“Is TV too gay?” Thus is the question posed by Houston FOX affiliate KRIV-26 in a provocative interview which has GLAAD — and Glee fans — up in arms.
FOX’s hit show Glee tackles some tough issues — from bullying to sexuality and beyond — which has helped to make it one of the most talked-about shows in recent history. So why would an affiliate for the same network air a news story asking if the teen-centric show delves too much into homosexual relationships?
The episode that sparked the 5-plus minute segment was inspired by Lady Gaga’s single “Born This Way,” and features a theme of self-acceptance and celebrating diversity. Sounds terrible, right?
(More on TIME.com: Chris Colfer Talks Glee, Bullying and Being Yourself.)
Well this is exactly the type of storyline that Gleeks live for, and the episode did not disappoint. With the return of openly gay fan-favorite Kurt Hummel (played by Chris Colfer) and Santana Lopez (played by Naya Riveria) taking one step closer to revealing that she is a lesbian, this episode may have been a little more homo-centric than most, but the overall message remains the same: Acceptance.
Following the broadcast, Houston Fox affiliate KRIV-26 seemed to shoot themselves in the foot when they aired a provocative segment on gay teens in television, inappropriately — yet not surprisingly — titled, “Is TV Too Gay?”
(More on TIME.com: See Chris Colfer in the TIME 100.)
The segment featured two incredibly outspoken members of both sides of the debate: Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association and Ray Hill, a gay rights activist. Led by the anchor, Damali Keith, Fischer went on a vicious rant about everything the show stands for:
“What these television programs are doing are glamorizing homosexual behavior… which 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.’”
When it was Hill’s turn, he responded by pointing out that it is, indeed, 2011, and the recent advancements in gay rights show that acceptance is not only desired, but on the cusp for America:
“I don’t really understand why this conversation is even being held. We have gone through Lawrence v. Texas and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell… It’s time people start being honest about their sexuality. We’re here, we’re queer, you may as well get used to it.”
But of course, the circus didn’t stop there. Keith then prods the interviewees: “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?”
(More on TIME.com: Are the courts ahead of the public on gay rights?)
We think she’s asking if watching Glee will make you gay. And while we’re pretty sure that isn’t possible, the question only prompted more ridiculous pandering regarding whether a 7 p.m. time slot is “too early” for this type of television content. Are singing teenagers and messages of acceptance only appropriate after 11 p.m.?
GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) requested a formal apology from FOX on Tuesday for framing the segment as a vicious part of the gay vs. anti-gay debate, rather than find experts who are qualified to speak on the topic. However, FOX has not issued an apology, instead stating that it stands by its content. But really, is anyone surprised? (via Entertainment Weekly)