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Watchdog groups criticise new US comedy about Catholic family

American sitcom The Real O'Neals

A NEW American sitcom following the lives of a close-knit Catholic family living in Chicago has been criticised by watchdog groups in the US.

Civil rights organisation the Catholic League has even taken out an advert in an American newspaper to show its opposition to the ABC comedy.

The Real O'Neals is about an Irish American Catholic family that stops trying to be perfect and 'gets real' when the parents start considering divorce and one of its sons comes out as gay.

Actress Martha Plimpton stars as an overbearing, deeply Catholic mother pushing Jesus Christ on her children.

But conservative watchdog groups in America have criticised the programme, and one of its executive producers Dan Savage, who has been very critical of the Catholic Church over its handling of the child abuse scandal.

The Media Research Council in the US has raised 'red flags' about the show, based primarily on Mr Savage's role in the programme.

It said Mr Savage was an "uncivil figure" full of "hate language" and that parent company, Disney was endorsing his views by backing the comedy.

The Catholic League also took out an advert in The New York Times criticising ABC and Disney for hiring Mr Savage.

It was his role in the production which the Catholic League appears to be particularly displeased with, due to his negative remarks about the Catholic Church over the years, many of which centred around the child abuse scandals.

It wrote: "ABC has won awards from the gay community for its show, 'Modern Family'.

"It has won awards from African Americans for 'Black-ish'. So concerned was the network that it might offend Asians with its new show, 'Fresh Off the Boat' that it invited leaders to meet with producers.

"But when it comes to Catholics, ABC delivers Dan Savage."

Critics have also been scathing of the show with one commenting that it was a "witless collection of offensive anti-Catholic cliches".

However, another executive producer Casey Johnson has played down the criticism.

"I think it is a faith-affirming show in a lot of ways," he said.

Executive producer David Windsor also said "faith is an important part" of the fictional family's lives and added that the staff of the show include both Catholics and homosexuals.

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