Schlessinger used Monday’s Yom Kippur holiday — the Jewish Day of Atonement — as a chance to take back some of her harsher statements about gays.
“On the Day of Atonement, Jews are commanded to seek forgiveness from people we have hurt,” Schlessinger, who is Jewish, wrote. “I deeply regret the hurt this situation has caused the gay and lesbian community.”
The ad appeared in a special “Gay Hollywood” edition of the trade paper Daily Variety.
But for Joan Garry, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Schlessinger’s “heartfelt message” — as the ad was titled — is too little, too late.
“The anger Schlessinger’s words have caused is too great and too profound to simply go away after a qualified admission of some guilt,” Garry said in a statement.
Schlessinger has been widely criticized by gay rights groups for calling homosexuals “deviant” and “biological errors” on her radio program, which is syndicated to more than 450 radio stations nationwide.
The controversy spilled over to Schlessinger’s “Dr. Laura” television program, which debuted in September. Gay rights activists protested outside the Paramount Studios where the show was being taped, with similar protests cropping up across the country.
Such demonstrations have reportedly hit both Schlessinger’s call-in radio advice program and her televised talk show in the pocketbook, with advertisers canceling spots to avoid being associated with the controversy. Gay rights groups also tried to keep Schlessinger’s TV program off the air, alleging “Dr. Laura” promotes intolerance.
Executives at Paramount Television Group, which syndicates Schlessinger’s TV show, said in a statement last month they are committed to free speech and that “Dr. Laura” does not propagate hate.
“With the production of Dr. Laura’s television show, and all of Paramount’s current programming, we are committed to presenting society’s moral and ethical issues without creating or contributing to an environment of hurt, hate or intolerance,” the statement said.