julie chen

Forbes Promotes Gay Shame; Mean Girls Racism Big Brother; American Idol Racism Lawsuit

Forbes Promotes Gay Shame

I often talk about how shame plays such a huge part in the lives of gay people. And even though we’ve come so far in the past few years that same brand of shame still continues with publishers like Forbes. And the kind of shame I’m talking about now isn’t something that always registers as quickly as it should…I would bet most of the people who read what happened this week with Forbes and the President of Ireland didn’t even pick up on it.

According to this article in Huff Po, Forbes published an article about the President of Ireland and they said he was gay in the article. They were wrong. The President of Ireland isn’t gay. But instead of just posting a simple retraction, Forbes posted a fucking *apology* to readers, not the President. They will allegedly contact the President of Ireland in private and apologize to him for calling him gay. Obviously, they feel the need to go out of their way because he’s not gay.

 The article, posted Tuesday by Ireland-based blogger David Monagan, called Higgins an “acknowledged homosexual.”

Higgins, a poet and intellectual who supports gay rights, was elected as Ireland’s ceremonial head of state in 2011. One candidate he defeated, Sen. David Norris, is Ireland’s foremost campaigner for gay rights and famously open about his homosexuality.

It’s important to pay attention to the way this is worded. Forbes called him an “acknowledged homosexual.” That phrase itself is an insult, like “practicing homosexual.” But they didn’t call him a car thief, a murderer, a bank robber, or a rapist. They didn’t call him anything that should have warranted an apology. They said he was gay. All they had to do was retract what they’d done and move forward. No apology needed, because gay isn’t something negative and it isn’t a crime.  

But the fact that they felt the need to issue an apology, as if there is something inherently wrong with being gay in a general sense, shows how Forbes and other media outlets are constantly promoting gay shame and most of the general public doesn’t even know it, including gay people who are still struggling with issues and not out of the closet. I know that’s the kind of article I wouldn’t have even noticed ten years ago. But now that I’m more aware of how the LGBT community is portrayed in the media, it’s like that proverbial slap in the face. And I think it’s time to start slapping back.

Mean Girls on Big Brother

One of the reasons why I’ve been watching the reality TV show Big Brother since it first aired about eleven or twelve years ago is because it’s interesting to watch how real people interact, and react, in a stressful situation where they are kept hidden from the world and they are competing to win a half a million dollars. Since I started watching BB, I’ve seen everything from people stabbing each other in the back to falling in love. It’s part of the game, it can be highly entertaining and amusing, and the gender politics is fascinating.

But I have never, not in all the years I’ve been watching, seen anything like what’s been happening this season. There is a group of mean girls that rivals anything that’s ever been produced in a film or a book. It’s worse than what I’ve seen in publishing with mean girl book review sites. And these women on BB aren’t just mean girls, they are racist and filled with hate. In most cases they don’t even know it. Here’s just a tip of what’s been happening with these mean girls. If you do a simple search for “Big Brother 15 Mean Girls” you will come up with tons of other articles and forums with people who agree with me. In fact, America got a chance to vote someone off this week, and they chose the meanest, racist girl in the house. Unfortunately, she figured a way out and she’s still there.

The plastics are up for eviction. And by plastics I hope you have watched the movie Mean Girls. Aaryn is Regina Goerge, Kaitlin as Gretchen Weiners and GinaMarie as the dumb Karen. Will the Queen Bee get stunned by getting voted out? Perhaps, this week has been fetch.

The most interesting thing this season about the mean girls and the racist remarks is that they’ve made hideous slurs against Asian Americans, and the host of Big Brother, Julie Chen, is Asian American. You have to wonder, first, how dumb can these mean girls be? So far, Chen has addressed the issue on her own TV show, but she’s been playing it cool every Thursday night during the live eviction show she hosts. And frankly, while I admire Chen for being professional and taking the high road, it’s getting a little frustrating. Even last night, Chen had a guest on the show who was a previous contestant, Jeff Schroeder. I’ve posted about Jeff Schroeder’s anti-gay remarks in previous seasons. And yet there he was last night, sitting opposite Julie Chen, laughing and joking around about some of the meanest, racist people I think I’ve ever seen on TV, and not a word was mentioned. His anti-gay remarks were never addressed aloud, and since then CBS has continued to promote him.

We’re living in interesting times now. And racism is a huge topic this summer, especially in the African American community thanks to Paula Deen’s racist remarks and thanks to the Zimmerman verdict. And for CBS to ignore what’s been happening on Big Brother with regard to the racism, and to welcome Jeff Schroeder on the show as a guest, is about as insulting to all minorities as what Forbes recently did to the LGBT community. I wonder if the mean girls will be invited back a few years from now if BB is still on TV.

I know Big Brother is only a game. I get that. I know people are expected to do and say things in order to win that they normally wouldn’t do or say in real life. But how far does it go? And how long will it continue before CBS mentions it openly instead of just skirting around the issue. This past week there was an interesting discussion between Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg on The View. Walter’s was promoting her 20/20 special about the new royal baby, and Goldberg said she wasn’t interested in the royal baby. Walters smiled and continued to promote the 20/20 special. The next day I checked the ratings for the 20/20 special and they weren’t very good, so maybe Goldberg had a point? And if TV networks and producers think they can get away with the same thing they did twenty years ago, they’re in for a surprise. Most of us don’t care about the royal baby enough to watch a one hour special. But we do care about racism. And if nothing is mentioned about the racism on Big Brother at all this season, I have a feeling a lot of people like me won’t be watching Big Brother next summer.

American Idol Racism Lawsuit

Whether you agree with this or not, I thought that since racism is a huge topic of discussion right now I should post about it.

“American Idol” is being sued by 10 black former contestants, claiming they were kicked off the show in their respective seasons because of their race, TMZ was the first to report.

I used to watch American Idol faithfully, but then I noticed subtle forms of racism, especially with gay contestants and gay remarks. Simon Cowell used to find it amusing to refer to Ryan Seacrest with snide comments filled with gay innuendo, as if there was something comical…or shameful…about being gay. Cowell thought that was okay to do, and no one ever questioned him. Cowell is a straight man and like most straight men he has the power and the upper hand at all times. Seacrest who is also a straight man laughed it off and ignored the comments. That kind of gay pejorative was the reason we stopped watching. It just wasn’t funny to us, and that spoiled the entire show.

But this issue with American Idol is more complicated than other racial issues I’ve seen. There have been African American contestants who have won American Idol. And there was even a gay contestant who won. So it should be interesting to see how it plays out in court. Frankly, I hope they all at least win a settlement this time, just for the anti-gay comments Cowell used to make to Seacrest. Am I being too politically correct? Probably. But it has to start somewhere.