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New director of Donald Trump’s federal media agency has ties to anti-LGBT+ group

Lily Wakefield June 21, 2020
Michael Pack, head of federal media agency, the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM)

Michael Pack, head of the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM). (Twitter)

Michael Pack, the head of the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) who was chosen by Donald Trump, has appointed a new federal agency director with ties to an anti-LGBT+ organisation.

The USAGM is an independent agency which oversees state-run media outlets, for example Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and it says its mission is “to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy” in accordance with “broad foreign policy objectives of the United States”.

According to CNBC, Pack terminated longtime board members within weeks of being appointed and replaced them with Trump loyalists.

Now, he is reportedly moving to appoint two new members to the federal media agency board of directors who are vehemently anti-LGBT+.

Sources “familiar with the matter” told the publication about the new appointments, but chose to remain anonymous as they have not yet been formally announced.

According to the sources, Jonathan Alexandre is set to become a corporate board member for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 

However, Alexandre is currently the senior counsel for governmental affairs at Liberty Counsel, which is listed as an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC).

The SPLC describes it as “a legal organisation advocating for anti-LGBT discrimination under the guise of religious liberty”.

Liberty Counsel has been involved in a multitude of anti-LGBT+ legal cases, including representing Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, defending conversion therapy and even pressing Republican lawmakers to strip protections for LGBT+ people from an anti-lynching bill.

A second board member reportedly set to be appointed by Pack has a history of anti-trans activism.

Bethany Kozma is reportedly also going to join the board of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

In 2016, she started a campaign to overturn President Barack Obama’s guidance allowing trans students to use the bathroom of their choice.

In an op-ed for conservative news site The Daily Signal, started by right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation, Kozma engaged in the kind of scaremongering used by anti-trans activists all over the US.

Kozma wrote: “Our message was that this radical agenda of subjective ‘gender fluidity’ and unrestricted shower and bathroom access actually endangers all.”

She added: “Predators could abuse these new policies to hurt children.”

The Trump administration rescinded Obama’s guidance in 2017.

More: Bethany Kozma, Donald Trump, federal media agency, Jonathan Alexandre, liberty counsel, Michael Pack, US Agency for Global Media, USAGM

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