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'Will & Grace' Pokes Fun at Pence in Conversion Therapy Episode, Conservatives Not Amused

Friday Oct 20, 2017
Andrew Rannells on 'Will & Grace'
Andrew Rannells on 'Will & Grace'  (Source:NBC )

Conservatives are up in arms over the inclusion of a poster of Vice President Mike Pence in a scene taking place at gay conversion camp for children on Thursday night's episode of "Will & Grace."

Speaking The Wrap, series co-creators Max Mutchinick and David Kohan said the impetus behind the episode that introduced Skip, Jack's flamboyant grandson by way of his son Elliot, was inspired by Vice President Pence's past support of gay conversion therapy while a congressional candidate in 2000. A portrait of Pence conspicuously hangs on the wall of "Camp Straighten Arrow" behind newlywed "ex-gay" counsellors played by Andrew Rannells and Jane Lynch.

Unsurprisingly, the joke was not appreciated by Fox News media reporter Brian Flood, who claimed the series used "exaggerated stereotypes to portray the right as homophobic with not-so-subtle jabs at Vice President Mike Pence."

The right wing Media Research Center's TV reporter Amelia Hamilton was similarly displeased.

"Anything to keep pushing an oft-debunked myth, I suppose, right?" Hamilton wrote. "Debunked myths, conservative stereotypes, and overwrought situations? It looks like 'Will & Grace' knows they're not going to win anybody over by being honest."

According to Snopes, when Pence was running for Congress in 2000, his campaign website called to add a stipulation to the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act that helps low income people living with HIV/AIDS pay for treatment.

The stipulation read:

Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

"It must have come from our interest in wanting to do an episode on conversion therapy because we were already into the presidency of the game show host that's in the White House," Mutchnick told The Wrap. "We knew it was something that was on the minds of a lot of people because the vice president was a person that believed in the barbaric practice of conversion therapy. We don't recognize it as a form of therapy -- we only recognize it as a form of torture."

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