Nigel Lythgoe Responds: Not a Fan of ‘Brokeback’ Ballroom – Update

Nigellythgoe #sytycd

Nigel Lythgoe of So You Think You Can Dance responds on Twitter to internet uproar over his homophobic remarks on last night's show in response to a pair of same-sex dancers.

If you missed it, all the background is HERE.

UPDATE. Nigel Lythgoe issued an apology for his remarks. Here is his statement, via GLAAD:

“I sincerely regret the fact that I have upset people
with the poor word choices and comments I made both during the taping
of the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ audition and on my personal status
update. I am not homophobic and it was extremely upsetting for me to be
classed as such.

I have been forthright and consistent with my opinion,
as a judge, that professional male dancers should move with strength
and agility — like Gene Kelly and Rudolph Nureyev.  I now realize how
this could be misconstrued.

I have been a dancer, and involved in the dance world,
for nearly 50 years. Professionally and personally, I believe the
sexual orientation of an auditioner or contestant is irrelevant.  All
that said, the fact that I have unintentionally upset people is
distressing to me and it is obvious I have made mistakes that I must
learn from. I trust that my humor will be more sensitive and mindful
moving forward.”

Said GLAAD President Neil Giuliano: “We certainly appreciate the dialogue, and the opportunity for Nigel to
help further educate people about how words and images matter. His sincere words are appreciated, and we look forward to
words, images and representations of the LGBT community on So You Think You Can Dance that will be fair, accurate and inclusive in the future.”


  1. Wes says

    Hatred towards “effeminate” men is still a very serious prejudice and bigotry, one that even many gay men seem to possess.

    Further, it is rooted in misogyny and the belief that womanly equals weak and inferior.

  2. says

    I so totally don’t care about this show, but being told you’re too effeminate by a man sporting a feather job not unlike Farrah Fawcett’s in the late 1970s must be a terrific blow. This guy’s a total douche, this much is at least clear.

  3. g_whiz says

    Heh. not that I expect anyone to conform to stereotypes…but, isn’t he a bit dense coming on so strong with the heterosexist angle on a show…about effing dancing? As if that didn’t have “gay demographic” written all over it. I couldn’t give a toss about network dancing shows…I DO take quite seriously the language, and reaction he used and is continuing to use. Not at all impressed.

  4. Torb says

    I find it funny that he places a negative connotation to what is considered effeminate. As if effeminate guys are to blame for the negativity in his comments and the social standpoint taken by others, and not his/their own unsupported prejudice. Regardless, it is clear he does not like two guys dancing together if it is not platonic.
    Translation = Homophobe.

  5. Wes says

    “He is right that being gay doesn’t necessarily mean being effeminate, something that seems to be lost on many people.”

    True, but whats wrong with being effeminate?

    He’s still being an insulting douchebag.

  6. jimmyboyo says

    Where the F are his PR people?

    It would have been better to say nothing that what he did in his response. just digging deeper

    The show’s freaking largest demographic is gays and the fag hags that love them.

    This show will be way down in the ratings this season , MARK MY words

  7. Bruno says

    The most inane set of rationalizations I’ve seen in awhile. He may be gay himself for all I know or care, what he said was still highly homophobic.

  8. Ralph says

    Sissyphobia: Gay Men and Effeminate Behavior is a book by Tim Bergling.

    The neologism “sissyphobia” refers to the fear, dislike or hatred of effeminate men, or “sissies.”

    The term itself is analogous to “homophobia”.

    Bergling argues that sissyphobia is common among American gay men, who often celebrate male femininity in some contexts (drag performance, for example), but who rarely consider it an attractive characteristic. Bergling points towards tropes now common in personal ads, including “straight acting,” now a common term in Western gay newspapers.

    This is in marked contrast to much American lesbian culture, in which drag kings, female-to-male transsexuals and butch women are often “in demand.”

    In fact, a significant number of Western gay men are not attracted to or even hostile towards “sissies.”

    In Bergling’s opinion, possible reasons may include a desire for gay men to assimilate and ingrained sexism.

    More broadly, some feminists claim that “straight” Western society is “sissyphobic” or hostile towards effeminate men, and that in many areas mainstream acceptance of gays is contingent upon their conforming to male sex stereotypes.

