„The Homosexuals”: Mike Wallace’s controversial 1967 CBS report

Mike Wallace and The Homosexuals

BY Trudy Ring

April 09 2012 (Advocate)

„Veteran journalist Mike Wallace, who died Saturday at age 93, had many claims to fame and one credit that might be considered a claim to infamy — his participation in the sensationalistic 1960s documentary The Homosexuals.

wallace_thehomosexualsx390_0Wallace would later express regret about the tone of the documentary, which aired only once, March 7, 1967, on CBS. Hosted and narrated by Wallace, it characterized gay men as promiscuous and lonely, given to fleeting, anonymous sexual encounters. It acknowledged the discrimination they faced, but with “no sense of righteous indignation” about that, the journal  Film threat once noted. The program largely ignored lesbians. Still, it marked a breakthrough in gay visibility on television.”

“Years after the broadcast, Mike Wallace would admit regret that The Homosexuals was not more balanced and sympathetic in its focus,” according to the Film Threat article. “In 1995, Wallace made a surprise appearance at New York’s Lighthouse Cinema, which was showing The Homosexuals as part of a Gay Pride line-up. The audience treated Wallace with deep respect and the veteran newsman hosted an impromptu Q&A session after the film was screened.”


„The Homosexuals” is a 1967 episode of the documentary television series CBS Reports. The hour-long broadcast featured a discussion of a number of topics related to homosexuality and homosexuals. Mike Wallace anchored the episode, which aired on March 7, 1967. Although this was the first network documentary dealing with the topic of homosexuality, it was not the first televised in the United States. That was The Rejected, produced and aired in 1961 on KQED, a public television station out of San Francisco.[1]Three years in the making, „The Homosexuals” went through two producers and multiple revisions. The episode included interviews with several gay men, psychiatrists, legal experts and cultural critics, interspersed with footage of a gay bar and a police sex sting. „The Homosexuals” garnered mixed critical response. The network received praise from some quarters and criticism from others for even airing the program.

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