Local gay man fumes at Mormon church
December 30, 2008
Bruce Palenske’s recent full-page advertisement in The Park Record says he is "appalled and dismayed" with what he sees as the role of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the dispute about the gay-marriage ballot measure in California.
The advertisement acknowledges Palenske is gay and it claims that the Mormon church "pushed and prodded" members to contribute money supporting Proposition 8.
Soon after it was published locally, Palenske says, a salesperson for the firm that handles advertising for The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News contacted him about buying space for a similar ad.
But, according to Palenske’s telling, a dispute quickly ensued and the advertisement was not published. He says MediaOne of Utah, the firm that handles advertising, printing and circulation for the two daily newspapers, pushed up the price of the advertisement two days before it was supposed to run, forcing Palenske, who lives in Pinebrook, to cancel the ad.
He suggests the Mormon church pressured MediaOne based on the content of the advertisement. Palenske, however, does not provide evidence of a church role in dispute.
"Who else would not want it to appear? It was against the LDS church," he says.
Two similar versions of the advertisement ran in The Park Record on Nov. 22 and Dec. 24, with Palenske urging people to "join me in standing up against the LDS Church in the matter." The advertisement published in The Record points readers toward a Web site and includes a copy of an IRS complaint form filed against the Mormon church.
Palenske says the salesperson from MediaOne who initially contacted him quoted a price of $10,500. He declined, saying the price was too steep. The salesperson’s superior reduced the price to $2,000 for the ad to run once, he says. Palenske says he agreed to the price, paid with a credit card and approved a proof of the ad. The ad was supposed to be published on Sunday, Dec. 28.
At just before 1 p.m. on the Friday before the ad was scheduled to run, Palenske says he received a call from a MediaOne representative telling him the $2,000 quote was not accurate. The ad would cost the full $10,500, Palenske says he was told.
An invoice provided by Palenske indicates the ad was scheduled to run in The Tribune in the A section and on the newspaper’s Web site. It was also to be placed in the A section of the Deseret News and on the paper’s Web site, according to the invoice.
Now retired, Palenske spent his career building what he says was the largest set of Little Caesars franchises. While with the pizza chain, Palenske says he spent between $2 million and $3 million on advertisements in the Salt Lake newspapers over a five-year period.
"I just feel very betrayed that once I need something done . . . that they don’t know me," Palenske says.
A MediaOne executive did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. A spokesman for the Mormon church declined to comment.
The dispute between Palenske and the Salt Lake newspapers comes as gays and their supporters continue to have ill feelings toward the Mormon church nearly two months after Election Day.
There has been a series of rallies and vigils against Proposition 8 in Salt Lake City and in Park City since California voters passed the ballot measure, and some expect Proposition 8 to be widely discussed during January’s Sundance Film Festival.
Some have called for a boycott of Sundance since it is held in the state where the Mormon church is headquartered. Others want the festival moved out of Utah.