  9. woodroad34 says

    What I found intriguing was that one of them identified as straight and the other gay. That didn’t seem to be commented on at all, oddly. And, frankly, I thought the gay guy danced better and seemed more aggressive and confident; maybe it’s because the “straight” guy wasn’t used to following or had that last little vestige of fear of being perceived as gay. I also felt, that perhaps a tango would have been a better choice than a cha-cha–and come on, sashes? Straight America has more voters than gay voters and it could have been made more palatable without losing the gay meme. With that said, Mr. Lythgoe with his Farah Fawcett long hair, thin face and pouty lips has much to answer for. Ron Reagan Jr, after pouncing on Rush Limbaugh for his condemantion of Nancy Pelosi’s looks, will be coming after Mr. Lythgoe next:

  10. Ed says

    Yeah, he clearly doesn’t get homophobia. The gay jock quarterback in high school that can “pass” as straight doesn’t bother him. Its the sissy queen that he thinks needs to pushed to the side.

    Yeah, someone’s got some internalized homophobia methinks.

  11. Brian says

    it’s funny that he tries to parse the difference between effeminacy and gayness now. he already said he didn’t like “Brokeback Ballroom.”

  12. Wes says

    I love the attempt to switch the accusation of prejudice.

    Oh, but YOU’RE the one equating homosexuality with effeminacy. YOU are the ones stereotyping!

    How deep.

    Fuck you anti-effeminate bitches. I’m not even particularly effeminate (through no concious decision of my own, though I have my moments), but the level of prejudice hurled at feminine guys deeply disgusts me. Especially when it comes from a self-loathing queer.

    Sexual attraction is one thing. I myself am not particularly attracted to feminine types. But basic respect and decency is another.

    Just remember every time you look in the mirror, you’re still a fag. Just as much of a fag as any of us, bitch!

  13. paul c says

    Their routine and costumes were very reminiscent of Blades of Glory…he’s right about that.

    Wasn’t their reason for dancing together that they couldn’t get other partners? That’s pretty ludicrous considering the ratio of female dancers to male dancers.

    And am I the only one who didn’t believe the gay dancer’s given age of 26? Or that the “straight” dancer wasn’t actually gay?

    Beyond that Lythgoe is obviously bigotted towards effeminate men. This is the same garbage that is being done in figure skating – trying to “de-gay” it to make it “acceptable” to bigots – which is akin to having white singers like Pat Boone record “acceptable” versions of songs by black artists in the 50’s. It’s a load of crap.

    Not surprised that this douche uses Twitter either.

  14. Automotive Enthusiast says

    Str8 guys are well known for pulling this kind of bullshit ALL THE TIME!!!

    Ive heard it all before.

    “Im not a homophobe,Im cool with gay people,I just dont like seeing 2 guys kissing,dancing with each other,or holding each other’s hands”

    In translation: “I dont like fags,they are not allowed to be themselves in my presence.But I dont mind seeing 2 girls make out,its fun too watch 2 girls make out and undress each other.But 2 guys is nasty”

    “I have no problem with gays,as long as they know not to touch me”

    Translation: “I hate queers/fags,if they touch me Ill get 3 of my other str8 buddies and we will all beat the shit out of the little faggot”

    “I believe overtly effeminate dancing destroys the opportunity for many male dancers to be supported”

    Translation: “I dont like seeing homos dancing together,there is no masculinity in men dancing with other men”

    “Im not a fan of brokeback ballroom”

    Which basically in his own condescending attitude,means he doesnt want gay men dancing at all.

    Then they’ll backtrack when under fire.Its as rich as it gets.

    If you ask me,With the kind of shit Ive heard fly out of the mouths of str8 men,and observing the behavior of “MOST” str8 men around gay men,It looks to me that the only “Not so manly” men are mostly men who are heterosexual.

    Im just sayin’

  15. expedito says

    I don’t know what causes some people to be more effeminate, but I’m pretty sure it’s like sexual orientation – that it’s something you’re born with – not something you learn or choose to be. A lot of gay guys have effeminate traits, and most young boys – both gay and straight – spend a lot of effort and emotional pain covering up these traits so homophobic bullies don’t pick on them for acting and being who they are. I think this fear of displaying sensitivity and gracefulness is psychologically damaging to everyone, and it’s why lots of men can’t or won’t dance.

    To me it’s odd that people can be so supportive of a physically challenged person(like the woman who danced last night), and still feel that an effeminate man is something disgusting that should be overcome, or at least masked.

    Nigel, in his zeal to convince fathers that male dancing is butch, would probably have given the axe to Nijinsky, Nureyev, Roberto Bolle, and countless other great dancers. But to be fair, this deep-seated loathing of effeminate traits in men goes way beyond Nigel. In truth, there are probably vestiges of this prejudice in all of us. Maybe someday we’ll get beyond this, and maybe then effeminate boys will be allowed just to be themselves.

  16. Glenn says

    Like most bigots, his attempts to “explain” what he meant is just digging his hole deeper. (Oh, I’m sorry, was that a “Brokeback” comment?) What a shit.

