Taboo Busting ABC Touts Sister-Brother Love

Good Morning America” on Tuesday continued the morning show drive of busting taboos by touting the romantic relationship between a half-brother and sister. GMA reporter Nick Watt informed viewers of the Scottish couple Danielle Heaney and Nick Cameron, now charged with incest, and rather neutrally explained, “Danielle and Nick are in love. But their love is taboo. They're half-brother and sister.” [audio available here]

At no time during the segment did Watt talk to anyone who might have expressed the argument that having a physical relationship between half-siblings could be a bad idea. After explaining how Danielle and Nick had the same mother, but lived apart as children, Watt simply observed “And one day they hope to move to France, where their love is legal.” Instead, Watt just dug for private details, such as this query to Heaney: “So, something made you kiss him?” Co-host Robin Roberts labeled the relationship "forbidden love." The network morning shows clearly enjoy promoting any type of relationship that can be seen as edgy, daring or somehow outside of the norm. And these segments are almost always delivered with a complete lack of judgment.

In March and April of 2008, “Good Morning America” featured three pieces on a transgendered man who is having a baby. The reports, all positive, gushed about the “man the world has been waiting to meet.”

On Marc 21, 2006, to promote the then-new HBO series on polygamy, “Big Love,” NBC's “Today” show highlighted the practice of having multiple wives and even labeled it the “the next civil rights battle.” Viewers of these programs may find it odd that the same networks which eagerly condemn the actions of Republican Mark Foley are so quick to gush over polygamy and the love between (half) brothers and sisters.

A transcript of the May 6 segment, which aired at 8:09am, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: And now, forbidden love. A young couple has been ordered by a court to refrain from intimacy after their love for each other was deemed illegal. The couple says their love is true and innocent, despite the fact that they are half-brother and sister. They're going public, hoping it will spark research into something most of us cannot begin to comprehend. Our Nick Watt has more from London. Nick?

NICK WATT: Good morning, Robin. Well, we're just back from Scotland which is where Danielle and Nick live. And they told us about their own desperate attempts to control their emotions and, also, the attempts by police to break that bond. They were sentenced to nine months probation and banned from having any contact whatsoever. But now, they're back together. Danielle and Nick are in love. But their love is taboo. They're half brother and sister.

NICK: I think it would be lovely to grow old together.

DANIELLE: Definitely.

WATT: There is a name for this. Genetic sexual attraction. In Scotland, as in the U.S., it's illegal. Nick and Danielle have been charged with incest.

NICK: There's been times before the actual court case came up, I actually said look, we've got to sort of try and stop this and we never could.

WATT: Now the courts allow them to live together but not sleep together.

NICK: There's a consistent and necessary need to be close, physically, to one another, actually physically feel each other close.

WATT: If they give in to temptation, they'll be sent to jail. Because Danielle and Nick share the same mother but they grew up apart.

NICK: I've been fostered from about the age of one year-old and I've been in foster care all my life.

DANIELLE: Well, I grew up with mom alone, 'till I was 15, well, 16, when I got married.

WATT: Then, two years ago, a family reunion.

NICK: I think the first time I saw Danielle, I found her very attractive. But, I also sort of thoughts in my head (sic), saying, wait a minute. This is your sister you're talking about.

WATT: At the time, Danielle was married.

DANIELLE: I said I can grow to love Nick very easily.

WATT: You said that to your husband?

DANIELLE: Yeah. And funnily enough, he said, “hopefully just as a brother.” And I said, “of course.”

NICK: There was quite a lot of time we would just sort of stop and just look into each other's eyes. And I think both of us just wanted to kiss each other at that point. But, of course, we decided against it. And then one day I just decided, oh, the heck with it and I just kissed her.

DANIELLE: I only realized I was actually falling in love with Nick after I kissed him. Before that, I didn't realize --
WATT: So, something made you kiss him?

DANIELLE: Because -- look at him, he's gorgeous.

WATT: We asked a psychotherapist, how could this happen?

JOE SOLL (Author, “Adoption Healing”): When you see someone for the first time who you're related to, there's this intense attraction, emotional attraction that gets turned into sexuality sometimes.

WATT: Very soon their relationship became physical.

NICK: Her mother walked in on us and, of course, wasn't too happy. Basically in shock. I mean, I can understand the reaction, but --

WATT: Do you think that your mother will eventually come to terms with this?

NICK: I personally don't.

WATT: It was their mother who called the police.

NICK: And at the time, when this was all going on, I was actually just thinking, well, it's just sort of reliving a childhood that we never actually had together.

WATT: But siblings share intimacy without sharing a bed. Why can't they?

NICK: Any sort of sexual thing is a natural bonding process. So, therefore, I mean, it's a question I don't really know the answer to. Because, it's one I asked myself as well. This need to be together could be the feel of being apart again because you haven't grown up together.

WATT: Another theory, the social taboo just isn't there.

SOLL: If one doesn't grow up with one's brother or sister, then one doesn't have the built-in taboo that people have when they do grow up together.

WATT: This, this sort of felt right?

DANIELLE: Felt really right. I still feel as though I've fond my soul mate and I'm not letting him go for anything.

WATT: And one day, they hope to move to France, where their love is legal. And of course, I had to ask, do they want kids? Well, Danielle can no longer have children. So, that's one very difficult decision this troubled couple will not have to make. Robin?

ROBERTS: All right, Nick. Thank you so much. And we want to know what you think. So, we invite you to go to our website at ABCNews.com and share your thoughts.
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org