UPDATED: ABC and The Bachelor producers issued a statement Saturday to address star Juan Pablo Galavais’ comments about gay people. The network and production company Warner Horizon said in a joint statement, “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.”
News broke earlier today that the first Latino Bachelor star told a reporter at an ABC party at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena that a Bachelor who is a gay man would be “more pervert in a sense. To me that show would be too strong, too hard, to watch on TV.”
ABC’s declaration differs from the way A&E handled the somewhat similar Duck Dynasty controversy that erupted last month when co-star Phil Robertson made comments about gay people to GQ magazine. A&E (which, is co-owned by ABC parent Disney) initially put out a statement from Robertson, then followed up with another from the network saying the star was suspended from the show (a position that was later recanted after fan and media criticism protest). ABC’s statement is similar to what some industry insiders privately said A&E should have done instead — just distance the company from the opinions of its star with a brief statement without cutting ties.
Another difference between the two controversies is the reason given for the reality performer’s position. Robertson pegged his statement to his strongly held Christian beliefs. Galavais seemed to position his belief as a product of his upbringing (“Obviously people have their husband and wife and have kids. That’s how we are brought up. It’s hard for me to understand that.”).
UPDATE: Juan Pablo apologized via his Facebook page:
I want to apologize to all the people I may have offended because of my comments on having a Gay or Bisexual Bachelor. 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. Once again, I’m sorry for how my words were taken. I would never disrespect anyone.
Juan Pablo Galavis.
UPDATE II: The Bachelor star spoke to GLAAD by phone. The gay rights organization quoted Galavis via a statement: “I have heard from many gay Latinos today who are hurt because of what I said and I apologize. I know gay parents and I support them and their families. They are good parents and loving families. I am a father and I know the feel of being a father, why wouldn’t I want my gay friends to also be happy parents? I also want gay and lesbian youth to know that it is fine to be who you are. Gay or straight, Black or White, Latin or American, what matters here is to respect who we are. I look forward to meeting with gay and lesbian families as well as Monica and Wilson from GLAAD. Gay and lesbian people, and the children they are raising, wrongfully face discrimination and I want them to know that I’m on their side.”