  17. Dusty says

    Everyone should be 100% prepared to face any situation involving gay people at all times in order to not offend any of them. It’s a shame he’s not as well versed as some of us on this website.

    Look, in country gay bars, I happen to think that two guys two-stepping together looks kind of silly. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s fun, but it looks silly to me, and I’m gay. So kill me.

    He didn’t have time to rehearse what he was going to say, and it came out wrong. I’m sure it would have gone down much differently if he had known what he was in for.

    He made a mistake in his words. Can you not just politely correct him? Why all the hostility? I swear sometimes I’m reading the gay version of here.

  18. Wes says

    Politely correct him after he blatantly insulted these people?

    He doesn’t even care. What are you talking about he ‘made a mistake’ in his words. It ‘came out wrong’. He never said that. Where did you get that?

    And yea he should be prepared to face a situation involving gay people, why shouldn’t he?

    He’s certainly had time to rehearse his comments after the show, which have done nothing but confirm his prejudice against feminine males.

    I don’t think we should have to walk on eggshells so as to not offend people who are blatantly insulting other people. Sorry if writing in a stern tone puts you off, but this is a serious issue for many people. ‘Sissyphobia’ as its been put is incredibly destructive and bigoted.

  19. Glenn says

    Um, Dusty, the show’s not live, OK? So if Nigel had had second thoughts about his comments, he could have said so, right? He’s the fucking executive producer of SYTYCD…he created the goddamn show. I think, just maybe, he could have had the comments taken out if he really spoke rashly.

    Anyway, his Twitter comments make it clear that he meant everything he said. Why are you so eager to let him off the hook?

    And for God’s sake. This guy has a national spotlight to exploit and explain himself if that’s what he chooses to do. We’re just blog commenters. We’re being unfair to the poor baby? Well, Boo. Fucking. Hoo.

  20. bobbyjoe says

    Start making a list of the advertisers for this show (someone who has the episode on DVR can do this fairly quickly). Then start calling and writing all of those advertisers tonight. This is what scares the network, particularly on a show like this, where advertisers are going to 1) feel that there’s a definite gay audience for a show on this subject; 2) see (fairly or not) same-sex couples as a desirable demographic with extra disposable income; and 3)wonder exactly what’s up with this show needlessly antagonizing that desirable demographic. Contact the advertisers politely, but let them know that you’re a potentially likely customer of responsible companies and ask them if they really want to be associated with a show that’s going down this path. Believe me they’ll let the networks know. This is the tactic I’ve seen work in the past. It makes the networks really nervous and they’ll be after the show to, knock it off and apologize. And this is how you’ll get quick results, and likely assure that you’ll never hear a peep out of this a**hole again on the subject (You might even see SYTYCD play up some gay storyline to counter the complaints).

  21. says

    It’s FOX /shrug/

    I have basically lost all respect for Nigel, but I will continue to watch the show. I love and support most of the choreographers and dancers.

    And his tweeting really isn’t helping his case. Can we get a little gender equality here?

  22. Dusty says

    @Glenn & @Wes

    I’m not put off.

    I’m going back and reading what he wrote, and I think he has a point. It’s tough to be supported if one is an effeminate dancer. So if you’re going to be effeminate, you’d better be spectacular. If you’re not, then the effeminacy is going to exploit your weaknesses.

    Those guys took a risk. They got their face time from the risk, but they got the feedback that they would have gotten anywhere else. He’s not Paula Abdul.

    Regardless, when someone makes a mistake as he did, I don’t think the most constructive thing to do is say, “Fuck you, you fucking scumbag.”

    If someone is 99.9% politically correct in something posted on this site, half the commenters here will only have something mean and nasty to say about the .1% that isn’t.

  23. Matt says

    Dusty, if it’s tough to be supported as an effeminate dancer, then Nigel should be trying to help them be supported; I thought it was dancing he cared about. Instead, he is worried about the masculine dancers and how horrible it must be for them to be associated with effeminate men (quite a few of which have done more for dancing than Mr. Lithgo).

  24. mb says

    Wes, you’re right – Simon is a jerk, but he’s not this homophobic. I honestly think that if Nigel was still involved with American Idol, Adam Lambert wouldn’t have stood a chance.

  25. nic says


    your butchified, countrified “name” spells it all out. only an idiot with chicken-fried brains would defend what that brit-clit said. don’t come on this site with chitlin-fed, corn-pone reasoning and expect to gain respect for lythgoe, much less for yourself. make like a cow patty and hit the road. hee-hee-hee-hee-haw.

    i was born and raised in texas. and i am quite sick of the aw-shucks attitudes of half-baked, gay rodeo romeos. thank goodness that i matured elsewhere.

