Prince Gomolvilas

Baiting Homophobes

Filed By Prince Gomolvilas | March 26, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: ABC, John Quinones, What Would You Do

ABC's hidden-camera program, What Would You Do?, wwyd.jpg dupes people into facing ethical dilemmas that would be considered tasteless if they weren't so damn interesting. John Quinones sets up fake situations that are sometimes racially charged, that sometimes come across as dangerous, and that sometimes appear like children are being endangered. So it was only logical that they would eventually throw gays into the mix to see how strangers would react and capture it on camera.

On this week's episode, a gay male couple was hired to hang out in a sports bar in New Jersey and be very affectionate with each other. Another actor was instructed to make homophobic comments to other bar patrons and eventually to the couple. Would anybody at the bar do anything about the homophobe? Watch:

While some did back up the verbal gay-basher with remarks of their own, many more defended the couple and some even drove the homophobe out of the establishment.

Is the existence of so many good samaritans just a sign of times? Or is it all the result of the circumstances of the experiment - location, amount of people in the bar, aggressiveness of the homophobe, etc.?

Interestingly enough, I discovered that What Would You Do? has conducted PDA (public display of affection) experiments before. Last year, they plopped a kissing male couple onto a park bench in Birmingham, Alabama, where one woman called 9-1-1 on them and manages to get a police car to pay a visit to the scene of the "crime." The two women that ABC hired to show PDA seemed to fare better, titillating some heterosexual males who are lucky enough to walk by. Watch:

Man, I hate this show. But I can't stop watching.

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 27, 2009 11:15 PM

Prince, loved it, it was situation and timing. For thirty years I and my partner have gone to all manner of restaurants (very few Gay bars) and were "known" shall we say. We were fave customers with the owners of totally straight venues. I had to pull my lover into situations publicly where he would feel comfortable as he is older than I.

"You got a problem with them you can leave."

I am sure the regulars know Gay people personally too (or are related to them) and were more open because they have a familiarity.

It should be said that this was not a low end bar or a room full of coal miners either. Something I think is coming is the era of no need whatsoever for a defined "straight" or "gay" bar.

Something I think is coming is the era of no need whatsoever for a defined "straight" or "gay" bar.

...Yes, I think we are inching towards that--look at the crossover of straights hanging out in gay bars. I, unlike some people, have no problem with straight people flooding into gay bars--just means I have more opportunities to convert them! :)

tobyhannabill | March 28, 2009 10:11 AM

I love experiments like this. Biggots are only biggots when surrounded by other biggots. The protesters at my local Pridefest always meet up a distance away before coming to our event. NEPA Pridefest 2009 will go on regardless of their insane rants.

Gerri Ladene | March 28, 2009 11:21 AM

Thanks for posting this Prince. I really need to link up to YouTube's “What would you do!” videos and keep up with the show since I do not watch TV that often!

I thought ABC did an excellent in posting the visually obvious in their "What would you do?" take on same sex public display of affection! It just goes to show that those who did not approve, felt that you should not show affection for one another in public! Those people must continually be in a rush to get home so they can be behind closed doors in order to express their own conception of what love is, and feeling ashamed about it afterwards. I wonder if they ask their god permission first?

Those people who showed disgust or made derogatory comments and claiming “god says” have little or no idea on what their comment is based of why they even believe it! I noticed the bitterness toward open love was obvious among the few who felt it was unacceptable behavior (people who are bitter with life) and the acceptance by those who were open to public loving expression were totally in tune with natural human experience (people who love life)! I feel those people who said their god says it's wrong really need to get in touch with a goddess/god that teaches them to enjoy life and get on with it! Of course it was the bible belt bigots who always make the comments about god, the NJ crowd have a different perspective. There is such a contrast in region.

I laughed when the homophobe was called out on his on his comments at the NJ bar afterward, clearly no balls to back up his bigoted display of ignorance! He must have been a dis-placed Mormon! Are there any bars in Salt Lake City? ABC should try shooting a segment like this one in Utah, land of the anti-love funders...... How about that Robert?

I've been discussing with 2 professional photographers about doing a similar thing to record people's reactions to 2 men showing affection in public. We're being smart, with lots of safe guards for security. Also helps to have video/photo proof if any violence occurs.

My partner is 63 and I'm 43, and the general public RARELY (if ever) sees 2 men like us shoiwng affection.

Longtime Companions

I wish John Quinones would choose DIFFERENT gays next time. He seems to always choose 2 young men (because that is the "face" of gay). I wanna see a super-butch lesbian with a fem partner, or 2 big BEARS, or an extremely "muscled man" (as in he could kick ANYONE'S ass if needed) with a twink. In other words - NOT "T.V. Will & Grace Gays", but the REST of us!

Regan DuCasse | March 28, 2009 3:10 PM

I like this show. This is a serious expose on abusers and the abused. Or people who come from a minority that is traditionally kept at a distance as an 'other' such as the black woman shopper.

Some of us who are women, or are of color or who are gay, know too well that it's sometimes just plain blind luck that we haven't been publicly upbraided and humiliated because of what we are, not because we were doing anything considered inappropriate by anyone else who isn't us.

Note how often it's women who step up in defense of someone being abused.
Note how often they are VERY emotional after they find out it's a set up. They aren't angry, they are sensitive and can empathize fully with whatever they witness.

Why not put a mirror to someone's lack of that empathy, or to their hypocrisy, whatever...when they are confronted with an issue that will show them as a hero, or zero.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | March 29, 2009 1:30 PM

I saw the first video posted by Pam Spalding over at Pandangon and was a bit surprised by the comments there. So many folks were blase, others were critical of ABC for (allegedly) choosing a locale near NYC, or resentful of coastal residents who were supposedly criticizing the flyover states.

Me? I found the ABC video astonishing. Maybe it's because I grew up in the Dark-Ages before the Web or even sex-ed in the schools. Or maybe it's the threats I've encountered through the decades as both a woman and a man. But the idea that two men, no matter if they're young and good-looking, white, or whatever, could kiss and hug in a straight sports bar and BE DEFENDED by other straight patrons who didn't personally know them?!

We have made progress, folks.

Yeah, I think that part of the problem here is that gays often overestimate the amount of homophobia out there, or mis-estimate. Outside of the gay-borhood here in town, we rarely see two dudes holding hands. Sure, people yell at us from their cars, but whatever, nothing's happened so far. :)

I thought the title was "Biting Homophobes" which also sounded like a good idea!

I'm curious to know what the results would be if the women kissing were butch rather than femme and the men kissing weren't as well groomed... not that butches aren't well groomed - but I do think there would have been a much stronger public reaction.