What a year! Sadly, 2011 was rife with so-called celebrities using their marginal fame to rail against the rights and dignity of their fellow humans. The majority of these over-compensated blowhards used their platforms to practice homophobia and misogyny. The summer was particularly loaded with such stories, giving us no fewer than six bigots of the week. The abusers ranged from Adam Carolla’s homophobic rants to Damali Keith’s insulting coverage of Glee on Faux News, from David Tyree’s anti-gay screed to rappers Tyler the Creator and Cee-Lo accusing anyone offended by their talentless bloviating of being gay.
Perhaps the champ was hypothetical comedian Tracy Morgan, whose virulently homophobic and misogynistic performance in Nashville last June threatened to overwhelm his career. It also provided an opportunity for others to show their cowardice or their courage. Jeers to 30 Rock creator and co-star Tina Fey for defending Morgan. Comedian Chris Rock was a mixed bag, initially defending Morgan from a comedy-can-be-edgy platform and then wisely backing down when he looked at the content more closely. Cheers to Wanda Sykes, who wittily dismantled Morgan’s ranting, exposing hate for what it is.
Celebrities derive their fame, money, and power from the people who watch and pay them. We must hold them accountable when they abuse that power to oppress anyone.
FLASHBACK: The 2010 #5 Bigot of the Year was the Tea Party for spewing its toxicity into our national dialogue.