Thousands Sign GLAAD’s Petition Denouncing National Geographic’s Boy Scouts Show

National Geographic BSANational Geographic has come under fire recently for partnering with the Boy Scouts of America on a new reality competition show, Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout?, set to debut this spring.

20-year-old Eagle Scout Will Oliver started a petition on calling for Nat Geo to speak out against the BSA’s anti-gay policy and air a disclaimer before each episode of the series.

The show is part of the BSA’s “strategic partnership” to make scouting seem “cool” with the kids. GLAAD President Herndon Graddick described it as “a marketing ploy” designed to “boost dwindling membership and distract Americans from the Scouts’ long history of discrimination.”

Earlier this week, GLAAD and  Scouts for Equality threw their support behind Will and his petition, which to date has garnered over 13,000 signatures. Despite the public outcry, Nat Geo has refused to make further comment about the show, aside from the following statement:

National Geographic Channel is an international media company that is an equal opportunity employer.  We do not discriminate in any capacity.  As it relates to our upcoming show with the Boy Scouts, we certainly appreciate all points of view on the topic, but when people see our show they will realize it has nothing to do with this debate, and is in fact a competition series between individual scouts and civilians.

“That National Geographic would brush aside countless gay teens suffering at the hands of the BSA, shrugging off injustice as just another ‘point of view,’ is irresponsible,” Graddick said in response. “By airing this program, National Geographic is providing support and publicity to an organization that harms young people simply because of who they are. If the network is truly committed to standing by its non-discrimination practices, it should have no problem airing a disclaimer to that effect.”

The BSA will host two webinars today that will teach Scouting participants how they can “help drive viewership, and more important use the show to drive interest in…local programming, recruitment, and fundraising.”

Zach Wahls, spokesman for Scouts for Equality, says that although his organization is “all for promoting the Boy Scouts to new audiences by way of a TV show…without airing a disclaimer, National Geographic risks fortifying a policy that the American Medical Association has described as ‘psychologically traumatizing.”

Will Oliver notes that his petition is not meant to cancel the series but “rather to make a strong statement to the BSA’s leadership about the grave injustice of their policy.” You can help further strengthen that statement by signing his petition here.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #boyscouts #boyscoutsgayban #boyscoutsofamerica stories and more


  • drw

    Nat Geo is owned by fox news, so I’m guessing they don’t give a shit.

  • Joetx

    Now who is the group that tries to lure in children???

  • Spike

    I’m guessing just not watching the show would be more effective then signing the petition, esp given that it’s pretty much assumed, that 80%+ who signed the petition probably hadn’t even heard about the show nor would have watched it anyway. And we are talking the National Geographic Channel . . . pretty much one of those surf through cable channels . . .

    I wonder if the Scouts will be nerdy or hot FGA’s? Assumed the scout masters will be be creepy older guys that light teaching young guys how to tie knots and stuff.

  • Allen D.

    My gut reaction to this story is “if we can’t play too, you can’t do it!” Which I don’t think is fair. I don’t want the BSA to be able to meet in public (meaning maintained with my tax dollars) buildings. That’s about it. Sure it would be nice if everyone was included. I don’t know. I’m conflicted, but this strikes me as silly.

  • Erebos

    I understand the point trying to be made, I really do. I myself was involved in the BSA for many years, and would of course love to see them become more tolerant. However, I feel that this method is overreaching. When informational channels such as the History Channel, NatGeo, or even Discovery, report on something, it doesn’t mean they endorse the views of those whom they are documenting. I don’t recall ever having to see a disclaimer on the History channel that while they will report about Nazism and Fascism (when they’re not creaming all over themselves about aliens) they don’t in fact support the violent oppression or extermination of human beings. True documentation and real reporting must try to exist in a vacuum for it to be taken seriously. We may not like it, we may feel it inhibits the promotion of what we know to be right, but this is how the free press works. The BSA should, and I believe one day will, change their policies towards the LGBTQ community, but we must be willing to accept that these things take time, and that it is possible to have a negative backlash result from our overreaching.

Comments are closed.