Eminem: Kevin Mazur
Sandra P. Angulo
September 07, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Immediately after Eminem’s live performance on tonight’s Video Music Awards, MTV will reair an antiviolence public service announcement featuring hate crime victim Matthew Shepard’s mother. MTV execs agreed to contrast known basher Eminem with a gay-friendly message at the urging of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which plans a sizable demonstration during the awards preshow to protest Slim Shady’s appearance. ”I said, ‘I think it would be important for MTV to make some kind of statement here, and one way you could do that is to air the PSA after Eminem performs.’ And they’ve agreed to do that,” says Joan M. Garry, executive director of GLAAD. ”We have an issue with MTV about its promotion of Eminem, but these are folks who have a really great track record of public responsibility.” (MTV didn’t return EW.com’s calls.)

The anti-hate announcement, which MTV cosponsored with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, debuted on the music channel last October, targeting children and teens. The 30-second spot is necessary on tonight’s show, Garry says, in light of Eminem’s popularity among kids. ”Studies show that the most commonly used epithet on playgrounds after ‘stupid’ is the word ‘gay,”’ she explains. ”And where does that come from? It comes from cultural influences like Eminem.”

GLAAD isn’t just disappointed with MTV’s decision to let Slim Shady take the Radio City Music Hall stage, however. Their bigger target is Aftermath/ Interscope, Eminem’s Dr. Dre created label. GLAAD officers had scheduled a meeting with Interscope soon after the May release of ”The Marshall Mathers LP” to address its homophobic references. But according to Garry, Interscope canceled 48 hours later and stopped returning phone calls. (Interscope declined to comment.) ”They wanted no part in this discussion, when they’re the folks who provoked it,” Garry says. ”The only person who does speak out about this is Dr. Dre, who basically says, ‘I don’t care what those people think.’ That’s obviously not what we’re looking for.”

The album features nine songs that contain anti-gay slurs and threats, such as: ”My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/ That’ll stab you in the head whether you’re a fag or lez/ Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest/ Pants or dress — hate fags?/ The answer’s ‘yes”’ (from ”Criminal”) or ”You faggots keep eggin me on til I have you at knifepoint, then you beg me to stop? SHUT UP!” (from ”Kill You”). Well, Slim, now it’s GLAAD’s turn to say ”Shut up!”

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