Supporters of U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint have contacted Charleston area TV stations urging them to pull the plug on an ad featuring a comment DeMint made about homosexuals teaching in public schools.
The Charleston-based Alliance for Full Acceptance said the stations have continued to air the 30-second piece, Executive Director Warren Redman-Gress said.
“We are really thankful the TV stations see the value in what we’re doing, and, in that first salvo, have stood by us,” he said.
The ad begins with a woman reading the news on a tablet and asks a hypothetical question: “What if you saw this headline? ‘Senator Jim DeMint: Jews Should Not Teach Public School,’ ” and then swaps the word “Gays” for “Jews” in the headline.
The ad refers to an actual headline from DeMint’s 2004 Senate campaign. During a televised debate at that time, he was asked then about a state GOP platform item saying gays should not teach in public schools and replied, “I don’t think they should,” adding that government should not endorse particular behaviors. “We need the folks that are teaching in schools to represent our values.”
Redman-Gress said the DeMint ad was one of three commercials that began airing on June 18 to raise public awareness of how widespread discriminatory attitudes are toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
The concern from DeMint’s camp centers on the possibility that the ad could be misconstrued and that it falsely portrays him as anti-Semitic.
But Charleston’s Jewish community has not raised such concerns. David Jaffee, president of Charleston’s Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim’s board, said he has not heard any talk of AFFA’s ad. “I don’t think it portrays him (DeMint) as anti-Semitic,” he added.
DeMint’s staff referred questions to his attorney Cleta Mitchell, who did not return messages Monday.
The Republican Jewish Coalition blasted the ad in a tweet, saying it did portray DeMint as anti-Semitic. “No cause can excuse such sleaziness,” the tweet said.
AFFA’s $30,000 ad campaign is set to end later this month, but Redman-Gress said the alliance is trying to raise more money to air the ads in other cities and again here later this fall.
The other two AFFA ads feature a Massachusetts student attacked for supporting gay rights and a controversial Michigan bullying bill that allows expression of religious or moral viewpoints.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.