In recent months Glee has been attacked by the likes of Victoria Jackson and Glenn Beck, and now GLAAD has come to the show's defense again after a Houston Fox affiliate aired an outrageously homophobic segment titled "Is TV Too Gay?" in response to last week's "Born This Way" episode.
In the segment, noted conservative nutjob Bryan Fischer (who lamented recently that our culture is so "feminized" that we've stopped rewarding soldiers for killing people) says:
"Well I'm deeply concerned about this because what these television programs are doing is glamorizing homosexual behavior, glamorizing homosexual conduct. This is conduct that carries enormous psychological and physical risks to those who engage in it. It's just not a lifestyle, it's not behavior that ought to be glamorized or presented in a way that makes it idealistic."
He goes on to declare that because many men who have HIV/AIDS caught the disease from having gay sex, glamorizing homosexuality is just like "glamorizing intravenous drug use."
Gay activist Ray Hill manages to get in a few good lines at Fischer's expense, like:
"You and the Westboro Baptist church people scream and yell mostly statistics that you make up and your veracity is now discredited in every hall of government in this country. Look, I don't care how hard you try to revive 1954, she ain't coming back."
It's no shock that Fischer spewed hate during the segment, but the bigger question is why he was invited on in the first place. Host Damali Keith's comments are almost more enraging because she's ostensibly neutral. Yet, she backs up Fischer's argument on Glee being gay product placement, saying:
"And we all know about product placement. You throw a soda in a movie and within a few seconds later everyone in the theater is thirsty for that particular brand. Ray, what do you have to say to the people who say that this is propaganda, these aren't just storylines but people who have an agenda?"
Mary Elizabeth Williams responds on Salon:
"Yes, that's how it happens, America. One day your teenage son is banging the head cheerleader. The next, he hears a few bars of Chris Colfer's seductive warbling, and wham! Suddenly he's "thirsty" for that particular "brand." Of penis. Homosexuality – it's exactly like walking past a Cinnabon."
Keith also worries about Glee airing at 7 p.m. in Houston, asking, "Is that a little bit too early?" Yeah, we should definitely shield children from seeing offensive same-sex relationships on TV — especially the gay kids, and those with gay parents.
On Tuesday, GLAAD demanded an apology from KRIV-26 for airing the segment. The organization points out that rather than consulting experts, the network went to Fischer, who "is an extremist with no qualifications to offer the discussion apart from his bigotry." GLAAD contacted the station last week and a representative suggested an apology would be issued, but now, "in an abrupt reversal, representatives of the station now maintain that they stand behind this content."
There's a lot to criticize about Glee, but the entire controversy just highlights the importance of having a show for teens that features several strong gay characters. Knowing locals stations are still airing anti-gay rhetoric as news makes us appreciate Kurt dancing to Lady Gaga in his "likes boys" t-shirt even more.
Is TV Too Gay? [My Fox Houston]
Fox Affiliate: Is "Glee" Turning Our Kids Gay? [Salon]
GLAAD Calls On FOX Houston To Apologize For Broadcasting Extremist Views In Response To "Glee" Anti-Bullying Episode [GLAAD Blog]