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Arsenio Hall Mixes it Up With Gay Protesters

December 15, 1990 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Two gay activists confronted an angry Arsenio Hall on his talk show, demanding to know why he doesn’t interview more homosexual guests.

The nearly 10-minute debate, which at times turned into a shouting match, took place at the beginning of Friday’s show, which was taped early in the evening for broadcast later that night. The argument appeared to run uncut.

It started when two men, one wearing a T-shirt carrying the slogan ″Queer Nation,″ stood up in the audience and demanded to know why Hall didn’t have more gay guests on the program.

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″There are a lot of gay guests on this show,″ Hall shot back, ″but it ain’t none of your damn business that they are gay 3/8″

Hall, who is black, said he is sensitive to the plight of all minorities, but the hecklers accused him of making fun of gays.

″I do black jokes. I do gay jokes,″ he said. ″I’m a comedian.″

Hall, who at times appeared enraged, dismissed the protesters as ″stupid″ and ″rude.″

He was still fuming minutes later when his first guest, actor Paul Hogan, joined him in front of the cameras. Hogan urged him to relax.

Hall and Paramount executives could not immediately be reached for comment. A telephone call to the studio late Friday rang unanswered.