Oprah: “You Seem Gayer”

Oprah Winfrey is busy, busy, busy. Her farewell 25th anniversary year from broadcast TV and the launch of her OWN cable channel have her in hyperdrive.

To feed the programming beast at OWN, she’s doing a behind-the-scenes show of her farewell 25th anniversary year from broadcast TV. Meta, anyone?

Anywho, Oprah has stumbled on her behind-the-scenes show into a minor LGBT media moment. AfterElton and Queerty have weighed in on Oprah’s comments to her guest Jonathan Plummer.

Plummer is author Terry McMillan’s gay ex-husband, who was the inspiration for her novel, How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

Oprah prefaces her comment with not wanting to be offensive and not knowing how to say this but: “You seem gayer.” There, she said it. Plummer, and the audience, laughed.

Oprah’s publicist suggests editing that out of the broadcast TV show—and it is edited out. However, the behind-the-scenes show goes into some detail about the decision-making process.

Oprah calls in LGBT staffers and an insightful discussion ensues:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Although Oprah is self-admittedly pro-LGBT, that fact doesn’t diminish the credit she deserves for airing an LGBT fairness and accuracy debate.

The argument that swayed me the most is the “Would you say…?” comparison. For instance, would you say “you seem blacker”? No? Then perhaps “you seem gayer” isn’t appropriate.

We would all benefit from using that comparison more often, in our own lives and certainly in the media.

4 Responses

  1. Oprah didn’t solicit alternative LGBT opinion? Okay. I guess it must be commonplace having everyone wired for sound and video there.

  2. Ms. O,

    After hearing the word use “gayer” I thought it had a funny aspect to it. Jonathan laughed and, so did I. But in retrospect if you go back to look at it, of course, you can over analyze it to be offensive.

    It doesn’t embody the entire commentary you wanted to or were meaning to say… that he seemed more like his authentic self, etc. I truly think Jonathan is more freely being himself and is more comfortable being openly gay now. He is not on the “hot seat” of accusation for doing whatever it was during the Terry McMillan fiasco.

    I think as a “gay man” I can sense whose family and when others are being inappropriate. You are an extended family member whose not “family.” I know in your heart what was said wasn’t mean-spirited or meant to offend. Yes, also we as family members say things to each other that don’t come off appropriately, too. Don’t sweat, the small stuff, but thanks for considering it.

    Personally, I think you were trying to edit the longer explanation of “authentic self” discussion to consolidate words and fit within a limited show time frame.

    Love you, down!!!

  3. […] few weeks ago, this blog covered an LGBT incident with Oprah herself on her behind-the-scenes show. This time, much less drama but no less […]

  4. […] 5. Oprah: “You Seem Gayer” […]

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