Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 1, 2013

Open Love NY spokespeople handle a blindsiding on ABC's The View

Open Love NY's Diana Adams (left) and Leon Fiengold with Barbara Walters
at their filming of The View

Last Monday Diana Adams and Leon Fiengold, representing Open Love NY, taped an appearance on ABC-TV's The View, a women-oriented daytime talk show. Perhaps you saw OLNY's press release about it:

NEW YORK CITY, October 28, 2013 - (PressReleasePoint) -- Open Love NY, a New York-based advocacy group for open relationship choices, will appear on ABC’s “The View” on Friday, Nov. 1, to discuss the national growth in non-traditional relationship models.

Leon Feingold, co-president of Open Love NY, and Diana Adams, host of Open Love NY’s monthly event Poly Cocktails, will banter with TV personality Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Drew Pinsky about open relationships and the growing interest in polyamory as a workable and rewarding relationship structure.

“I would say there’s a huge difference between people who are inherently monogamous, who are happy with monogamy, and if it works for them then great, but that’s not the same for everybody,” said Feingold on the show during the taping in front of a live audience today. “There’s a lot of people for whom polyamory works amazingly well, as long as everybody involved knows and consents.”

Feingold also co-authors “Poly Wanna Answer?” at openloveny.blogspot.com, a blog that gives relationship advice from a poly viewpoint.

Adams has her own law firm in New York City supporting families as a mediator and attorney.

“I have an amazing long-term partnership. I’m planning my ceremony with him for this spring, we’re going to try and get pregnant, so I’ve found my life partner with whom I want to spend my life,” said Adams on the show, who also teaches law school courses on the changing American family. “Part of what’s really amazing about our relationship is that we have so much trust and intimacy with each other that we are able to negotiate an open relationship and have other special people in our lives.”

Behind that upbeat announcement, things weren't so pretty. Leon and Diana felt blindsided on the set by a hostile, unexpected guest host. Diana, a lawyer who's fast on her feet, called the exchange "intense." She wrote,

Leon and I were prepped to expect a lighthearted positive interview with Jenny McCarthy, not an attack from Dr. Drew [Pinsky] in which he barely let us get a word in to respond... but I'm glad that I represented the poly community with Leon Feingold and had the chance to present something articulate to combat the intolerance.

The show aired this morning. Watch their segment here:

Diana, and many others, were much more satisfied than they expected to be with the final editing:

Just saw myself on The View and it went reasonably well. I was offended at the time by the interrupting by Dr. Drew, scoffing, calling my jealousy story a defense mechanism, and the way this went so differently than the interview The View suggested (although not surprised of course). But seeing it now, I notice that Dr. Drew acknowledged that poly relationships can work (big deal!), Jenny McCarthy described how open relationships are on the rise, and Leon Feingold and I handled the criticism well and stayed reasoned. A lot of Dr. Drew's hostility to poly was afterward to the live audience and not aired. I declare the interview worth it. I hope this will raise awareness about relationship choices for some. What do you think?

I say they came off great.

Diana now posts,

We need you on twitter! The View asked what viewers think about poly and there are lots of questions and concerns to respond to. We could use some positive knowledgable voices chiming in. The View also asked what viewers thought of Dr. Drew as guest host. Please join the conversation and keep it positive so we represent poly folks well! https://twitter.com/theviewtv


In this Facebook conversation [the show's official page] folks are criticizing The View for 'promoting' open relationships, threesomes, or 'bad morals' by having us on. Would you add a comment in favor of our participation in the conversation?

At the Polyamory Leadership Network, Jasmine had an immediate suggestion:

The Open Love NY interview closed with an amazing opportunity for polyamory educators. When Diana Adams said that she plans to have children, Dr. Drew responded that she might feel differently about polyamory after she has children. Diana responded well.

Guest co-host Jenny McCarthy said something like "Sounds like a follow-up program for you, Dr. Drew!"

Dr. Drew closed the segment with, "Done and done!"

This is an amazing opportunity for polyamorous parents and researchers studying polyamorous families to contact Dr. Drew's show and offer to give interviews. Give Dr. Drew what he wants.

Any takers? Write me at alan7388 (AT) gmail.com and I'll pass it forward.

On the set. That's Dr. Drew at right.

Here's the website for this episode of The View with space for comments, but social media may be a better place to spend your time.

P.S.: About blindsiding, Joreth and/or Robyn Trask (I forget which) give some proactive advice for TV appearances: Assume nothing about what will happen on the show; ask for full details in advance — what the show's title will be, who you will be talking to, what they will say and what's the storyline they'll bring (and, research how they've treated your kind of topic in the past); will they give you the same amount of time to talk as they get, what'll be the staging, do the producers control prompts to a studio audience about when to applaud and if so, what's their applause agenda; and who will be on before and after you framing your context.

You may not get answers to all these questions, but if you ask, you'll be taken more seriously as an experienced guest who's less easily mistreated than average. Expect some roughing up; that's their job. But it should be done fairly.

And be prepared to walk away even at the last moment. To this day, Robyn and her partner Jesus Garcia are proud of walking out from backstage, taking the elevator down, and flying back to Colorado when they discovered at the last minute that the show a network had flown them to New York for would be promoted as "X-rated relationships by people with kids."


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Blogger Jen said...

Do you have an actual link to the facebook conversation, I wasn't able to wade through all the posts in order to find the one that was relevant. In order to provide some positive feedback.

November 01, 2013 6:33 PM  
Blogger Charli Armstrong said...

Wow. That whole defense mechanism excuse for a very valid story was foul. Even people in monogamous relationships HAVE to confront their jealousy and the cause of it. People seem to own jealousy as some kind of badge of honor and that is disturbing.

The thing is, some people see it as a sign of love and devotion to a person and that's just not good in any circumstance or any relationship style.

November 01, 2013 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Chris BeHanna said...

Thanks for this. I thought Leon and Diana handled themselves *very* well.

November 02, 2013 3:59 AM  
Anonymous Diana Adams said...

Thanks for the support everyone. We did our best to go through the media prep suggestions here, and despite all that, the actual experience was not what was described to us by the producer. It may not have been the producer's fault as much as Dr Drew and Jenny putting down their cue cards and going rogue. I'm glad to have had the experience of the blindsiding and it turning out pretty well, but it was definitely insulting and frustrating. Thanks for being supportive of our positive intentions.

November 04, 2013 6:30 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

Kudos to Diana and Leon for doing so well in a tough environment. This is wonderful exposure for the polyamory movement and getting the word out that polyamory is possible and lots of people are successful at crafting wonderful lives in that world.

November 05, 2013 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Linda Fingerson said...

I had started following The View recently and was thrilled to have a chance to be in the studio audience for the taping of the Jenny McCarthy segment with Diana and Leon as guests. While I only have praise for the way that Diana Adams and Leon Feingold handled their View grilling. I definitely wasn't thrilled with Dr. Drew's handling of the subject matter or his interviewees, with his sidetracking, innuendoes, etc., eating up time and making it hard for McCarthy to connect with her two guests.

It's my take that the majority of the studio audience allowed themselves to be led by Pinsky's disrespect during and after the segment, but what actually made it onto TV had a much better tone, fortunately.

My low expectations of daytime TV's openness to open relationships are partially overcome with the airing of this segment, but it's clear we have a long way to go.

November 05, 2013 6:39 PM  

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