Summary: Email claims that a man named Jim Neugent received a very rude response when he contacted US television network ABC to complain about an episode of "The Practice" which dealt with the possible gay marriage of two of the characters (Full commentary below).
Status: True - However, message is now very outdated
Example:(Submitted May 2009)
Subject: Jim Neugent response from ABC
I've never liked "The Practice" any way and it looks like I'll be careful of the shows I watch (if any) on ABC
FYI: The times, they are a changing... You decide if it is for the
A Coach In Childress , Texas
Writes To ABC Network
My name is Jim Neugent. I wrote to ABC (on-line) concerning a program
called 'THE PRACTICE.' In last nights episode, one of the lawyer's
mothers decided she is gay and wanted her son to go to court and help
her get a marriage license so she could marry her 'partner.' I sent
the following letter to ABC yesterday and really did not expect a
reply, but I did get one.
My original message was:
ABC is obsessed with the subject of homosexuality. I will no longer
watch any of your attempts to convince the world that homosexuality
is OK. ' THE PRACTICE' can be a fairly good show, but last night's
program was so typical of your agenda. You picked the 'dufus' of the
office to be the one who was against the idea of his mother being
gay, and made him look like a whiner because he had convictions.
This type of mentality calls people like me a 'gay basher.'
Read the first chapter of Romans (that's in the Bible); and see what
the apostle Paul had to say about it..... He, God and Jesus were all
'gay bashers'. What if she'd fallen in love with her cocker spaniel?
Is that an alternative life style? (By the way, the Bible speaks
against that, too.)
Here is ABC's reply from the ABC on-line webmaster:
How about getting your nose out of the Bible (which is ONLY a book of
stories compiled by MANY different writers hundreds of years ago) and
read the declaration of independence (what our nation is built on),
where it says 'All Men are Created equal,' and try treating them that
way for a change!
Or better yet, try thinking for yourself and stop using an archaic
book of stories as your lame crutch for your existence. You are in
the minority in this country, and your boycott will not affect us at
ABC or our freedom of statement.
Jim Neugent's second response to ABC:
Thanks for your reply. From your harsh reply, evidently I hit a
nerve. I will share it with all with whom I come in contact.
Hopefully, the Arkansas Democrat Newspaper will include it in one of
their columns and I will be praying for you.
Note: Wouldn't Satan just love it if people stopped using the Bible
for a crutch?
Please resend this to everyone in your mailbox.
I wonder if the person from ABC considered how many people would
eventually read this e-mail!
Please, if you are a Christian, pass this on to others so they may be
WE NEED TO SAVE WHAT WE HAVE LEFT OF THIS COUNTRY!
This long running protest message outlines an exchange between a man named Jim Neugent and American TV network ABC. Neugent wrote to the ABC complaining about what he perceived as ABC's obsession with homosexuality. As an example, he cited an episode of TV drama "The Practice" in which the mother of one of the characters is revealed as gay. He soon received an angry and disrespectful response from an ABC employee suggesting that he get his nose out of the Bible and try thinking for himself on such issues.
The incident described did take place, back in April 1999. Outraged by the response he received, Neugent passed on the dialogue to others. It was subsequently written about in the press, posted to various websites and circulated around the world via email. And, a decade on, versions of the message continue to circulate.
What these messages fail to explain, however, is that ABC fired the staff member responsible for the insulting response almost immediately after hearing about the incident and also sent Mr Neugent the following apology:
Dear Mr. Neugent:
We apologize for the e-mail message that was sent to you with comments that reflect neither the view of ABC nor of its executives. Viewer mail is traditionally handled by our Audience Information department for response. Your message was inappropriately handled by a programmer from ABC.com. I want to assure you that the response that you received does not in any way reflect the views of ABC Television, and most importantly is not at all consistent with the manner in which KATV, our valued partner in Little Rock, would ever treat their audience/community members.
Unfortunately, as in any organization, there are bound to be a few individuals that step out of line. To that end, we completed a comprehensive investigation into the matter earlier this afternoon. While the individual was deeply contrite and wanted to apologize to you, we felt that his actions were reprehensible and terminated him immediately.
Specifically in response to your original concerns regarding the subject of homosexuality in our programming, the ABC programming department has tried to treat such subjects in a sensitive manner. We recognize that we are serving a large, diverse audience with a wide range of attitudes towards all types of entertainment programming. We believe that programs thoughtfully reflecting social issues existing in our present society constitute proper television faire. We appreciate your original comments and take serious note of your thoughts on the potential direction of future story lines.
We are glad that you brought the e-mail incident to our attention. We truly regret that this happened, and we hope you understand by our actions that we will not tolerate this kind of behavior from any member of our staff.
Finally, I would like to once again add that the response that you received should in no way be attributed to our partner in Little Rock, KATV. As you well know, KATV has been the news and public affairs leader in Little Rock for years, and will be for many more. A finer, more committed television station does not exist. I would not want their reputation to suffer in any way due to our mishap.
Please accept our apologies and regrets.
ABC Television Network.
And, back in 1999, people who contacted ABC about the incident received the following reply:
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
We regret that a representative of ABC inappropriately expressed his
personal views in response to a viewer's comments, and we sincerely
apologize for the disrespectful tone of his answer.
This employee no longer works for the company. We take our viewers'
feedback very seriously, as well as their right to express it; and we
expect all our employees to do the same.
Thank you for taking the time to write to us.
ABC Online Webmaster
Certainly, this ABC staff member overstepped his bounds by replying to Neugent in the way that he did. However, given that ABC fired the employee and offered Neugent an apology, it is difficult to see what more the company could have done to make up for the insulting response. Every company is likely to employ a few people that behave in a way that makes the company look bad.
The continued castigation of ABC for this incident a full decade on seems rather silly.
Since the message is not dated, many recipients assume that the incident described is recent and are thus more likely to pass it on. And, quite unfairly, the message make no mention of how ABC responded to their employee's inappropriate actions. This version of the message claims that Jim Neugent is a coach who lives in Childress, Texas. While the current whereabouts of Mr. Neugent is unclear, at the time the incident occurred he was living in Arkansas.