  26. g_whiz says

    I’m inclined to agree that Lythgoe doesn’t need to be let off the hook. The message he and the other judges sent here is very clear. As far as their concerned the only way to peform is in male/female parrings where men conform to rigid gender roles and women do the same. I think its safe to say that we don’t live in that world, and the pure revulsion the man displays jumps far beyond discomfort and borders slander. There was nothing mild about what was said, and making apologies for bigotry does nothing at all to improve/change it. Some might be happy being keeping their heads down, but it doesn’t do anyone else any good. Nothing is to be gained from justifying bad behavior except more bad behavior. I seriously would have loved for one of the guys in question to punch him in the face. How’s that for effiminate. And the Brokeback ballroom remark was neither sensitive nor clever. Is the man really that dense?

  27. Carise says

    So hating only gay men who are effeminate is okay. Has Nigel Lythgoe seen himself at the mirror? Hardly, the image of the butch, alpha male.
    I hope people won’t let this go. This isn’t the first time this show has revelled in homophobia. The only difference is that this time, it’s so blatant that you can’t possibly ignore it. And what’s up with the “Brokeback” quote? That’s as anti-gay as it can get. So gay men should only dance with women? Wrong!!!!

  28. says

    they both sucked as dancers…quit playin gay card to cover that up…plus they let them on to choriography…does anyone who “actually” saw the show remember that??…plus they praised the gay black guy for his dancing…or does being black mean it doesn’t matter??….

  29. RP says

    I was VERY disappointed with Nigel’s and the panels comments. How sad that in this day and age he feels uncomfortable with it. I am even more saddened by his demeaning comment of not being a fan of “Brokeback Ballroom”. VERY SAD and LOST ALL RESPECT FOR NIGEL and his opinions!!!!

  30. Eric says

    It doesn’t matter how drunk I am, I will always be secretly repulsed by the thought of doing anything vaguely sexual with an effeminate male.
    Oh who am I kidding, I’ll just say what I was originally going to say: effeminate guys are gross. That’s just the way I feel. Thankfully we’ll always live in different worlds.

  31. MajorT0M says

    I believe that overtly masculine dancing destroys the opportunity for many gay male dancers to be supported. Being a male doesn’t mean being overtly masculine.

  32. Wheezy says

    Don’t worry Eric, we find you gross too. You and Nigel are assholes. These dancers were okay (by the way I was under the impression *one* of them was gay and the other was not) but they shouldn’t have switched leads back and forth. That’s what screwed them up and made them fall.

    p.s. I love ballet and ballroom…I also love Aikido and Muay Thai boxing. I’m a sissy boy and I’m more butch than your straight-acting ass, because Princess, you *are* just acting.

  33. Bayley says

    As vile as this hateful beast (Nigel) is- and as sad of a statment on mainstream society it is that a bigoted monster like this can actually have their own show….this really opens the door to have dialogue about the real plague regarding discrimination of effiminate men in our own home; the gay community.

    Gay men have constantly been force fed to never be gay, and being gay is equated to acting gay. Gay men who TRULY come out of the closet (which requires more than just announcing you sleep with men- it encompasses being COMFORTABLE in your skin and in your sexuality) don’t really care if they come across feminine, or if the person they date does. That doesn’t make a person who they are at their core. Sadly, a large majority of (weak minded) gay men still have those homophobic voices in their chilhoods taunting them saying “don’t act like a fag! don’t ever dare be with someone who acts like a fag!”

    When I hear anyone I know make derogatory statments regarding effiminate gay men, I chalk it up as major insecurity issues on their part and instantly take them off my contact list on my phone.

    Part of being gay is being able to be who you are and allowing others to be who they are.

    p.s~ I have NEVER, ever, everrrrr met a gay man (even at their most butch) who I didn’t get a “vibe” from. Gay men normally ARE more feminine than their straight counter parts, and that’s O.K! (infact, to a degree, some of us find it charismatic and cute 😉

    And to Eric, lol your kind makes me laugh. You know? the kind of gay who sings himself praises for being masculine yet admits to being repulsed by other “gay acting” men simply because he’s fearful of the backlash in public. Aww- boo boo- let’s read you a bed time story and tuck you in bed after that warm glass of Milk. A REAL (masculine) man doesn’t give a walking turd about what others think of him or the company he keeps.

    p.s.s~ ANYONE who likes the cock is feminine. That’s about the most feminine thing you can take enjoyment in. (and again, it’s O.K!)

  34. Wayne says

    There are probably quite a few gay dancers on that show. I wonder how they feel about being on a show that supports blatant bigotry and homophobia? Or dancing for choreographers who are openly hostile towards gay people? Have they no pride at all? The gay dance community needs to speak out and stop dancing for these bigots.

