6.23.11 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotCelebrity gossip news has never really done much for me. Charlie Sheen’s meltdown? Didn’t really care. Lindsay Lohan’s 70th arrest? Phhhht! Anthony Weiner’s Twitter scandal? Okay, I admit I Googled the images related to that one.

But 99% of the time, the day-to-day trials and tribulations of celebrities is a total afterthought. So I surprised my friends and myself when I took a few recent celebrity news items personally.

It takes a lot to piss me off. I’m laid back and really good at letting things roll off my back. The uneducated among us are entitled to opinions, I usually think to myself, before moving on to whatever distraction is piled on my desk.

But recent, specific instances really got under my skin, and I think they broke the proverbial camel’s back when it comes to anti-LGBT bullying in the media.

Case in point: When it started earlier this year, I was glued to The Voice on NBC every week. As a music fan and American Idol watcher, I was happy to see a show that could rival the FOX staple. The anticipation accompanying the spin of the massive swivel thrones of Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Ce-Lo Green and Blake Shelton was addictive.

But the country star I had never heard of before turned me off.

When Shelton tweeted his rewrite to the Shania Twain hit, Any Man of Mine, he typed Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin,’ heaving kind of guy (sic). When confronted about the statements he tweeted back, If only people knew even a little about me, my family and friends. Dumb asses.

I shrugged, realized that country music hadn’t had come as far as I had hoped and I stopped watching the hit music show.

Since the debacle, Shelton has come to understand the concerns so many had over the tweet and has gone on to apologize, saying he loves everybody. That appeared to be enough calm GLAAD and fellow coach and LGBT advocate Adam Levine.

But how is that enough? A star with millions of fans can advocate violence against gays whether intentionally or not and a simple tweet is enough?

I may be overreacting, but I haven’t watched The Voice since. I know my refusal to tune in hasn’t hurt the show’s ratings, but until he’s gone, you can bet I’ll stay away.

I’m a little more confident that the Tracy Morgan fiasco will have a better chance of turning a negative into a positive. As almost everyone on the planet knows, the former Saturday Night Live comedian went on an anti-gay tirade on a Nashville Stage earlier this month, saying he would stab his son if he spoke in a gay voice and that same-sex attraction between women is a myth.

We’ve covered the story extensively on Watermark Online and it’s been all over social media sites. Since his medic experiment, Morgan has apologized and even went as far as to meet with parents of LGBT children who have either survived anti-LGBT violence or lost their lives to it. It looks like a step in the right direction and hopefully Morgan and his fans have learned that anti-LGBT speech is unacceptable.

Many have said they will no longer watch Morgan’s NBC show 30 Rock. I am among them although I have to admit I’ve never seen an episode, so avoiding it won’t be too difficult.

It’s hard to keep up with who’s with us and who’s against us these days, but it’s important for us to do our best to sort it out.

As we celebrate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots at St. Pete Pride and at celebrations across the nation, we should be reminded of what we can accomplish if we stick together as one voice.

Social media makes it easy for our voices to be heard. So when a celebrity threatens violence toward LGBTs, stand your ground. Tell your family members their gay joke offended you or that their separate but equal stance on marriage equality just doesn’t cut it.

Maybe then we can get back to focusing on that 1% of celebrity gossip news that’s worthy of our search engines.

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