Bozell, Conservative Leaders Send Letter to ABC on Nasty Attack Piece on Mike Johnson's Family

December 26th, 2023 8:00 PM

Recently, we reported on an hit piece on House Speaker Mike Johnson, and how a German TV network reported in 2015 that he took his teenage daughter Hannah to a purity ball, which ABC described as "a controversial formal dance event, popular among some conservative Christians, that gained notoriety in the early 2000s." Democratic members of the House with "trans kids" were treated with great respect and the term "controversial" was reserved for the conservatives insisting boys were boys and girls were girls, and there was no real in-between. 

MRC founder and president L. Brent Bozell III has written a letter to ABC News President Kim Godwin -- last noticed at a celebratory dinner for Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre -- lamenting that ABC would engage in this kind of religious bigotry, attacking a Christian family for paying tribute to the idea of delaying sex until marriage. A number of conservative leaders have signed to Bozell's open letter, as you can see below (or click here for the letter in PDF): 


Ms. Kimberly Godwin

ABC News

7 West 66th Street

New York, NY 10023


Dear Ms. Godwin,

We write to object to an article attacking House Speaker Mike Johnson and his daughter Hannah for engaging in “notoriety” when he took her to a “controversial” event when she was 13.

At issue was a “Purity Ball,” a common celebration within the evangelical community to honor the ideal of chastity. The father aims to model how a Christian husband and father should behave. The daughter often signs a pledge to remain chaste until marriage. The daughter wears white to symbolize purity.

ABC could have, and should have, praised Speaker Johnson for his strong Christian faith. But you chose to go in the opposite direction. "This looks like a wedding," your reporter Will Steakin wrote, quoting a news reporter from a German news segment in 2015. "But they are not bride and groom -- but rather father and ... daughter," implying they are engaged in something dark. In that same dark tone, ABC projects as extremist Johnson’s wife Kelly stating "We don't talk to her about contraception. Sex before marriage is simply out of the question."

ABC could have, and should have, found Christian leaders to explain why many Christians believe in the importance of chastity and the beauty of the Purity Ball. But you chose the opposite. ABC selected as its expert someone who wrote a book touting how she “broke free” of “purity culture,” and argued Christian parents who teach their children to pursue abstinence are pushing “eternal girlhood” within a patriarchy.

Continuing the attack, ABC found another ex-Christian author who “sparked” the purity movement, but then “pulled his once-popular book from circulation and has apologized for any role it may have played in causing harm.” This article is pure religious bigotry. 

We call on ABC News to retract this story and apologize to Speaker Johnson, his wife Kelly, and their children.

Only a society that rejects virtue views the pursuit of chastity and holiness as controversial. Perhaps that is why no society on Earth endorses ABC's world view.


L. Brent Bozell III

President and Founder      

Media Research Center


Morton Blackwell  


Leadership Institute


The Hon. Bob McEwen     

Executive Director

Council for National Policy


Tom McDevitt


The Washington Times


Kelly Shackelford 

President and CEO

First Liberty Institute


J. Kenneth Blackwell

Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance

Family Research Council  


Kristan Hawkins    


Students for Life of America


James N. Clymer   

National Chairman

Constitution Party National Committee


Kevin Roberts


The Heritage Foundation


Tony Perkins 


Family Research Council

The Hon. Russell Vought  


Center for Renewing America


Cleta Mitchell

Senior Legal Fellow for Election Integrity

Conservative Partnership Institute


Kristen A. Ullman


Eagle Forum


Ed Martin


Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund


Gary L. Bauer


American Values


David Bozell




Jake Hoffman

State Senator  

Arizona Senate


Mike Hill

Former Member

Florida State House


Ken Harrison 


WaterStone and Promise Keepers


Steve Berger  


Ambassador Services International


Rick Green 

Founder & President 

Patriot Academy


Jason Rapert  

Founder & President  

National Association of Christian Lawmakers


Khadine Ritter


Eagle Forum of Ohio


Mike Wolfe

Former Trustee      

Harris County Texas Schools


Garland Tucker  


Council for National Policy


Michael P. Farris, J.D., LL.M.