Dustin Lance Black: 'So much of what's important in this movement is education and outreach'
Carson Daly's speedy apologies for jokes he made about gay people this week seemed to have most people in a forgiving mood at a star-studded party Thursday (29 March) marking the 45th anniversary of The Advocate, the oldest LGBT magazine in the US.
'He's apologized multiple times and I believe it was sincere,' blogger Perez Hilton told Gay Star News. 'It's a teachable moment for him and other people. I love those teachable moments like Oprah says.'
Daly, host of NBC's The Voice, said on his LA morning radio show this week that gay people could not have subdued a JetBlue pilot who went berserk on a flight from New York to Las Vegas this week.
'Most of the people were on their way to some sort of security conference in Las Vegas … it was like a bunch of dudes and well trained dudes … thank God,' he said. 'With my luck, it would be like … 'this is the flight going to [the gay pride convention] in San Francisco.'
He quickly issued an apology via Twitter once his remarks were reported on by the site TMZ.com and later issued a more detailed apology saying 'The fact that I have hurt anyone is devastating. I'm not that guy. I'm proud to be an ally of the LGBT community and will continue to fight with them.'
Comic and actor Jason Stuart couldn't resist the opportunity to make some fun of Daly at The Advocate party telling GSN: 'Eat something, you're starving, you're delirious. He's so thin he doesn't know who he is or what's going on. I think he's exhausted and was just about to faint and he said something stupid like we all do when we're going to faint.'
Stuart then added, more seriously: 'I think he meant it as a comedian and as a comic I understand that sometimes you just say things. You're trying to be funny and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But it does effect us and if you're going to speak to people in large groups, you have to take the responsibility – the good and the bad. We've all made mistakes.'
Drag star Coco Peru, (aka Clinton Leupp), also had some fun with Daly's comments: 'He's obviously never heard of Coco Peru. I have tricks up my sleeve. I'm actually one of the crazy people who sits on a plane and thinks, 'What could I do to bring somebody down?' I've got a whole slew of ideas.'
Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar winning screenwriter and one of the founders of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, doesn't think Daly should be shunned or fired for his remarks – as long as he and others can learn from them.
"I always look at these as learning moments,' Black said. 'So whenever they say something wrong – and a lot of Americans think it and still leans on these stereotypes, these myths about gay people – and when someone slips and one slips out, it's probably something they learned early on. Then they apologize and correct the record. I think that's a learning moment for the country.'
He added: 'In a way, it's a terrible thing to have happen but it's good that the country gets to learn. So much of what's important in this movement is education and outreach. We don't always do enough of it. So if someone gets it wrong, if we can reach out and teach them the truth, and they're willing to learn that truth and apologize for their mistakes, that's what we've got to do more of.'
Black pointed out that homophobic remarks are not limited to high-profile celebrities caught making a gaffe.
'We've got to start reaching out to other communities that do it even more than Carson Daly,' he said. 'We have religious communities and racial minority communities that we need to do a lot more of that outreach, education and allow them to catch up.'