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Nigel Lythgoe Spews Homophobia on So You Think You Can Dance


Last night's premiere of So You Think You Can Dance featured the audition of a same-sex pair (one straight, one gay). Watch the clip (starts at 5:10), AFTER THE JUMP...

The audition is introduced by zooming in on a men's bathroom as "It's Raining Men" is cued up. After their introduction, the dancing begins. Judge Nigel Lythgoe is immediately uncomfortable and points out, "the hand's on the back of his neck."

Lythgoe While the dancing was certainly not in top form (they did make an error), it was the non-dancing critiques that are the problem here. Judge and producer Nigel Lythgoe has made homophobic remarks before. You may remember last year when Lythgoe told a dancer he looked like he'd been anally violated. Or in 2007 when he mocked a dancer for not being masculine enough. This was the first time Lythgoe had encountered a same-sex couple audition though.

Says Lythgoe: "I think you'd probably alienate a lot of our audience.  We've always had the guys dance together on the show but they've never really done it in each other's arms before. I'm really one of those people that like to see guys be guys and girls be girls on stage. I don't think I liked it, to be frank."

Lythgoe tells them he'd like to see them dance with a woman, "You never know, you might enjoy that, too." The exit song that played as they walked off (2:09 in the second clip) was "It's a man world, but it would mean nothing, nothing without a woman."

AfterElton talked with one of the dancers, Misha, who filled in more of what went on at the audition:

"It was more offensive than what they showed. Nigel said that he's not sure that the fathers watching this at home would be encouraged to take their sons to allow them to learn to dance. Nigel told me that they [the show] has spent all these seasons trying to build up the idea that a male can dance and make it more acceptable, and we didn't really help the cause. I told him that I have a father, too, and I went through that. I told him that the country is already going through a lot of changes and could handle some more. Nigel didn't say anything to that. The judges kept going on about a man and a woman and I kept correcting them that it was a leader and a follower. "

Watch the clip (starting at 5:10), AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. As if I needed another reason not to watch this show... now I have one.

    And are we at all surprised this show is broadcast on Fox? Hmm.

    Posted by: Harrison | May 22, 2009 10:21:59 AM

  2. What a scumbag.

    Posted by: PM | May 22, 2009 10:22:36 AM

  3. I thought the first season was pretty good, but after reading about the presenter's hostility/bias against gay guys I never bothered to watch the show regularly. Maybe another cable channel should make an inclusive dance competition show instead to compete against next year's season of this show.

    Posted by: Matt from California | May 22, 2009 10:23:04 AM

  4. Disgusting, appalling --- and what the wealthy want --- to use corporate broadcasts on public airwaves to create division ... and keep the masses fighting amoungst themself --- so they will not revolt and allow the top 1% keep the majority of wealth and resources.

    Straight Supremacy is about special rights.

    Posted by: Ralph | May 22, 2009 10:23:29 AM

  5. It's like the teapot calling the kettle black... I just don't get it.

    Though the teapot is self-loathing.

    Posted by: Nat | May 22, 2009 10:26:14 AM

  6. @ Harrison

    I was just thinking that same thing.

    I had just posted on a similar topic that is this why I dont watch TV anymore.Someone called me last nite to tell me that this happened.I came off like "Im not surprised"

    Arent most str8 men (not quite all of them) but arent most moderately anti-gay/homophobic

    Posted by: Automotive Enthusiast | May 22, 2009 10:26:28 AM

  7. Anyone got any idea where to email a complaint about this blatant on-air homophobia?

    Posted by: Steve | May 22, 2009 10:30:34 AM

  8. So, its okay for men to take dance lessons and even be professional dancers as long as they're not gay? That hardly encourages the idea that there is nothing wrong with being gay. This garbage makes me sick. Its insulting to all those men (mostly gay) who have brought so much beauty to dance and withstood disapproval and taunts in order to make their accomplishments. Catering to straight men's homophobia won't solve the problem. What makes this really bad is that you just know that this Nigel person is gay himself.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | May 22, 2009 10:37:06 AM

  9. I'm so fuckin' sick of people like Nigel Lythgoe telling me and everyone else what the world wants or what America wants.

