Ryan Seacrest: Please end the gay-baiting banter on 'American Idol'

Ryanseacrest_lMuch like the ritualistic baring of Paula’s cleavage and themind-numbing critiques of Randy Jackson, ugly gay-baiting banterbetween Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell is a time-honored American Idoltradition.

This season, however, has been mercifully light on ”Ewww! You’re ahomo!” back-and-forth. That is, until last night, when during adiscussion of Danny Gokey’s boogie moves, Ryan tried to score a laughby declaring, "I love it when Simon criticizes dancing. Randy, we’veseen [Simon] dance in Vegas in those heels he wears. Not really a lot ofrhythm." Really, Ryan? In 2009, you’re still courting Emmy nominationsas Best Reality-Show host by using tired cross-dressing barbs?

We live in a country where just last month, an 11-year-oldMassachusetts boy committed suicide over schoolyard taunts that he was”gay.” Could Idol maybe, just maybe, call a moratorium onhomo-baiting playground taunts during the family hour, in the middle ofour nation’s most popular television program? And if the show won’t doit for the tormented grade-schoolers of the world, then do it because,after eight long Idol seasons, speculation over the otherwise wickedlycompetent hostbot’s sexual orientation is both depressing andthuddingly unfunny. Are you with me on this one, Idoloonies, or am I standing on Mt. Molehill, making much ado about nothing?

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Comments (372 total) Add your comment
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  • Jim

    You are being waaay oversensitive. This is not gay bashing, its playful banter.

  • Jesse

    Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU Slezak for bringing this point up! The “gay baiting” on this show has always irked me. Last nights comments were ridiculous, especially in 2009 and in a season where we (most likely) will have the first ever gay American Idol winner. Many years ago, as a 12-year old middle schooler I became so confused and filled with inner turmoil when I heard a US senator talking on the news against teaching about homosexuality in sexual education classes b/c it was anti-family values. Being a conservative, shy, and polite young kid — I didn’t understand how I suddenly was the face of anti-family values. There’s no place for this kind of hatred (although seemingly innocuous — its not) on American Idol, of all places.

  • Fred

    Seriously Slezak….it’s a contest show, not a news documentary. Get over yourself. I’m so sick of all the media making major issues out of non-issues. Why is it gay comedians can make bad jokes about straight people but straight people, I think, can’t make gay jokes….when they clearly are not hurtful or aimed at anyone other than the person being told to?

  • teena

    Huh. I had originally thought this was another jab about Simon wearing lifts. But, your way makes more sense. I agree with you on the fact that they should stop. It isn’t funny.

  • Michelle

    I’m getting a bit tired of the judges (and Ryan) all together. They really don’t add anything to the program. They don’t give good advice (Simon does 98% of the time) and their constant bickering is annoying. More than annoying actually. It is downright unwatchable.

  • crispy

    The gay baiting jokes are particularly irksome given that everyone but Scott MacIntyre can see that Ryan Seacrest is gay.

  • Sarah

    I’m with you Slezak… the rule of comedy is you can say anything you want, as long as you’re funny. The fact is, most gay bashing jokes aren’t really that funny…maybe someday Ryan and everyone else will get it…telling gay jokes these days is almost as dated as telling slavery jokes. To say nothing of the fact that there are so many gay people watching the show, producing, starring… Move On Seacrest!!

  • GMAB

    Put the gay card away and grow a pair, Slezak.

  • KWise

    I don’t think you’re being oversensitive. At minimum, the gay banter on Idol is childish and un-funny. At worst, it contributes to a culture that devalues gay Americans and COULD contribute to gay children and adolescents feeling bad about themselves. I’m a professor of media and teach courses on children and the media, and I agree Slezak that Idol should not contribute to this problem. I LOVE how you threw the Emmy jab in there, though – a very good point and, if Seacrest reads these kinds of things, likely to hit him where it hurts

  • Kristal

    Michael, I completely agree with you. After 8 season and 300 episodes of the show, you think they would get a something new.

  • jaime

    SAVE THE ROCKER…lol jk, but i do miss her :(
    We just need 4 new judges and a new host…that will make ratings go up!

  • Daniel

    I’m pretty sensitive to the homophobic banter between Simon and Ryan, but I just assumed Ryan was referring to Simon’s lifts, because he’s a short guy and he wants to seem taller, rather than to cross-dressing.

  • krisfan2009

    Ryan was practically slobbering all over Kris last night!

  • Nes

    100% with you, Slezak.

  • stoli

    I’m pretty sure Ryan was referring to the lifts that Simon uses in his shoes, in addition to the size of the heels. I really don’t think he meant women’s high heels.

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