sam kinison photo

Gay Activists Protest Kinison Show in Anaheim

By Davan Maharaj
Times Staff Writer
Originally printed in The Los Angeles Times
Sunday, June 24, 1990

ANAHEIM — About 25 gay activists Saturday night protested in front of the Celebrity Theatre before the start of a concert featuring controversial comedian Sam Kinison.

The protesters, mainly members of the Orange County chapter of AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACTUP), said they opposed Kinison’s “bashing of gays, people with AIDS, women and other minorities.”

The activists held up signs reading “Words Kill” and “Where does the hatred start? Kinison,” and they handed out flyers to concert-goers. The flyers contained recently released statistics on hate crimes against gays and women.

“What’s so funny? What’s the joke?” ACTUP spokeswoman Victoria Maddock said, noting that 7,000 hate crimes against homosexuals were reported last year in the United States.

Some theater patrons jeered the protesters, while others accepted the flyers as they walked into the sold-out concert.

“This world needs to be a little lighter,” said Kathy McSeveney of Stanton, who identified herself as a “die-hard” Kinison fan. “These people have a right to protest, and he has a right to make his jokes. That’s how he makes his living. That’s why we live in America . . . freedom of speech and freedom of protest.”

Kinison, who is known for his sharp insults, says of AIDS: “Heterosexuals die of it too? Name one!”

After gay activists protested the remarks made in a Kinison album released in 1988, Warner Bros. agreed to insert an AIDS “information sheet” into Kinison’s album.