I'm late on this one (I blame Memorial Day weekend!), but hey, Judge Nigel Lythgoe issued a sincere-sounding apology for his comments and the editing of a same-sex dance tryout on the season premiere of his hit show So You Think You Can Dance last Tuesday that came off fairly homophobically on the air (video clip at the link).
So what happened? Well, male-male dance team Misha and Mitch perform the
salsa samba, which is fine. However, the folks who edit SYTYCD thought it would be a hoot to film their interview with "It's Raining Men" playing in the background and meaningful zoom-ins to the MEN sign of the men's bathroom. Not good! Nonetheless, Misha and Mitch give what looks to me like a pretty decent audition, where they switch off the partner leading to demonstrate both their skills at leading and following. And then..... uh oh.
Sure enough, head judge Nigel fires off "I think you'd probably alienate a lot of our audience," accompanied by a litany of: I've never seen this before, this reminds me of Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory, and I think men should act like men and women should act like women. (Note: neither male danced effeminately at all.) Then screamy judge Mary (who specializes in the salsa!) was like, "I was so confused I couldn't even watch your dancing because OMG, you're both men!!! Who's the woman here and who's the man??? Shriek!!!!"
Okay, first of all, who has not heard of same sex dancing in 2009? And second of all, how does that not sound homophobic even as it's coming out of your mouth? A firestorm erupted, to which Lythgoe first went with the standard "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" line. Then, there's a truly disastrous series of Twitter posts where Nigel says "I'm not a fan of Brokeback Ballroom," then "[I'm not homophobic,] I just hate effeminate dancing. Wake up and listen!!" and then "I wholeheartedly apologize for the Brokeback Ballroom tweet... I have upset a number of dear friends." OMG! Some of his best friends are gay!!
Shortly after that, Nigel sent an apology to GLAAD. Well, good -- but really? Are we still debating whether gay male means effeminate? Or who's the woman and who's the man? Can't they both just be men? In case you were wondering. Misha and Mitch were actually pretty decent and made it to the next round (Nigel emphasizes that they'll dance with women if they make it on the show -- oh good, because I was worried.) before later getting eliminated -- and it turns out Mitch is actually straight. Not that it really matters.