The star of ABC’s “The Bachelor” made anti-gay comments that drew a swift rebuke from the network and an apology from the bachelor himself over the weekend.
Juan Pablo Galavis told The TV Page website that he didn’t think a gay or bisexual bachelor would set a good example for kids. Galavis also told the site that gays were more “pervert, in a sense,” adding that he could be mistaken.
Over the weekend, Galavis posted an apology on his Facebook page, saying he respects gay people, has gay friends, including one “who’s like a brother,” and regrets using the word “pervert.” Galavis blamed that latter word choice on the fact that English is his second language, after Spanish.
“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,” the single dad from Miami wrote online.
In apologizing, Galavis said his remarks were taken out of context and the full interview posted online by The TV Page demonstrates his respect for gay people and their families.
In a statement, ABC called his comments “careless, thoughtless and insensitive” and not representative of those of the network, the show’s producers or the studio.
“The Bachelor” returned Jan. 6 for its 18th edition.
Galavis released a follow-up statement through GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
“I have heard from many gay Latinos today who are hurt because of what I said and I apologize,” he said. “I know gay parents and I support them and their families. They are good parents and loving families.”
On his Facebook page, Galavis identifies himself as a sports and music consultant who was U.S.-born and raised in Venezuela.
He said he wants gay and lesbian youth “to know that it is fine to be who you are,” adding that he plans to meet with gay and lesbian families so they “know that I’m on their side” in rejecting discrimination.
Monica Trasandes, GLAAD’s director of Spanish-language and Latino media, said the group looks forward to working with Galavis in Los Angeles this week to “help educate his fans about who gay and lesbian parents are.”
“Study after study shows that young people raised by gay parents are as happy and healthy as other young people,” Trasandes said.
He is the second reality TV star to draw recent attention over anti-gay comments. A&E briefly suspended “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson after he labeled gays as sinners in a GQ magazine interview and contended that African-Americans were happy under Jim Crow laws.
Unlike Galavis, Robertson did not publicly clarify or apologize for his comments.
“Duck Dynasty” returned for its fifth season last Wednesday, and the ratings weren’t a clear indicator of any fallout from the flap: The audience of 8.5 million viewers was slightly larger than that watching the fourth-season finale, but it was smaller than the 12 million who watched the fourth-season premiere.
The “Bachelor” debut episode drew 8.6 million viewers to rank No. 22 among prime-time series for the week, according to Nielsen company figures.