WIPB cancels homosexual movie

(Ball State Daily News – Thursday, June 25, 1992)

Staff Reporter

WIPB-TV the campus-based Muncie PBS Affiliate, has decided not to air the controversial dramatization, The Lost Language of Cranes.

Based upon David Levitt’s 1986 best-selling novel of the same name, the tale unfolds as a father and son reveal their homosexuality to each other.

The British movie, directed by Nigel Finch, features gay characters in lead roles. Actors such as Angus MacFayden, Eileen Atkins, Corey Parker (thirtysomething) and Brian Cox (the original Hannibal Lector in the film Manhunter) round out the cast.

Some scenes that may have led to this decision to stop the telefilm include the portrayal of shirtless men talking in bed and same-gender kissing.

At press time, station officials were unavailable for comment on the last-minute cancellation of an airing scheduled in local listings.

“I’m surprised that it is not showing,” said Kerry Poynter, Lesbian and Gay Student Association internal vice president.

“At first I was surprised that it was listed as showing in Muncie because it had to do with gay issues,” he said.

LGSA members said WIPB has chosen not to air other programs that deal with homosexuality, including the documentary, Tongues Untied

“Gay and lesbian people also donate money to the station and ought to see what they want to see,” Poynter said.

The only Indiana-based station airing the program is the Indiana University-owned PBS affiliate.

“In a college town people tend to be a little more open minded and a large portion of people would be interested in seeing a story like Lost Language of Cranes,” Poynter said. “I’m upset and I’m going to call them. Other people should call Channel 49, too.”

Poynter and other callers to the station last night reached an answering machine.

Other students were not surprised by the decision not to air the critically-acclaimed film.

“I think that this re-validates the point that Muncie is 40 years behind the times and is unwilling to support diversity,” said Robin Schreiber, Student Association director of Communication.

“I don’t understand why Channel 49 is trying to act like a mother for the Muncie community,” said Mike Branham, SA Judicial Court justice.