Bob Newhart is slated to serve as headline entertainer for the Legatus Summit, hosted by the conservative, extremely anti-LGBT Catholic organization of the same name.
The summit, which will feature appearances from Rick Santorum and the Catholic League’s William Donahue (both known for their firm anti-gay stances), will be held in Orlando, Florida on February 6-8, 2014.
Newhart, who came to prominence in the 1960s following “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart,” an album of comedic monologues, won his first Emmy in 2013 for playing opposite openly gay actor Jim Parsons on “Big Bang Theory.” The 84-year-old actor has a recurring guest role on the hit show, which had 18.3 million viewers during the premiere of the seventh season, its latest; since then it has broken its own record, with 20.44 million viewers.
Newhart and Parsons, who recently earned his third Emmy at the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Inspiration Awards, appeared onstage together to present at the 2013 Emmys. Parsons was also named in Out Magazine’s OUT 100 as “Entertainer of the Year.”
Leaders of Legatus assured its members that “Summit attendees can certainly anticipate a clean show, but they will also get a good dose of Catholic humor.”
Following the news about Newhart’s participation, Jeremy Hooper wrote in a statement for GLAAD, “Legatus pushes the idea that homosexuality itself is a ‘disorder’ from which one must be ‘cured.’ GLAAD is also contacting Mr. Newhart’s representatives to let them know how, exactly, an appearance at this event will come across to LGBT people and allied voices.”
Check out Newhart, presenting alongside Parsons, at the 2013 Emmys: