This week's episode of Glee featured the show's first transgender character and Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly thinks this might lead some of the kids watching to experiment with their gender identity or sexuality.
'If you make the behavior of these people ... if children hear it, unsupervised children, okay who don’t have parents watching -- they might go out and experiment with this stuff,' O'Reilly said on Thursday's (19 April) episode of The O'Reilly Factor. 'When I was a teenager and I saw James Dean smoking, it made me want to smoke. ... A lot of these dopey kids are confused about who they are. They’re confused.'
One of O'Reilly's guests, Judge Jeanine Pirro, tried to set him straight: 'Do you really think that this is the kind of thing that's contagious? That if kids see this they'll say, 'Gee, I want to be a girl and wear my mom's high heels?''
Another guest, Gretchen Carlson, co-host of the morning show Fox & Friends, was also on the panel. She said she didn't think watching Glee would 'suddenly make kids transgender,' but she believes the shows gay characters could lead to 'experimentation.'
'I wholeheartedly believe, in today’s society, that kids are experimenting with homosexuality,' Carlson said. 'We see it in celebrities who maybe just do it on the side, and it may be drug-fueled...I totally agree with Bill that this causes kids to experiment. And if we didn’t– why do we have any rules in society then if we don’t try and set some parameters for our children to live their lives? I just think that this is way over the top.'
Pirro countered by saying: 'That's one of those things that you can't change about yourself because you think it's interesting.'
Carlson complained that by featuring a transgender character, Glee is 'pandering to the .3 percent of the population who consider themselves transgender.'
Pirro didn't disagree with Carlson's statistics but said the approximately 700,000 transgender people in the US could benefit by seeing themselves: 'What you've got are teens who have this problem who can watch this show, [teens] who are being bullied, who suffer from depression, kids who are more homeless statistically than other kids ultimately. They have someone to relate to. Make no mistake - this is about the reality of the world that we live in. This isn't make believe.'