Well, you’ll probably be hearing a lot about Dick Clark in the next little while. It is being reported by the National Enquirer that the late, great host of American Bandstand “conducted witch hunts against gays who appeared on his show – and banned homosexuals who’d been outed by his staff!” (The exclamation mark is the National Enquirer’s, not mine.) Says the report: “Handsome gay 14- to 17-year old males who helped popularize dance crazes like the Slop, the Continental, the Fly and the Hitchhike could stay on “Bandstand” as long as they looked straight. But any open hint of homosexuality got them kicked out the door – and the teens knew it in no uncertain terms.”
In other words, being gay was OK, but being open about it was not.
According to the report, many of the regular male dancers on the program were gay, and Mr. Clark was afraid that if it became public knowledge, an anti-gay backlash would lead to the show’s cancellation.
There’s a lot more in the article, which you can read by clicking on the above link, if interested.
My view: Considering the era — the show ended in 1989 after airing for 25 years — can you blame Mr. Clark for wanting to protect his show against certain cancellation, and protect the gay youth from discrimination who were on his show?
Evander Holyfield is under fire from many for what they deem as homophobic comments. Apparently, the boxer, who is participating in a U.K. reality-TV program called Celebrity Big Brother, voiced his opinion in the show’s Big House that homosexuality is a “choice,” and that it can be “fixed” by a doctor, and he compared it to a physical disability.
The hosts of the program have warned him about his outbursts, according to reports. He says he was merely stating his opinion, and he was only mentioning it to his partner on the show and had no plans to mention it to anyone else. I’m wondering if he forgot about the cameras.
Anyway, there are calls to have him booted out of the house, i.e. the show. But at least one writer, Brendan O’Neill in The Telegraph, wonders if the censuring of Holyfield isn’t going too far, saying: “There’s a further profound irony to the censuring of Evander Holyfield: it has been done in the name of tolerance yet it is actually a prime example of intolerance.”
That view is being expressed by others in similar cases these days, and I wonder if freedom of speech is being violated.
Writes Brendan: “Are (Holyfield’s) views outdated? Absolutely. Are they wrong? I believe so, and many others will, too. Are they offensive? To some I’m sure they were. But should Holyfield, and anyone else who is invited on to TV precisely to express him or herself and to be “real”, be allowed to give voice to such moral beliefs? I think they should; Channel 5 takes a very different view.”
There might be something to that.