  35. Automotive Enthusiast says

    p.s.s~ ANYONE who likes the cock is feminine. That’s about the most feminine thing you can take enjoyment in.

    Yes because there is no balance from within the gay community.We are all a bunch of stereotypical feminine queens with bad attitudes and a lisp in our speech like Bayley.


    Im masculine because that was determined by DNA,Im not a whiny bitchy queen.Im aggressive and assertive.I dont have a lisp in my voice,my voice is stuck between a vin diesel mobster (thanks to the brooklyn New Yawk accent) (Lou Rawls when I first get up in the morning) combination,I cant even reach a high note.Why? Because this was all determined by DNA just like the fact that Im gay and the fact that Im more than one race.

    You bitter queens wanna get all disgusted when masc gay guys put fem gay guys down,but then you go and do the same shit to masc guys.Let alone “many” of the fem guys Ive met were bitchy,skanky,whiney,overly-dramatic,flamboyant clowns (Just like Jack Mcfarland from Will & Grace)

    Ive also met a couple of fem guys who are sweet,gentle,sensitive,polite,intelligent gentlemen (those effeminate men who Ive met are obviously secure with themselves and proud of who they are).Where as there are other fems Ive met who are bitter and socially challenged because THEY are insecure feel it necessary to come off as a bitch to everyone else (boo-hoo it sucks to be you).If I want an overly dramatic bitch in my life,Ill send out for Paris Hilton or even Madonna.Or some other floozy with an air-head.

    So on the contrary to the bitter queens rants on here.NO there are some effeminate guys I want absolutely NOTHING to do with,but there are a few others that have my respect.

    However,for the bitters here,dont be puttin down masc guys if you dont want masc guys puttin down fem guys.To say bullshit like,Masculine guys are insecure with being gay,is no different from what Nigel said about gay men in general.Im masculine and totally secure with myself.Half the gay men in this so-called community I want nothing to do with because of major drama and extra baggage they carry and some social issues they have (example:superficiality,narcissism,incapable of commitment,self-indulgent sex-crazed moron,Is a race/age-baiting lunatic,or just plain immature),but that doesnt mean Im insecure,it means I see things as they are.By the way, there are alot of masculine guys who dont find effeminate men attractive (Im one of them).Just because I dont wanna be with an effeminate man doesnt make me insecure.However if some queen is gonna fly over the handle bars because I am not interested in being with an effeminate guy.Who is the one who is insecure? Sure as hell aint me.

    If you are effeminate,FINE!!! Thats what makes you..YOU!!! But you have NO right to call anybody insecure because it only bends backwards to you my dear.

  36. Daws says

    I just watched the episode and I must say I was appalled by all of the judges. I felt bad for the male couple…they just weren’t supportive at all. This isn’t the first time Nigel has made the “effeminate male” remark and I’ve cringed before when he said it.

    You’d think the judges, having worked in the dance/entertainment industry for so long, would be more open minded to same sex dance partners. Their reactions though were like confused and they just couldn’t fathom two men dancing together. When the reality is there are choreographers and dance troupes that play and experiment with sexuality.

    Meh, I’ll likely still watch the show because I absolutely love it…and from my understanding the producers were very supportive of the male couple…but it really really bugs me that those judges would be so ignorant and rigid considering the type of industry they work in (where artistry, uniqueness, and expression should be nurtured and embraced).

  37. nikko says

    I feel somewhere down the middle in all this. BUT I remember seeing a gay olympics clip of two tackily dressed male figure skating pair-oh my god, that was tacky! It looked so silly.

  38. Wheezy says

    Tsk, tsk, tsk….AUTOMOTIVE ENTHUSIAST, ya’ sound a little defensive there, big guy. Are you sure it’s us nelly boys who’re insecure? Nobody said there was anything wrong with masculine men…we’re just pissed with “straight acting” men (who aren’t necessarily masculine, just “acting”) body snarking. “Straight acting” has a connotation of “closeted”. If you are “straight acting” you are acting like a straight person.

    How does a straight person act BTW? I have plenty of male friends who are straight and not at all “butch”, they don’t like stereotypical guy activities! Last time I checked there wasn’t government agency that came around and revoked your testicles if you didn’t like professional sports and Hemi engines. Straight guys don’t have to do “butch” activities or act “butch”, so why should gay men have to act “butch” (or femme for that matter)?

    Seriously, all those “married straight” guys trolling for dick in restrooms and parks (I’m lookin’ at you Larry Craig!) are “straight acting”, they are also self-loathing cowards. Gay men who worry about how they’re “acting” and live in terror of the rest of the world thinking they are “too gay” oughta go back in the closet. They aren’t brave enough to be out here with the rest of us.

