During an interview with a reporter from The TV Page, Sean Daly, JP Galavais, who’s currently the Bachelor, looking for love with one of 25 or so women on the hit ABC reality show, said he didn’t think it would be appropriate for a gay or bisexual star to appear on the show.
A former Venezuelan soccer player and former contestant on The Bachelorette, Juan Pablo has been wooing the ladies (on TV and in the audience) for the past couple of weeks. In fact, the debut of his season of the show was the highest in three years, up 17 percent from a year ago.
So the comments revealed today (said during the Television Critics Association press tour), in addition to being offensive, come at a time when ABC would much rather be celebrating the success of the program.
When asked whether there should be an LGBT Bachelor or Bachelorette, Juan Pablo said no because he doesn’t think “it is a good example for kids to watch that on TV.”
“Two parents sleeping in the same bed and the kid going into bed… It is confusing in a sense. But I respect them because they want to have kids,” he continued. He then went on say the show would be too “hard” with a gay star and accused gays of being “more pervert in a sense.” He also tossed in a few references to all the gay friends he has throughout these comments. Audio of the conversation accompanies the reports of this two-minute exchange.
ABC wasted no time condemning the remarks, releasing a statement alongside the production company Warner Horizon: “Juan Pablo’s comments were careless, thoughtless and insensitive, and in no way reflect the views of the network, the show’s producers or studio.”
Juan Pablo acted quickly as well, taking to his Facebook page to post an apology/explanation. It reads, in part:
The comment was taken out of context. If you listen to the entire interview, there’s nothing but respect for Gay people and their families. I have many gay friends and one of my closest friends who’s like a brother has been a constant in my life especially during the past 5 months. The word pervert was not what I meant to say and I am very sorry about it. Everyone knows English is my second language and my vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish and, because of this, sometimes I use the wrong words to express myself. What I meant to say was that gay people are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience this would be too racy to accept. The show is very racy as it is and I don’t let my 5 year old daughter watch it.
First, let me just say, in general, I’m tired of reading apologies from people who’ve said offensive things then say the comments were taken “out of context.” No no no no no. Some things, no matter how you say it or in what context it’s said, are just wrong.
But he also emphasizes the language barrier, both on Facebook and in the following tweet:
For ABC, the big issue now is how this will impact the success of the show. Negative comments are already going up on social media and around the Internet, and there’s sure to be some people who won’t watch because of the controversy. Episodes air tomorrow and Monday.
Update, January 21: Juan Pablo has apologized anew, this time with some help from GLAAD. Moreover, he’s going to be meeting with Latino LGBT families this week. Sounds like, with a little time, the crisis plan has taken shape. And ABC execs are surely breathing a sigh of relief about ratings, which held steady this week compared to last week.