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Mr. T on O'Reilly Factor: I am not a Homophobic Gay Basher

On Wednesday night's O'Reilly Factor, Mr. T defended himself and the homophobic Snicker's speedwalker ad pulled by Mars:

Mrt"To whom it may concern. Let my record speak for me. I am not homophobic. I am not a gay basher. I did not say anything that was negative nor derogatory nor disrespectful nor malicious, and I would never do a commercial if I thought it was offensive to anyone. Bill, speedwalking is an Olympic sport and that's the way speedwalkers walk. And the phrase 'get some nuts' refers to Snicker's candy bar having more peanuts. In the movie Rocky III I call Rocky Balboa a disgrace to boxing because he wouldn't fight a real man. There was no problem nor no complaints. March 31, 19896, the first Wrestlemania, I called this wrestler Roddy Roddy Piper a disgrace to wrestling because he was a dirty wrestler. No problem. No complaints. On the A-Team, I called the bad guys a disgrace because they was harassin' helpless people. No problems. No complaints. I have been pityin' fools for 28 years Bill, and it was never personal. Why didn't somebody talk to the actor who played speedwalker? He will tell you about my character."

While the ad is clearly homophobic, is there a way to test the legitimacy of the complaints? Shoot the ad again. This time use the most masculine man you can find, and don't focus on the swishy ass. Would the ad get its point across using the same script? Does anybody think the phrase "get some nuts" refers just to peanuts and not testicles? I don't think so. It clearly only works when effeminate stereotypes are present, stereotypes that have been used time and time again to defame gays.

Watch the O'Reilly clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Oh lawd, we've hashed this one out enough.

    Let's talk about a new controversy... why in the hell is walking fast without bending your knees an Olympic sport?

    Posted by: crispy | Aug 7, 2008 6:01:27 PM

  2. Sometimes speedwalkers are just speedwalkers and not representatives of the entire gay community.

    Posted by: Karl | Aug 7, 2008 6:04:07 PM

  3. I agree with Karl. Sometimes we just need to let things go and not get all caught up in them. There are levels of homophobia. Plus, we just need to develop a sense of humor about some of this.

    Posted by: Matthew | Aug 7, 2008 6:08:38 PM

  4. I have been pityin' foo's for the past twenty-six years.

    Posted by: KurtTO | Aug 7, 2008 6:12:28 PM

  5. sorry, but the ad was NOT homophobic to me.

    Posted by: johnosahon | Aug 7, 2008 6:17:33 PM

  6. The ad is only "homophobic" if you necessarily equate effeminacy with homosexuality - and to see gay people doing just that in an attempt to make some misguided point about homophobia, in the process doing the very same stereotyping that we so often decry, is a great embarassment.

    Posted by: Jordan | Aug 7, 2008 6:17:56 PM

  7. I don't think there's anything "clearly homophobic" about the ad. Because speedwalkers do just look silly.

    Now, thinking speedwalking looks gay... there may be some homophobia in that...

    Posted by: dekko | Aug 7, 2008 6:27:36 PM

  8. Ah, I see I'm a little late to the shithead apologists parade! Carry on self-haters.

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Aug 7, 2008 6:28:26 PM

  9. @Jordan: Amen to that.

    Posted by: Ryan | Aug 7, 2008 6:35:30 PM

  10. It's a foolish ad, but I don't see it as homophobic, because the alleged homophobia is not explicit. It depends on the perception of each viewer.

    Posted by: Peter | Aug 7, 2008 6:57:47 PM

  11. To be technical, I would say the ad is more disrespectful of gender identity issues than of homosexuality. It is suggesting that men should never act in an "effeminate" manner, and strikes at masculinity issues.

    Granted, that tends to cross over into homophobia in today's society, where being gay is equated with being "less than a real man."

    Posted by: gay as life | Aug 7, 2008 7:02:16 PM

  12. I pity da fool that hires me!

    Posted by: davefromtampa | Aug 7, 2008 7:09:33 PM

  13. Thanks for having the balls, Andy, to stick to your laser-perfect opinion about this knowing that the Uncle Tomisina's would once again come to Massa's defense.

    Gay pride is melting, melting I say!

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Aug 7, 2008 7:13:04 PM

  14. A speedwalker sticks his ass out and holds his hands up in the air as he walks. These are stereotypes for gay men, and although not necessarily true they are stereotypes that the general public will recognize and associate with gay men. The ad agency knows this very well, and knows the public will eat up that representation and the crude joke that follows, asserting that a real man should not act as the stereotype of a gay man acts. If speedwalking looked "funny" in another way (lets say if speed walkers held their hands above their heads or flapped their arms at their sides instead of swishing their asses), the reference and therefore the commercial would be lost completely.
    Let me be as clear as possible: speed walkers look "funny" to the ad's audience because the slack-jawed, snickers-eating, Mr. T-loving, McDonald's-going American public thinks they walk like fags. "Run like a real man!" and "get some nuts!" refer _directly_ to this. I cannot comprehend how anyone fails to see that this is directly connected to gay stereotype.

