Gay Star News interviews celebrities about O'Reilly's view that TV portrayals could lead to 'experimentation'
It's not known if Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly will be watching tonight's Whitney Houston-themed episode of Glee or if he thinks kids who watch it might be influenced into trying cocaine, a drug that contributed to the singer's death.
But O'Reilly did watch last week's episode of the musical dramedy when it featured a transgender student. O'Reilly went on to say that the episode and the show's other LGBT characters might lead some of the kids watching to experiment with their gender identity or sexuality.
'When I was a teenager and I saw James Dean smoking, it made me want to smoke,' he said last Thursday (19 April) on The O'Reilly Factor. 'A lot of these dopey kids are confused about who they are. They’re confused.'
Gay Star News talked to several attendees at Saturday's GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles about O'Reilly's remarks including Chaz Bono, the transgender activist who was honored that night.
'You really have to take the source into account,' Bono said. 'It's Bill O'Reilly. He's certainly not going to say anything positive about LGBT representation on television.'
But does Bono feel frustrated to hear such things after his triumphant run on ABC's Dancing With the Stars last fall seemed to educate so many viewers about transgender people?
'That's not the lesson he wants you to learn,' Bono said. 'He wants you to learn to be closed-minded and bigoted and to think the way that we used to and not to go into a more progressive, open state of mind. You can only really affect people whose hearts and minds are open and so I'm well aware there are people who are never going to understand me or be behind me.'
Two stars of Glee also weighed in on O'Reilly's remarks.
Grant Gustin, who plays gay high school villain Sebastian on the show, said that even if what O'Reilly said were true, what would be wrong with that?
'It's going to create an opportunity for kids to go out and experiment with that they are seeing and for some kids, it's going to be exactly what they needed to be who they are supposed to be,' Gustin said. 'A person is going to be who they're going to be as long as they're allowed.
Max Adler plays former bully Dave Karofsky, a formerly closeted football player who attempts suicide after he is bullied himself.
The actor said of O'Reilly: 'Everyone is entitled to their own opinions so if he wants to say it he can say it.'
But Adler has spoken out eloquently about LGBT equality since joining the show in its first season and continued to in this instance: 'I'm here to stand up for equality and realize that everyone is born the way they are. I don't even think it should be questioned if anyone is a minority, as if there is something even wrong with that. If there are parents who wouldn't want their kids to be like that, that's the wrong way of thinking from the get-go. No matter that your sexual orientation is or how you identify yourself, it shouldn't matter.'
'We're all equals,' he added. 'That's the message we are spreading on Glee, that everyone is equal. I think the fear that stems from a comment like [O'Reilly's] is what inspires all the bullying. It's a vicious cycle.'
GLAAD's new president, Herndon Graddick, also weighed in on the topic: 'I guess I would question Bill O'Reilly as a teenager: 'If you had watched Glee, would you have experimented with being transgender or would you have experimented with being gay?' If the answer is yes, I think he should talk about it on his show.'