127 Sponsors Quit “Donahue”

A Fort Worth, Texas, dentist is spending his spare time drilling Phil Donahue. Richard B. Neill has convinced 127 sponsors to stop advertising on the syndicated talk show since beginning a one-man crusade last April.

Hoping to shield his six-year-old daughter from group-sex proponents, mother-daughter stripper teams, and homosexual “marriages,” Neill circulated petitions to Forth Worth-area churches demanding the local affiliate move “Donahue” from its 9 A.M. slot to after 11 P.M. Despite 9,000 signatures, the station was unmoved. So Neill began targeting the sponsors.

“Many of these [advertising] executives are family people—they don’t have any idea what they’re advertising on,” says Neill, 36. Among the nationwide sponsors to stop advertising on the show are General Mills, Revlon, Woolworth, Baskin-Robbins, and Johnson’s Wax.

“I do not apologize for a moment for any programs,” Donahue said in an interview published in Focus on the Family’s Citizen.

Meanwhile, Neill says, “I’d love to have him off the air, but I don’t think that’s realistic. The key is getting people to write letters. Sponsors are the Achilles’ heel of the television industry.”

Robert C. Turner, president of Multimedia Entertainment, which distributes “Donahue,” says the program does not “titillate” or amuse by “innuendo, smut, and exploitation.” He says Neill’s boycott has not hurt the “Donahue” show in advertising or audience ratings.

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