Ellen Barkin Responds to 'NEW NORMAL' Controversy

TVGuide.com reports that actress Ellen Barkin is standing behind her response to the recent controversy over a Mormon-owned Utah TV station that is refusing to air her new NBC comedy series THE NEW NORMAL. The station told the Salt Lake Tribune last week that they were not comfortable with the show's content. The comedy, from Glee creator Ryan Murphy, tells the story of a gay couple who relies on a surrogate to have a baby. Said Jeff Simpson of the station's parent company Bonneville International, “For our brand, this program feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time."

Earlier in the week, Barkin, who portrays the grandmother of the surrogate on the show, tweeted, "Shame on you [for] not airing The New Normal. So [Law & Order: SVU] is ok? But [a] loving gay couple having a baby is inappropriate?" The actress went on to address CEO Simpson, "Who does Jeff Simpson, CEO of Bonneville, find 'offensive?' My Christian conservative [character], the gay couple or the unfertilized egg? There are Mormons who struggle with their church's stance on gay rights, among other issues. The church proved capable of change [with] polygamy. Hope?"

"Quite frankly, I felt good about it," Barkin told reporters on Wednesday of the responses she got to her tweets. "Yes, it is their right to ban something, but I do think it's a form of censorship."

Continued the actress, "I don't understand why a show that I happen to love, like Law & Order: SVU ... is acceptable, but a show about a very loving, committed same sex-couple wanting to raise a child... is explicit and offensive. So yeah, I did take a position on that, and being responded to on both sides made people pay attention. And I think that is what matters."

Back in July Barkin extended an invitation to meet with 'One Million Moms', who are also chosing to boycott the show.  "I sent out a tweet asking the One Million Moms, who I think are 3,000 moms, to meet me for tea and let's talk about it," she said. "You know, they didn't answer back. I guess their position would be, 'We know where she stands and where Ryan Murphy stands, so we have nothing to say to them' and that's what makes this country divisive."

Barkin's hope is that the series will challenge society's current idea of what makes a loving family. "I hope everyone starts maybe opening up a tiny bit and are able to redefine what normal is," says the actress. 

The New Normal premieres Tuesday, September 11 at 9:30/8:30c on NBC. To watch the pilot episode now on BWW, click here!

Photo credit: Robert Trachtenberg, Trae Patton/NBC



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