Homophobes Gone Wild
Homophobes are always in the news, and their antics are becoming less tolerable by the minute. Over the last couple of years, the entertainment industry has been at the forefront of battling for equal rights and against homophobia. While TV shows do this through the creating more diverse characters, sometimes entertainment institutions and entertainers use their business savvy to put a halt to homophobia. Here is a short list of homophobes being held accountable for their actions.
1. Isaiah Washington of Grey’s Anatomy: This might be news from all the way back in 2007, but Isaiah Washington’s use of a homophobic slur during an on set fight lost him his job. Once a prominent character on Grey’s Anatomy, Washington (character, Preston Burke) was let go from Grey’s Anatomy after homophobic comments he made about a co-star on the series. The incident caused a lot of drama, until Katherine Heigel and T.R. Knight, who the offensive comment was made about originally, spoke out. GLAAD and the media rallied behind T.R. Night, and ultimately, ABC decided not to pick up Washington’s contract for the next season.
2. Michelle Shocked shocked: Relatively unknown 90’s folk singer until her awful comments at a San Francisco concert, Michelle Shocked lost a string of performance gigs after her homophobic comments. During the San Francisco concert, Shocked encouraged concert-goers to tweet that she said “God hates fags” and other homophobic rantings. So horrified were members of the audience, many simply walked out. After the news leaked, Shocked attempted to explain to the media she was misinterpreted and “not homophobic”, but when the audio from that concert appeared, it was pretty clear Shocked didn’t have anything nice to say. As a result, nearly all the other venues Shocked was booked to perform at voluntarily cancelled her upcoming performances, and the public outcry and the help of a few petitions lead to the cancellation of all of Shocked’s remaining US tour dates.
3. Boy Scout Fall Outs: One of the most publicized stories surrounding LGBTQ equality this year focuses on the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts experienced fall out on many levels due to their anti-gay policy. In the entertainment department, Carly Rae Jepsen and Train voluntarily cancelled their appearances at the 2013 Boy Scouts of America Jamboree concert because of the policy. These widely publicized cancellations from favorite artists came on the heels of other consequences for the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts lost corporate funding from companies like UPS. Two of the Boy Scout’s own corporate board members, Jim Turley and Randall Stephenson spoke out against the anti-gay policy because it was damaging to their business brands. (Both of these board members’ companies, Ernst & Young and AT&T, respectively, are rated by the HRC at 100% for LGBTQ equality.) After all of this, and work on the parts of GLAAD, HRC, other organizations, corporations, entertainers, and the public, the Boy Scouts finally allowed for gay youth to be a part of their organization, though they have yet to extend this same right to leaders.
4. NBA Player puts money where his mouth is: Sports are entertainment, right? Sort of. (Just go with it.) In the wake of NBA player Jason Collins publicly coming out, acceptance for the LGBTQ community is branching into new and historically unsafe territory, like men’s sports. Soon, those places where homophobia is celebrated (rap music, anyone?) won’t have a leg to stand on, or a dollar. Just this past week, NBA player, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers, learned that the hard way. His homophobic slur during a news conference earned him a $75,000 fine. He is not the only NBA player to be fined for similar comments. He joins the ranks of Kobe Bryant, Joakim Noah and Amar’e Stoudemire in writing big checks for their homophobic comments.
While these are just select examples, it’s encouraging to see and hear well-known people and organizations standing up for the LGBT community. We have really come a long way in just the last five years, in large part thanks to the entertainment giants we follow with such enthusiasm.
So remaining homophobes, make note: You’re done!