Clear Channel Promotes Tony Dungy – in San Francisco

by Paul Hogarth on March 28, 2007

Most Beyond Chron readers are familiar with Tony Dungy – the Super Bowl coach who is also an anti-gay bigot, as he headlined a fundraiser last week for the Indiana Family Institute. But even in San Francisco, Clear Channel Outdoor has decided to promote Dungy on a Tenderloin billboard.

The billboard company sold advertising space to All Pro Dad, Dungy’s charity group that promotes “responsible fatherhood” – and features a photo of the N.F.L. coach. Ironically, the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Clear Channel Outdoor is Michael Colbruno – the ex-Migden aide who last month wrote an offensive blog posting about Mark Leno, where he called the gay Assemblyman a “Kiddie Porn King.”

In case you missed the recent flap about Colbruno, here’s what happened in a nutshell. On March 2nd, Mark Leno announced his run for the California State Senate against Colbruno’s old boss – Carole Migden.

The next day, Colbruno attacked Leno on his personal blog for opposing a bill in the state legislature that cracks down on child pornography. While Leno had concerns about the bill’s reach, Colbruno accused him of not being a “serious legislator” and then twisted his position by associating it with NAMBLA. He topped it all off by calling Mark Leno a “Kiddie Porn King.”

Gay men have always suffered the stigma of being “sexual perverts,” so Colbruno’s attack was not only highly misleading – it was extremely offensive and appeals to our worst prejudices. Colbruno himself is gay, and should have known better than to attack another gay man like that – even if he is running against your old boss.

Ironically, queer activist Robert Haaland (who supports Leno) was asking local politicos at the time to sign a pledge not to engage in negative campaigning. Colbruno’s post could not have come at a better time to prove Haaland’s point that a Leno-Migden race could become extremely nasty. Migden told Colbruno to take down the blog post.

Now Colbruno’s company has promoted a bigot like Tony Dungy – by selling him advertising space on their billboard at Turk and Jones. But is Colbruno really responsible for the ad space that Clear Channel Outdoor displays throughout San Francisco, and can he control what decisions are made over what ads get displayed?

Tenderloin residents will recall the “Re-elect Chris Daly” billboards that appeared in the final days of the November 2006 election. Most of these were rented from Clear Channel Outdoor, and rumor has it that Carole Migden helped Daly get those billboards. Therefore, an inference can be made that Colbruno helped his former boss secure billboard space – and that he does have control over what ads get displayed.

I don’t mean to imply that Colbruno willingly approved the Tony Dungy ad – nor that he condones the anti-gay agenda that Dungy has promoted. But the Daly episode strongly suggests that he has a lot of influence at Clear Channel Outdoor – and if something is important to him about the billboards, he can make it happen.

To rehabilitate his image after the “Kiddie Porn King” flap, Colbruno should get Clear Channel Outdoor to remove the Dungy billboard from Turk and Jones – and any other location in the City. San Francisco is a mecca for gays and lesbians throughout the world – and ads that promote bigots like Tony Dungy are simply inappropriate.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As a private citizen, Paul Hogarth supports Mark Leno for State Senate – but does not play an advisory role in the campaign. He did not tell the Leno campaign that Beyond Chron was going to publish this article, nor was he provided this story from them as a “tip.” Send feedback to paul@beyondchron.org

Filed under: Archive