Last week when word started flying around the internet machine that Bob Newhart was scheduled to headline a conference organized by an anti-gay Catholic extremist group, a lot of people, to say the least, were not happy with him.
The Legatus organization boasted on their website that the “legendary Catholic comedian” would be headlining their 2014 Summit in Orlando, Florida, which created a backlash so swift and unified that it didn’t take long for what many felt would be the inevitable announcement made yesterday on Twitter by Bob Newhart’s account:
Upcoming Bob Newhart Tour Date Change — Bob will not be performing at the Legatus Summit in Orlando FL on February 6th, 2014
— Bob Newhart (@BobNewhart) December 19, 2013
The tweet has apparently not reached Legatus headquarters yet, because even though a full 24 hours has almost passed since Newhart’s announcement, their website is still displaying advertisement like this one featuring Bob Newhart.
Many of same people who were shocked and offended when they learned of Newhart’s upcoming gig, were also the same ones to extend him a decent amount of patience and understanding over the matter, because to put it bluntly, not that many people know about Legatus. It was heavily possible that Newhart simply didn’t know what he was getting into until the dung hit the fan.
Historically, Bob Newhart has always been somewhat ahead of his own time when it comes to LGBT visibility and rights, when in 1976 he featured an openly gay character on The Bob Newhart Show. That was just one of the many reasons why the idea of Newhart performing at the Legatus Summit just didn’t make sense to many people.
Newhart’s cancellation is being heralded by organizations like GLAAD who made a pubic statement in support of his choice.
“Newhart is merely siding with the majority of fair-minded Americans who do not support the anti-LGBT agenda of organizations like Legatus,” said Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at GLAAD. “These groups constantly struggle to find high-profile people of faith to speak at their events, but at a time when more and more people of faith are accepting of LGBT people, they will continue to be left to choose between increasingly fringe figures.”
So there you have it folks, America still has one of its most loved sweethearts with his reputation intact, and the LGBT community may have just picked up another valuable ally.