  39. Matt says

    They were crappy dancers. Anything Nigel said about their actual dancing skills is legit and I agree with him.

    That being said, it crossed a line when he had to make a demarcation in his commentary between his comments regarding the technical aspects of the dancing (the latter part of his comments on the show) vs his taking out his personal insecurities on the guys (the first part of his comments after they danced).

    Honestly to make that flippant comment about Brokeback ballroom shows that he just doesn’t get it. The dehumanization that allowed a character to be killed in that movie is perpetuated in the attitudes of people like Lythgoe that just want effeminate males swept under the rug. This makes me think of all the queer kids that commit suicide because they feel so rejected and isolated- then you have to see this crap on national TV.

    How would this have gone over had the black chick that decided to drop and pop it been sent off to a bunch of commentary on her being “too black” and the show playing Al Jolson over her exit?

  40. Bayley says

    “Automotive enthusiast” you are the EXACT “masculine- str8 acting” man we are all reffering to.

    From your name “automotive enthusiast” (uhm -okay?) to pointing out how “masculine” you are in every other sentence coupled with your blatant homophobia and hateful usage of slurs against gay men, and I shake my head feeling so sorry for you. Classic sad case of a complex if I’ve ever seen one.

    The homophobic voices in your head (stemmed from childhood) have won, yet you lost in the fight called life. Congratulations!

  41. Shubu says

    Reading Automotive enthisiast’s response; and I thought to myself, why is a (gay) poster on here able to call effiminate gay men queens constantly yet someone else (a straight person) couldn’t get away with it? because he’s gay?
    The gay community is responsible for 90% of homophobia in this society. We spew hatred, discrimination and bigotry toward one another all the time, yet expect mainstream masses to be above that.
    Reading -automotive enthusiast’s post should be just as offensive as reading a bigots drivel.
    You’re not going to get away with calling gay men queens just because you’re a queen yourself.
    Automotive enthusiast- I suggest you seek out some therapy. You seem to have some very unsettling temper toward effminate gay men and it’s a bit disturbing to read. If you’ve only met ” a few” effiminate gay men in all of the gay community all these years, either you don’t get out much, or you really are insecure with your sexuality as another poster pointed.

  42. says

    I’m honestly surprised that so many gay men were offended by this. I’m gay, and when I watched the show, I had to agree with him 100%. While I do agree his delivery could have been better, the meaning behind what he said is really true. Not only were the two dancers really not that good, but in dance masculinity isn’t prancing around the stage. I think it’s perfectly understandable for a man to not want to watch two gay, effeminate men lead each other around a stage. The same way I wouldn’t want to have someone’s religion down my throat, I don’t think shoving sexual orientation down peoples’ throats is acceptable.

  43. says

    Actually same-sex couples dancing opens up an interesting arena worthy of serious discussion. Male-female pairing is of course sex-role related. Much of modern dance has broken up that severe “Masculine” vs. “Feminine” dicotomy and replaced it with something less rigid (eg. Paul Taylor, early Twyla Tharp to name two.) Same-sex dancing offers the promise of another sort of dance “story” entirely . “Masculine”/”Feminine” role-playing can be removed completely. But what do you replace it with? Can men dancing with men and women dancing with women have the same dramatic tension of a male-female pas de deux? I think it certainly can. But you need brilliant dancers and brilliant choreographers to show where this can go.

    And you’re not likely to find either on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

  44. hank says

    I find him ugly in the extreme. To me, he comes across as a nellie old fop. At least if the ratings drop, he’ll be off the air, along with that female screeching banshee judge. Good riddance.

  45. Eric says

    Wes hit the nail on the head in the first comment to this post.

    There is nothing wrong with being effeminate. And Nigel’s concern about effeminate male dancers is his concern about what fathers will think. Nigel needs to stop projecting.

    Further, Nigel seems to think that two men doing a dance together in which they have to touch makes them effeminate.

    All of you would be considered effeminate to Nigel because you touch other men in a romantic manner.

    This isn’t about effeminacy; it’s about sexual orientation. Nigel is just a horrible bigot.

  46. Wheezy says

    Hey, Charles, the Argentine Tango was traditionally danced by two men (and still is). It isn’t about Male/Female roles, it’s about Lead/Follow. The experienced partner leads while the novice follows. When the leader/instructor is satisfied the follower/novice has mastered enough of the dance steps, they are allowed to practice leading with another, younger student.

    As for their “nelly” performance, it wasn’t that bad. The costumes and prancing are pretty typical of ballroom competition form. If you’ve ever watched competitive ballroom dancing their costumes were actually rather dull and toned down. Their technical problems (falling, switching leads) comes from lack of practice together. They stated that the previously had female partners that hadn’t worked out and had only been dancing together for about 8 months. In ballroom terms that’s hardly any time at all. For that short of amount of time they were too ambitious and should have stuck to standard choreography.