    Posted by: scientitian | Aug 7, 2008 8:06:49 PM

  15. If you call this ad homophobic then you are saying that the speedwalker is gay. Where in the commercial does it say anything about his sexuality? So everyone who goes speedwalking is gay now? And if Mr. T shouts to them "get some nuts" then he's a homophobe? Oh please, you guys are ridiculous. Get over it, it's not homophobic.

    Posted by: Kurt | Aug 7, 2008 8:50:00 PM

  16. I thought the gay stereotype in this ad was Mr. T

    Posted by: djsauvage | Aug 7, 2008 9:28:49 PM

  17. The ad is offensive because it celebrates an assault on a man who is deemed insufficiently masculine. Gay men who hate sissies will not be offended by the ad, and they are right to find that it is not homophobic. Gay men can be worse than others when rejecting men who do not strictly follow gender stereotypes. The discrimination suffered by gays today is trivial in comparison to the abuse heaped upon trans people.

    For what it's worth, I believe that Mr. T had no intent to bash gay men and I would disagree with anyone who criticized him for making the ad. Mars, which is running its second ad in as many years linking Snickers consumption to bigoted violence, is the villain here. I will not buy their products any more. This is tough because there are tons of them, but I think it is called for.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Aug 7, 2008 9:45:05 PM

  18. I think the ad incitates to violence against effeminate men (gay or straight), and because this kind of violences is an actual trouble in USA the ad is irresponsible. The ad isn't offensive, it's worse, it incitates to violence. Why that man is "a disgrace for the human race"?

    Sorry for my bad English.

    Posted by: Fernando | Aug 7, 2008 10:01:18 PM

  19. Kurt, it's called subtext, and it requires you to read between the lines. The ad shows an effeminate man wearing short-shorts and sashaying down the street. Gay men are stereotyped as effeminate; short-shorts are depicted as gay in popular culture; sashaying is also stereotypical gay behavior (it's even referred to as "swishing" sometimes). Sorry, but the guys saying that this is not homophobic seem really stupid to me, like they're just not very bright and either did not go to college; or did not study well; or did not study anything that fosters the ability to read and interpret critically; or are still very young and just have not developed those skills yet. Of course, some of them are just trolls trying to make the rest of us angry by playing dumb, but that's not very intelligent behavior, either.

    Posted by: White Collar Boy | Aug 7, 2008 10:28:16 PM

  20. Pathetic. Only one word describes this kind of advertising, and I will NEVER give out their sorry ass candy to the 300 kids who come to my door at Halloweeen. FUCK these candy makers.
    I am sick of their spokesman, and their sorry ass message. No, I do not accept their excuse, and NO I do not want to ever hear from their ad reps in any forum again.
    -Dan O'Neil,
    Bend Oregon

    Posted by: Daniel Oneil | Aug 7, 2008 10:40:17 PM

  21. This ad is clearly homophobic ,its intent is to appeal to sublte homophobia and people who dont see this must be voting for John Mccain. Get some nuts is clearly talking about more than the candy-bar,and violence towards anyone percieved as a bit effiminite is clearly the message here. Wow the fact that some gay people dont see that ,or all people is mind-boggling to me.

    Posted by: chad | Aug 7, 2008 10:56:46 PM

  22. I love Mr. T and I LOL'ed when he said that he's been "pityin fools for 28 years"! Love him.

    Loved him when he had Boy George on the A-Team when I was a wee lad, and I love him now.

    Up in the air about the commercial. I can see both sides, but it makes me a little uncomfortable.

    I could still use a little more Mr. T though.

    Posted by: paul | Aug 7, 2008 11:00:22 PM

  23. I never saw the ad as homophobic, I've never associated speedwalking with being gay, I've never seen or known a gay guy who speedwalks. I think speedwalking looks stupid no matter who's doing it, male or female. I really think this is jumping the gun, and to White Collar, subtext can also be subjective, people two different people can get two completely different interpretations of a situation. Just because someone doesn't have the same vision, doesn't give you the right to insult them. Just because you associate certain things with being gay, doesn't mean everyone does.

    Posted by: PeKeMo | Aug 8, 2008 12:03:23 AM

  24. WTF why don't people just freaking relax!!! With all the issues that gay's face this is so stupid to give it any merit. Get over it you bunch of cry babies. FU Bill O' Reilly he is the gay's real homophobic turd.

    Posted by: wslandry | Aug 8, 2008 12:43:20 AM

  25. PEKEMO, that's an incredibly stupid argument, and it's exactly what I was talking about. I am not the only one who associates swishing with being gay, or short-shorts on a man with being gay, or effeminacy with being gay. Those are widespread cultural stereotypes. Any reasonable person in our culture would recognize them as such, especially if it were pointed out to them. Give the speedwalker a limp wrist instead, and I'm sure you'd make the same stupid argument.

    Posted by: White Collar Boy | Aug 8, 2008 1:03:32 AM

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