you had to be a 'hot lesbian' to participate," she said.
McCoy said the spot wasn't available online because "the conclusion/continuation of the narrative is tomorrow" but that he'd see if they'd put it up sooner to clear up any confusion about Jam's intent.