Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

A new chapter in the Nuke Controversy

Posted by laura47 on May 6, 2008

Given our reading about homosexuality on “All my Children”, this seems an appropriate time to give an update on the Nuke controversy. As you probably know, Luke and Noah have finally kissed again after many months of nothing but hugs and longing looks. During that drought, there seemed to be more protests for them to kiss against than protests against showing homosexuality. Here’s a CNN clip from March:

The conservative guest very much identifies displays Luke/Noah affection as the pushing of an agenda, rather than the natural evolution of a relationship. I should offer a disclaimer here and say that I am very much in favor of the Luke/Noah storyline and have done volunteer work for what people call “the homosexual agenda”, mostly with MassEquality.

As detailed in this Boston Globe article and this wikipedia article as well as many other places, there has been a significant campaign by Nuke fans to have them kiss again, including running a counter since their last kiss. Now the “How Long Since They Kissed” Counter can finally reset!

But, the kiss has sparked renewed controversy on the anti-gay front, including from the AFA.

I have been following the AFA for awhile. The AFA is strongly anti-homosexuality, though to be fair they also oppose graphic heterosexuality on television. The website says “The American Family Association exists to motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth and traditional family values.” I am on their mailing list to see what they are up to and who they are boycotting. They had a long boycott of Ford for doing things like advertising in gay magazines and other “support” of the “homosexual agenda”, which was called off when they claimed Ford had changed their policies, though Ford disagreed. Back in late February they called Proctor & Gamble the “Top Pro-Homosexual Sponsor on Television” This is their list of the top “offenders”, and here is their criteria: http://www.afa.net/monitoringresultswinter07.asp. They based it on what ads aired during shows that were too gay for their tastes, shows that were identified by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) “for their positive promotion of homosexuality.”

AFA says: “In each program monitored, homosexuality was promoted in a positive manner as a normal and accepted lifestyle. Some scenes included homosexual kisses and bedrooms scenes. In instances where opposition to homosexuality was portrayed, the opposing character was publicly ridiculed or condemned by the other characters on the program.”

I had been wondering when the AFA would catch on the Nuke storyline and call P&G out for that, as they are of course far more involved in ATWT than in primetime shows they advertise on.The truth is, I first found out about the kiss when the AFA sent me mail about it with a link. View a scene from the April 23, 2008 episode by P&G. WARNING – content is repulsive!. I am not sure why they so often send out links to clips of homosexuality. I am sure they would say it was to show people how ‘repulsive’ it is so they can properly offended and rise up against it, but, well, you know what they say about homophobes… 😉

On May 2, I got mail from the AFA about Nuke and the phone line they set up regarding the plot line. (Which I posted about on April 28, and which is now closed.)

Procter & Gamble wants to know if you approve of its support of the homosexual lifestyle

Company establishes toll-free number to call

May 2, 2008

Dear Laura,

Procter & Gamble wants to know if you approve its efforts to promote the homosexual lifestyle. It has established a toll-free number for you to call and vote to approve or disapprove its support of homosexuality.

P&G has added homosexual lovers to its soap opera “As the World Turns.” It has also added scenes of homosexuals with open mouth kissing. The motive behind P&G’s push is to desensitize viewers, especially younger viewers, to the homosexual lifestyle. The ultimate goal of homosexual activists is homosexual marriage.

Thousands of homosexual activists are already calling P&G.

Here’s one interesting blog post about the Nuke phone line.

Supporting “Nuke”, to me at least, is about a lot more than just supporting gays on TV. It’s about supporting television that makes you think, that forces you to question your own beliefs, see a different side of the story you might not always agree with – it supports the idea that yes, we watch TV to escape reality sometimes… but we ALSO watch TV to sometimes see realities we might not have any other access to otherwise. We want intelligence in our stories – we want a reflection of what we see in our day-to-day lives. We want to see the human struggle.

