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Fallout From Richard Cohen’s “The Daily Show” Appearance

Jim Burroway

March 23rd, 2007

Since Wayne Besen and Richard Cohen appeared on the Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last Monday, many in the ex-gay movement have been deeply embarrassed by Cohen’s performance. And apparently, Cohen has been feeling the heat. Warren Throckmorton received an E-mail from Cohen that said, in part:

This week’s interview on The Daily Show was difficult. It took place in my home and office, and was the most degrading experience I’ve had in the media. I unknowingly allowed myself to be manipulated and coerced by the producer and the host. I take full responsibility for this mistake. I have learned since my interview with The Daily Show that this program treats most of the experts they interview the same way they treated me: taking bits and pieces of the interview, re-edit it out of order, and make the interviewee appear foolish.

Happily, regular Daily Show viewers–which I am not–are in on the gag and know that this is the way the show generates laughs. I have learned well from this experience to better research future interview opportunities and to be more discerning about the offers that I accept, and what therapeutic approaches I demonstrate on the air. I sincerely apologize if my decision to be on this and other interview programs has caused you any hurt or harm. Please forgive me.

Richard Cohen on CNNIn other words, he’s sorry he demonstrated on the Daily Show the same therapeutic approaches he showed on CNN. Which also happen to be the same techniques he demonstrated in his own book clear back in 2000. That book has been widely available for seven years It’s not an obscure book, but the way. It features a foreword by Laura Schessinger.

From Richard Cohen's Book, 'Coming Out Straight', page 207

I think it’s important to notice that he’s not apologizing for his inappropriate and bizarre techniques, he’s only apologizing for demonstrating them before a national audience. But they say when life gives you lemon, make lemonade. Or make a fundraising appeal. Or something like that. Cohen’s message continues:

I am not a public relations expert and very much need the help of one. I have had to handle the media on my own. I realize now that this needs to be changed.

If you can contribute financial resources toward funding public relations and media strategizing, so we can launch a positive campaign to promote the truth about SSA and the possibility of change, please contact me. I/we need and appreciate your help in this urgent matter.

The fallout from that appearance has continued. Ex-Gay Watch now reports that Exodus president Alan Chambers had joined the board of PFOX last year. Cohen had just been forced out of PFOX in the wake of previous embarrassing television appearances, and Alan joined to try to make a positive change on the condition that PFOX sever all ties with Cohen. Nevertheless, PFOX has remained wedded to Cohen’s methods and theories, and Cohen himself claims to be an advisory board member for PFOX. For this and for other reasons, Alan Chambers has resigned from the PFOX board.

And that’s not all. This brand new policy statement was added to Exodus’ web site:

Exodus International does not endorse the work of Richard Cohen or the methods utilized in his practice. Some of the techniques Mr. Cohen employs could be detrimental to an individual’s understanding of healthy relational boundaries and disruptive to the psychological and emotional development of men and women seeking clinical counsel and aid.

Alan Chambers has taken a very positive step. I congratulate him on his move.

Hat tips: Warren Throckmorton and Ex-Gay Watch.

See also:

Richard Cohen Shifts Gears
Richard Cohen Is “Disappeared”
Fallout From Richard Cohen’s “The Daily Show” Appearance
Therapy In the Wild, Wild West



Lynn David
March 23rd, 2007 | LINK

Jim… your link [] concerning the Exodus policy statement on Cohen demands a log-in to view. However the Policy statements page [] does contain the “Statement on Richard Cohen” at the very bottom of the page.

Jim Burroway
March 23rd, 2007 | LINK

Interesting. I wonder if they moved it. Or maybe it was a cut-and-paste error on my part. Anyway, the link is fixed.


Anthony Venn-Brown
March 23rd, 2007 | LINK

Was Cohen ever linked to Exodus or NARTH at any time? I seem to have a vague recollection of that.

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