TLC pulls anti-transgender ‘Cake Boss’ episode


An episode of “Cake Boss” has been pulled from TLC’s broadcast cycle because of it’s treatment of transgender guest star Carmen Carrera.

Carrera, a former contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” says she was invited to appear on the show by Cake Boss bakery owner Buddy Valastro to prank “Cousin Anthony” Bellifemine.

But Carrera says the episode mocked her and the transgender community.

“At the end of the day, I want to promote equality and end ignorance. Transgender people are dying because of stupidity like this. It is not OK,” Carrera said.

On the televised program, she flirted with Bellifemine, who asked for her number. She kissed Bellifemine on the cheek and Valastro shouted to Bellifemine, “That’s a man, baby.”

Before taping the segment, Carrera said she had talked with the show’s producers about appropriate language and other matters. She also said, on her Facebook page, that what happened on the set is not what is shown in the edited TV episode.

“I thought this would be perfect to raise awareness about transgender discrimination and send a positive message to this audience,” she said. “I was going to go in there, flirt a little bit and then it would be revealed I was transgender and people could see it is not embarrassing to flirt with a transgender woman or to find a transgender woman sexy or attractive.”

She has received apologies from both Valastro and TLC, along with the commitment to pull the episode from the air.

Valastro said on his Facebook page, “I’ve been trying to connect with Carmen and apologize to her directly, but also think I owe an apology to the entire LGBT community. It was absolutely not my intention to upset or offend her, or anyone within the community, and I was wrong to use the words I did. I am a supporter of gay rights and equality, and while I regret this situation and my choice of words, I am thankful to have received this feedback and the opportunity to learn from this mistake. I hope that Carmen accepts my sincere regrets.”

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said the network’s response was welcome and needed.

“Cake Boss,” now in season 5, takes place in Hoboken, N.J.

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