Please call. And let them know that yes – even if you do disagree with the story, you still support it because sometimes it’s okay to be a little uncomfortable. People were uncomfortable when slavery came to an end, they were uncomfortable when women started working full-time, and they were uncomfortable when Maude got an abortion or when Archie Bunker used the N-Word. And you know what? It’s OKAY that you’re a little uncomfortable with two guys kissing on TV. I applaud TV that makes me squirm a little, because it opens up new worlds to me, and helps me become a more tolerant, more understanding person, to question things I’ve accepted at face value, to wonder what I would do in that situation or if I can learn something from my reaction to what I just witnessed on the screen. This is a society where we are constantly learning and growing – and a genre that once upon a time, prided itself on being a serious learning tool. Don’t let it become a joke. (emphasis removed because it broke my formatting)

I can’t find the link, but I read somewhere that CBS says they will not make and story decisions based on this poll, they will just use it as information. So, we’ll see what happens. I doubt they will release any numbers.

Some tidbits from the mediadomain boards…

This thread is neutral-positive:
“I voted for LUKE AND NOAH, however this is not the way to run a soap opera. A head writer should be allowed to write for the characters not let mass public opinion on a phone message board decide things. So many homophobic people out there could just call and call all day. And to be fair, folks like myself who do support the storyline could do the same. I long for the days of a strong EP and a great head writer who could tell a story and attract viewers. ”

“I’m disgusted that this poll is even being done. But I did vote in favor of Luke & Noah. Though I also am not really a fan of their’s, just want to see a realistic modern world on my television. ”

” Wish it were that black and white. Would love a “support gay inclusion, but don’t care about Luke and Noah at ALL” option.”

But this one is more mixed:

” More power to them. The sooner this disgusting story ends, the better. ”

“GLADD has lost my respect, seeing any depiction of a gay couple as being something to cheer about–even Nuke. Nuke is an insult to gay & straight relationships, period. It certainly doesn’t have the good storytelling that would do such a serious, socially relivant topic justice! I also find it difficult to believe that GLADD, or any other oragnization, would find it so acceptable that stright men are playing this gay couple! Now they are doing the same thing(s) w/the ‘marriage’ to Ameera!”

“I think P&G is playing all kinds of games with the nuke sl, with the nuke fans, and the fact that they didn’t get a Daytime Emmy nomination is the payback karma that they get for manipulating fans.

Based on the reports from the fan luncheon, dropping the Nuke sl would be killing the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg.

Nuke is not going anywhere; Noah is not going to flip his rainbow and knock up Ameera, and fans should NOT let the show’s game playing whip them into a frenzy to drum up publicity for the show.”

Other bits of Nuke news:

– Van Hansis (Luke) might be gay: http://www.gaywired.com/Article.cfm?ID=18909
– Older one, CBS daytime head sounds supportive of Nuke: http://www.tvsquad.com/2008/04/07/cbs-daytime-head-is-all-for-gay-love-story-on-as-the-world-turns/
– GLAAD president with a bit about Nuke: http://www.insidesocal.com/outinhollywood/2008/05/interview_glaad_president_on_t.html


6 Responses to “A new chapter in the Nuke Controversy”

  1. […] A new chapter in the Nuke Controversy […]

  2. dakotacelt said


    First, I am also supporter of this storyline.

    I was pleased to see the kiss for it is a step in the right direction for the greater society to understand that there are other healthy relationships aside from heterosexual ones. I strongly disagree with the conservative gentleman’s position in the video. It is not a form of agenda poaching in the least. It can be viewed as a social and familial issue.

    If one was to look at the early radio broadcasts of the soap operas, they were sponsored by companies that had products geared towards the house wife. THe stories on these serials generally were geared towards issues surrounding women and family. It is a family issue because families are struggling to come to terms with the issue of their son being homosexual. The relationships between the characters and their families are the true test if the storyline can be called successful.

    It is interesting to see the that the storyline of Luke and Noah is causing an uproar among some in the country. It is being discussed and perhaps the discussion will lead to greater understanding. The discussion will lead to soul-searching of what is really happening in the world around them. Soaps have been known for tackling issues that have been socially controversial in the past and those include interracial relationships, alcoholism, birth control, abortion, rape, HIV, AIDS and incest. The tackling of homosexuality is only another relationship issue to be tackled to increase understanding of a marginalized population or taboo subject. Writers create stories that viewers want to see and of issues in their current lives of themselves or the people around them.

