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Gays, Kinison Fans Clash Before Comedian’s Performance

May 16, 1989 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A performance by comedian Sam Kinison provoked a confrontation between fans and a group of gay and AIDS activists, who denounced the performer’s comments about women, homosexuals and other minorities.

About 200 protesters picketed for an hour outside a University of Minnesota auditorium and distributed leaflets and condoms to Kinison fans before Sunday night’s performance.

Some fans made obscene gestures and shouted epithets at protesters, and set several of their leaflets ablaze. One picket and a Kinison fan scuffled briefly before university police separated them.

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Emily Whiting of St. Paul said Kinison ″perpetuates hatred against homesexuals and women, and gives a bad name to humor. He uses it as a tool of hatred.″

Many of Kinison’s jokes use graphic language to describe his views of the sex practices of homosexuals, lesbians and heterosexual women, and he ridicules the use of condoms.

Members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT-UP, accused Kinison of spreading misinformation about the disease.

″He creates a very dangerous situation,″ said Keith Gann, who edits a local AIDS newsletter. ″He is telling heterosexual people that they can go out and behave in dangerous ways.″

Some fans said they see nothing wrong with the comedian’s act.

″I think those protesters are embarrassing themselves,″ said Dave Miller of St. Paul. ″They’re taking Kinison way too seriously. He’s just a comedian.″

Rick and Gail Gorham said Kinison’s ″assault comedy″ is nothing new.

″We’ve had comedians slamming us before,″ said Gail Gorham of Minneapolis. ″Don Rickles once got on my mother-in-law. He was ruthless. But that’s why he was there, to make everyone have a good time.″

Kinison’s agent and publicist in Los Angeles could not be reached for comment after business hours Monday.