    This is how it’s done right:

  47. el polacko says

    nigel suggested that putting the pair through would “alienate their audience” as if it’s only bigoted str8 people who watch his show (one of the dancers was str8, btw). the two other judges were no better though. they were both “confused about who was the woman” in the dancing pair. apparently, none of them have a problem with men dancing together as long as they are not touching, or as nigel put it “in each other’s arms”. i was a marginal fan of the show, but that segment has soured me to watching any further episodes. i hope their ratings tank.

  48. voodoolock says

    1) there weren’t any effeminate gay men in brokeback mountain, so he’s just a back=pedalling idiot.
    2) speaking against effeminate men is homophobia and misogyny, regardless of the target’s sexual orientation.

  49. nic says

    if these hacks really knew about dance, they would know about “les indomptes” by claude bruhmachon, “hymn” by trey mcintyre, “purple bend” by jimmy gomonet, “petite mort” by jiri kylian, “ein von viel” by sabrina matthews, matthew bourne’s staging of “swan lake” with all male swans, and the ouvre of maurice bejart.

    but, of course they don’t. all they care about is ratings and the concomitant pelf. it’s their world, and they’re welcome to it.

    i just wish that they would not pretend to be other than what they are — common huckster. dance connoisseurs, no. charlatans, yes.

  50. DavidinSF says

    Is it just me or should a show that offers itself up as a “Dance Competition” judge the dancers by their actual “dance” moves and not whether a judge finds the dancer too effeminate. They are supposed to be judged on their ability to dance, not how they act, look or dress…

    Keep you highly personal and VERY SUBJECTIVE comments to yourself, Nigel, Simon and any other judge that goes on personal attacks…

    I watch some of these shows to be entertained and don’t appreciate judges that go personal.

  51. BLR says

    Amazingly offensive and ridiculous.

    Can we boycott or picket this creep in some way?

    What about advertisers, who help pay his salary?

    We haven’t advanced if the only “acceptable” gay men are non-effeminate. (This is coming from a masculine gay man who is keenly aware of the unearned privilege that I have.)

    The “Brokeback” comment had multiple levels of wrong…

  52. Nicky says

    Why does everyone insist on playing the victim? Not everything is homophobic. As Nigel said, he has been involved in the dance industry for half a century. Naturally he has a very traditional view of what a male dancer should dance like. Just because he likes seeing masculine dancers on stage does not mean he cares what they are like off stage. Clearly, having been involved in the dance world, he must have been surrounded by homosexuals all his life. If he had a problem with gay people, he would have had an extremely hard time sticking out the industry. His job as a judge is to state his opinion. Why can’t he do that without being attacked by the overly sensitive? As a gay male dancer, I understand where he’s coming from. I don’t agree with him, but he is entitled to his opinion. He dislikes effeminate DANCERS, not effeminate MEN. There is a difference.

  53. Midland says

    Well, despite being a ‘masculine’ gay guy – I have a great love for my camp/effeminate/helium-heels sistahs. When I was young I used to fear them because they were an overt reminder of what I was scared of about myself. As I became more confident I realised that they are often the visible ones who take the first flack and fight the toughest fight. Now I admire and am proud of those guys who have the guts to just be who they are and not change themselves to fit in.

    So, to all the sissy-boy haters (that’s you, Nigel): go fuck yourself with a broken bottle.

  54. 2gay4me says

    It’s simply a question of marketing, not hate, phobia, or (insert additional hyperbolic term here). Nelly guys, for instance Jack MacFarland, are great for comic relief, but they are just not hot. I don’t think the producers want contestants that will elicit laughter (Norman gentle notwithstanding). If anyone can think of a really hot sissy, please let me know (and don’t just shoot back with “It’s about talent, blah, blah, blah…” – nobody is tuning in to check out the footwork and if you say that you are, we all know that you are lying…)

  55. Wheezy says

    @ CAJIVA,

    Yes, and he won…and he was so popular with the audience the show still refers to him as “America’s Most Popular Dancer”.

    @ 2GAY4ME,

    I’m a “nelly boy” and I assure you people don’t find me the least bit “comic”. DNA makes a person slender, baby-faced, and swishy…it doesn’t make femmes the butt of people’s jokes. Other people do that…unless you have the cajones to call ’em on it. Which I’ve never been lacking in.

  56. Jim Wildman says

    I wonder if he considers effeminate judges to be offensive. He just needs to look in the mirror. Feminine traits in men and masculine traits in women are to be celebrated.

