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GLAAD calls out CBS for anti-transgender joke on ‘Mike & Molly’

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has denounced the CBS sitcom “Mike & Molly” for what it called an “offensive scene predicated on the hateful notion that transgender people are inherently disgusting.”

The offensive scene came within the first few minutes of the February 11 episode entitled “The Princess and the Troll.” In the scene, the show’s main character Mike is talking with his police partner and best friend Carl about Carl’s checkered romantic past of picking up downtrodden women off the street:

Carl: It’s been a long time since I’ve trolled for bus pass ass.

Mike: (Laughing) Not since the shemale incident of ’08. You spent the whole night crying and gargling!

Carl: Learned a lot of lessons that night.

The use of the derogatory term “shemale” is offensive in and of itself, but Mike goes on to categorize what happened as a traumatic experience which left Carl disgusted and weeping with regret. The joke relies on the assumption that transgender people (and the thought of being with one) are revolting, and invites the audience to laugh right along. And last night that audience was 10.4 million people.

GLAAD said in met with CBS’s Vice President of Diversity and Communications to discuss the show, and that the network has committed to meeting with GLAAD staff to discuss a number of other incidents on CBS comedies and dramas in the past year that increasingly “add up to a disturbing trend.”

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15 more reader comments:

  1. The show promoting fat people is a joke itself.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 1:39pm
  2. who watches CBS ?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 1:49pm
  3. Oh, there was nothing wrong with that joke. Calm down! Focus on politicians who REALLY degrade the LGBTQ community.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 1:51pm
  4. Gays are being murdered and bashed the world over, and GLAAD is bitching about a joke on CBS??? Give me a break! What a waste of time and energy when there are more important issues out there affecting the LGBTQ community.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 1:54pm
  5. I love the smell of receipts in the morning. Lets not worry about the feelings of trans* people…OH NO, that’s too much fucking work for Gay Inc. to be bothered by. First a joke…then the desensitizing, then the not seeing trans people as human, then we’re fucking wondering WHY this is happening to them. Imbeciles. If you can’t be bothered to work on fighting bigotry and bullshit on every part of the ladder, then you can’t really be bothered to be trusted; selective activism is for the fucking birds and folks are showing their asses right now.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 1:59pm
  6. not GLAAD that they’re wasting energy on this

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:03pm
  7. It seems as though we in the LGB community only give a shit about that which hurts the LGB people and that we couldn’t care less about that which hurts the T community. Had this been a joke relating homosexuality to paedophilia we would be outraged and rightfully so. We too should be outraged when a major network airs stupidity which only serves to perpetuate the type of negative image that often leads to transgender/transsexual persons being beaten and/or murdered (at a much higher frequency than the rest of us). I am ashamed of those in this community who act as though transphobia is okay. To those of you who think this is nothing or that it’s okay you should realise that you are equal only to those who seek to oppress us or cause us harm.


    Pissed off lesbian

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:07pm
  8. People, please, if you put the shoe on the other foot and someone used a gay or lesbian slur on the same show you would have a right to be upset. A slur is offensive no matter how it is used, and the word that was used IS a slur. So please quit telling transgender people to accept being made fun of. We’re tired of being told to be quiet while we’re constantly made fun of on various television shows and in real life situations. The joke used in the show is horrible and offensive for all the reasons stated in the article. More people need to take transgender issues seriously.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:13pm
  9. I was going to say something myself, but its already been said. On a side note I’m a little in love with Joseph Coco and Lauren Prescott.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:15pm
  10. I haven’t liked GLAAD for yeeeaaars. They are incredibly self-righteous, and I don’t appreciate them representing all gays in the media.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:25pm
  11. To those that think this isn’t a big deal, that it’s just a stupid joke on a TV show, let me put it in a way that you should understand.
    Let’s say they did a joke the same as this, only instead a white guy had a fling with a black girl and they joked about having to wash the dirt off him at the end of the night, instead.
    Sounds pretty offensive right? It is. And it’s the exact same thing as what this show did.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:36pm
  12. Family Guy did something similar when Quagmire’s father had a sex change, BUT the difference was that even though Brian had a negative reaction at first, he was redeemed at the end. If this show did not somehow redeem the character and have him learn something, then shame on them. We can not allow ignorance and hate – in any form – run the world.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:45pm
  13. The lack of support from GLB here is apalling. And the feigned ignorance as to why this matters is even more apalling. Make a trans friend in real life so you can put a face on the trans community. It will change your outlook. They have the most difficult time of all of us.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 3:47pm
  14. Family Guy did it first. And way better – though it tends to handle the offensive humor tactfully (is that an oxymoron? Probably. But it’s true, they make jokes that by all intents should offend me to my core, but they’re still funny).

    This seems like a very abridged version of that episode. The thing about humor, is it can be offensive. It CAN be funny that way. But it’s delicate, and it requires cracking jokes about it while still looking at the whole issue. That’s why Family Guy succeeded – because they made jokes, but they examined the entire issue culturally. Whatsmore, they portrayed the characters making those jokes as the ones in the wrong, and in the end brought it back around to a message that was understanding. Seth McFarlane does this with LGB all the time (one of his shows has a recurring gay couple) and I don’t think I’ve ever been offended by his gay jokes – they play off the obvious stereotypes, but also fully recognize NOT ALL PEOPLE ARE LIKE THAT.

    I don’t watch Mike & Molly, so I don’t know if there is more context to this, but it sounds like just a backhanded comment, which is not only offensive but also, not very funny in any technical or cultural sense, and kind of sounds like a joke a 13-year-old boy with little grasp on the art of humor who just thinks saying offensive things is funny would make. And that isn’t it. Humor, especially offensive humor I would argue, is an art. One that has to be handled very delicately, and with consideration to culture, audience, and timing. Just like any other form of entertainment.

    An offensive joke should defang a sensitive stereotype or insult, not enable it.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 6:21pm
  15. Please don’t speak for all trans* people on how they’d react. I have gender dysphoria. This wasn’t a big deal at all. It’s a terrible sitcom that makes stupid, predictable jokes. The guy isn’t attracted to transwomen, and took a cheap shot at that fact. It isn’t comparable to being racist, because this isn’t transphobic. It’s about preference. Imagine he said something about thin women being not his type, and making a joke about how they are unappealing to him. He finds the idea of having sex with a transwomen disgusting. I couldn’t care less. Let their crappy show appeal to the ignorant. It won’t last. Changing society isn’t dependable on the media. The media only portrays popular modem belief. Fix the hatred of trans* people by educating our kids. That is worth our time.

    (trans* is inclusive to all within the gender umbrella instead of just transgender individuals)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 10:56pm