    A friend of mine recently sent me some old LA Times articles from the 1970s when DOOL ran a storyline of an interracial couple and some of the outrage in the letters to the editor at that time of been echoed through the years with other taboo topics. It can be argued that the first video could be argued as poaching of the conservative agenda by stating its rhetorical vision through their opinion.

    A good friend of mine is watching the storyline and sees the setup of Luke, Noah and Ameera as a classic soap opera triangle but also as a slap to a homosexual relationship. He sees the inclusion of Ameera as an attempt by the family to “cure” him of homosexuality. In the context of a triangle, I agree.

  3. samford said

    Thanks for combining all these resources, Laura. I’d very much like to see ATWT go even more with the All in the Family mentality as they have in the past. As much as I’ve enjoyed aspects of the story, I would loved to have seen the family tension between Emma’s moral values, Holden’s upbringing, Lucinda’s supportiveness, Lily’s fear, etc., played up without all the other elements needing to “soap the story up,” in that stereotypical connotation of what soaps are supposed to do…

  4. laura47 said

    That would be great, to really see family controversy play out more with regards to Luke’s sexuality. Lucinda is totally like my paternal grandmother, and Emma… is not like my maternal grandmother except that they are both not are pro-homosexuality as, say, Lucinda. Lily’s fear is very natural, many parents who really love their kids flip out in that fashion, worried about how the world will treat their gay children, as the kids try to say things are changing… I guess it’s sort of like the scene with Smash and Noelle’s parents in that episode of Friday Night Lights. Parents remember how hard it was in their generation, the kids say “no, things have changed!” and then we see that while they have changed, they have never changed enough…

  5. laura47 said

    Given how soaps tackled controversial issues like abortion back when they were even more controversial, it really is quite strange how wary they have been about homosexuality. I’ve read theories, but it never really rings true to me. It just still seems very strange that they shy away from this controversy and not others.

    A friend of mine recently sent me some old LA Times articles from the 1970s when DOOL ran a storyline of an interracial couple and some of the outrage in the letters to the editor at that time of been echoed through the years with other taboo topics. It can be argued that the first video could be argued as poaching of the conservative agenda by stating its rhetorical vision through their opinion.

    Mildred Loving, of the Loving v. Virginia supreme court case that ended miscegenation laws in the US, just passed away.


    She made a statement at the 40 anniversary of the court decision last year.

    “Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.
    I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

    I see a very strong connection to the battle over miscegenation and civil rights and the battle over same-sex marriage and civil rights. In both cases the government is trying to push the moral views of some on everyone, and that deeply offends me. Love should not be legislated!

    But, through it all, I am hopeful! I look at the amazing changes that the past 150 years have seen for women, minorities of all types, queer people, and all sorts of other people who aren’t rich WASP males, and how can I not be hopeful? i does get better! Bias remains, but it gets less socially acceptable with each generation. If you look at polling about homosexual marriage based on the age of respondents, it is quite clear that it is only a matter of time before it not controversial, as the people currently 30 and those who will follow them become a larger percentage of this country. I wish we could have equality now, and not have to wait for bigots to get old and die, but it’s better than nothing! And I think showing happy, well adjusted gay people on TV can only help speed it along!

  6. Byron said

    I’m a 40 something gay male who has been a lifelong soap fan. GL used to be my soap but, it’s gotten very bad. I had heard of Nuke and figured it was another poorly written, gimmick in an attempt to gain ratings. This past week I’ve managed to get through about half the episodes of Nuke and my assumption turned out to be very wrong. It’s too bad this story wasn’t told twenty years ago and gays would be featured as regular characters on soaps today.

    It appalls me to think that anyone can say this is pushing any agenda. It’s about life, things myself, family and friends can relate to. I bet none of the ones calling it a homosexual agenda have seen any of the episodes. I bet it would bring a tear to even the most hardened conservative’s eyes if they watched the story unfold from the beginning.

    The story is about life period.

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