  57. Zeke says

    I think it’s disgusting that he tries to defend himself and claim he’s not homophobic by pointing out that it’s effeminacy and not homosexuality that he dislikes. So he is trying to make the case that he is offended that people have called him a homophobe when it’s just effeminate men that he hates. I agree with others who say, WHAT A DOUCHE!

    And I’d like to point out that his own words show that he IS homophobic and not just sissyphobic. He said that he didn’t like “Brokeback ballroom dancing”. What was effeminate about Brokeback Mountain? Which of the characters did he find to be too effeminate? The ONLY way to interpret that statement is that he doesn’t like men dancing together, or being affectionate or intimate with each other when dancing. What other possible reason would he feel that way if it isn’t due to a general discomfort and dislike of male-male affection, familiarity and intimacy? Isn’t that the very definition of homophobia? I think it is.

    His excuse seems to be becoming the new fall back position when a person gets caught saying something homophobic. They clutch the pearls, gasp and say how stunned and offended they are that people think they are homophobic just because they said something terribly homophobic. Then they go on to “apologize” and explain themselves in a diatribe that only proves how clueless and truly homophobic they really are. I’m finding this phenomenon particularly common among Englishmen. There have been countless examples of this in the British press recently from radio and television celebrities to government officials.

  58. nic says


    i agree. same-sex pairings in theater and dance is as old as art itself. in shakespeare, we see males playing female roles. we may attribute that to convention, but there is the nettlesome question of what harold bloom calls the “anxiety of influence”. the writing of shakespeare was informed by the queer christopher marlowe, who many scholars think was the superior playwright. too bad that he died at 29 or 30 “over a reckoning” at a pub. but, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

    still, i challenge anyone, straight or gay, to watch male/male dancing in “purple bend” and “les incomptes” and not be mesmerized. btw, these and others from my earlier post can be seen on youtube.

    i don’t know why the lythgoe incident has chapped my hide so much. i guess it is because i detest crassness in any venue, but more-so in a venue that purports to be about “the dance”. i abhor intellectual dishonesty, and i loathe commercialism cloaked as art.

    @lythgoe, farrah called from the 70s. she wants her hair back. @the third judge, bow-wow-wow called from the eighties, they want that look back. @the middle judge, a pack of hyenas called, they want their laugh back.

  59. woodroad34 says

    It’s interesting that in Lythgoe’s post he states that he prefers men to dance like Nureyev–noted gay dancer–because of his strength of performance. He wouldn’t have nixed Nijinsky or Eric Bruhn (Nureyev’s lover) either. Dancing is an athletic sport as much as it an artistic performance. As an example, Edward Villella (although straight) was named athlete of year in Sports Illustrated back in the 60’s, I think. Also, do you think Rudy Galiano could have been an Olympic Champion if he performed weakly. I think Lythgoe’s choice of words were poor (Brokeback Ballroom)–he doesn’t appear to be a great wit–but I do think strong performances are what he meant as opposed to men appearing effiminate. Of the two that danced for this show, it was the gay guy who came off the strongest, not the straight one.

  60. michael mohrlang says

    The basic fact of this whole situation is that the two dancers were terrible. They had good basic skills but had not danced together very long and it showed. They made a gigantic error at the very end. I think the judges were caught off guard by the low quality of the choreography, the intimacy of the dancers, AND the fact that they kept switching their roles back and forth. But they definitely could have handled their criticism more carefully, because the guys were very serious about their dancing. Honestly I think they should have been better prepared and thought about what they were doing and where they were doing it. If they had put on an amazing audition with good choreography, the judges comments would have been different

  61. Oscar in Miami Beach says

    Used to watch the program religiously.I have no stomach for it anymore.And by the way does Mr.Nigel ever met Nureyev?.My dear Nureyev was a flaming queen.I met him in New York and he was more than a woman than a real woman.Effeminate is not enough to describe him.Ups,I just date myself.

  62. Gabe R L says

    People seem determined to believe that the ‘straight’ one was really straight. People, many professional and aspiring professional male dancers may be gay but still try to pass themselves off as straight. It does happen. Will Kemp is said to be straight, but i have my doubts. And about Rasta as well, etc.

  63. Dr J S says

    I don’t see what the issue is. He’s a professional dance expert, he made a comment about a guy looking too effeminate during a dance routine. I’m gay but does that mean I like every gay person just because of their sexual orientation? Of course not. Actually I most respect people when they do their jobs and their sexual orientation isn’t an issue. I don’t want a gay dentist, a gay doctor, a gay mechanic. I want a professional dentist, doctor and mechanic. If the sexual orientation of a person “bleeds through” into their profession doesn’t that signify something? And wouldn’t the same apply to dancers? Many dancers are gay, but do they actually need to be “gay dancers”?

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