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'Bachelor' anti-gay remark doesn't speak for Latinos

By Ruben Navarrette, CNN Contributor
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ruben Navarrette says new Latino 'Bachelor' made anti-gay comments in interview
  • He said that gays more 'pervert.' Has he watched his own show, Navarrette asks?
  • Navarrette: For someone from a group discriminated against to discriminate himself is ironic
  • Navarrette: 'Bachelor''s homophobic comments don't speak for Latinos

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter @rubennavarrette.

(CNN) -- The Bachelor sounds like a bigot.

According to TheTVPage.com, Juan Pablo Galavis -- the former Venezuelan soccer player, who is now romancing 27 young ladies on ABC's hit reality show, "The Bachelor" -- has some strong opinions about gays. In response to a question at a network party, on Friday Galavis told the website's editor, Sean Daly that he didn't think it would be good for the show to feature a bachelor who was gay or bisexual. The conversation was recorded.

The problem isn't what he said about the show. He has an opinion, and he's entitled to it. The problem is what comes next: Where he explains his reasons for feeling this way. He starts off by saying, "I don't think it is a good example for kids to watch that on TV."

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

A good example for kids? Has Galavis ever watched the show he's on? You have 27 young ladies backstabbing and preening and scheming to get close to a bachelor and get a red rose, and, they hope -- an engagement ring. Along the way, they proclaim that they've fallen madly in love with and want to spend the rest of their lives with this person they've known for all of 45 minutes, when what they want most is to beat out the other women and win the contest. Is this a good example for kids?

To be fair, in his apology, which Galavis posted later on his Facebook page, he noted: "The show is very racy as it is and I don't let my 5-year-old daughter watch it."

But in his conversation with Daly, Galavis' comments about gays got worse.

He went on:

"Obviously people have their husband and wife and kids and that is how we are brought up. Now there is fathers having kids and all that, and it is hard for me to understand that too in the sense of a household having peoples. ... Two parents sleeping in the same bed and the kid going into bed. ... It is confusing."

Finally, Galavis said, "there's this thing about gay people ... it seems to me, and I don't know if I'm mistaken or not ... but they're more 'pervert' in a sense. And to me the show would be too strong ... too hard to watch."

Ick! This is too hard to listen to. What's more "pervert" -- romancing and smooth-talking a couple dozen women, in and out of hot tubs, or a loving and monogamous same-sex relationship?

According to TVGuide.com, ABC said this in a 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."

And here is some added irony. The first openly anti-gay "Bachelor" also happens to be the first Latino "Bachelor."

What a shocker. Those of us who are part of this community know all too well that it is still infected with too much homophobia. It's hypocritical for anyone in a group that is forever insisting that the rest of society not only tolerate but celebrate that which makes them different (i.e., culture and language) would then attack another group for being different.

Finally, Galavis' statement of contrition Saturday on Facebook also left something to be desired. He said this:

"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. ... Once again, I'm sorry for how my words were taken. I would never disrespect anyone."

Sure, compadre. In the end what else is there to do but play the "I-don't-speak-English-so-good" card?

Dear ABC: My English is good. So, as a U.S.-born Latino, let me be clear: This guy doesn't represent me, or reflect what I believe or what I'm about. Having him on your network isn't going to make me any more likely to tune in or buy stuff I don't need from advertisers. It just makes me embarrassed.

By the way, if one of my three kids turns out to be gay, I'd love them and accept them all the same. On the other hand, if any of them ever goes on this dreadful show of yours, they are out of the will.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ruben Navarrette.

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