    He looks like the worst screaming queen that ever walked and he says shit like that?

    Fuck him. Maybe we should start an internet rampage that will keep people from watching that show.

    Posted by: Bobby | May 22, 2009 10:38:16 AM

  10. Right, because we SO need tips on how to be a man from a guy who looks like a Kajagoogoo reject from 1983.

    I'm offended by this towering plonker and I intend to complain to his idiotic channel for broadcasting this anachronistic garbage.

    Posted by: FASTLAD | May 22, 2009 10:39:43 AM

  11. Yeah, I saw this. It was a sharp downer on a show that was entertaining up until this point.
    Yes, the dancing seemed a little odd (although the costumes were spandexy/flamey cute). And that fall was pretty embarrassing but Nigel Lythgoe's comments were thoroughly reprehensible and homophobic.
    I understand their confusion with these men and traditional gender roles in ballroom dance. And maybe this show wasn't the best forum for these guys, but to make fun of their sexuality ("Try dancing with girls, you might like it") was pretty low and disgusting. And STUPID to an audience where a good portion of the audience is gay. Is this jackass the reason why ballet is the one form of dance never featured on the show?
    I can't under stand how a former dancer like Lythgoe can be so homophobic. I'm sure he's worked with plenty of gay choreographers in his life. Does he hate himself?
    BTW A few years ago I danced with a drunk-off-her ass Mary Murphy in gay bar in West Hollywood. (she was practically falling atop me) so, I know her issue is not with the gays but with the dance/gender issue.
    I actually think I may pass on the show this season based on this. It would be hard to watch Mr.Lythgoe behind his judging table now and not think he was bias, based on his perceived notions of gay and straight.

    Posted by: Christian Canterbury | May 22, 2009 10:40:24 AM

  12. Why is "anally violated" offensive to gay people? Seriously. Not everyone likes to bottom like I do so yes indeed... taking it in the ass can be a violation to other people.

    And what in the hell is wrong with thinking a male dancer is not masculine enough. NOTHING.

    Sometimes what I hate most about being gay is other gay people that can't take a fucking joke and take offense to everything.

    Posted by: whysosensitive | May 22, 2009 10:44:03 AM

  13. @Whysosensitive

    Another self-loathing gay on my shit list

    Posted by: Automotive Enthusiast | May 22, 2009 10:48:42 AM

  14. "If I just stick with the dancing"
    Isn't that what you're supposed to do Nigel?

    They may think they know everything about dancing, but seriously?

    Guess they don't know that in the swing dance community you'll see women dance with women, and men dance with men. It's not a sex thing, (it's most likely neither of the pair is gay), it's just through the joy of dance. It's fun, and done with the knowledge that it's lead & follow, not male & female.

    YouTube examples:

    Posted by: lindyhopper | May 22, 2009 10:49:51 AM

  15. STEVE, why not do an electronic complaint via and let them handle it? It's their job, after all:

    Posted by: TCW | May 22, 2009 10:50:56 AM

  16. never going to watch the show again, and I always liked it better than idol

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | May 22, 2009 10:52:39 AM

  17. Nigel's and Mary's comments were beyond offensive. Don't they actually think gay people might watching or, gasp, dancing??

    Posted by: Sagebrush Dan | May 22, 2009 10:56:11 AM

  18. This is personal for me. One of my many artistic pursuits is dance, I fell in love with it at an early age, and have pursued it ever since. I did it with the encouragement of many dance students and professionals who told me that their was nothing wrong with a boy pursuing dance or with a man being a dancer, that it was a beautiful thing, and that if being a dancer meant being gay, then it was a good thing. To watch these people tear down these two men like that was really hurtful. They ought to be ashamed, but are probably not.

    I actually wathced the whole video and was touched by the reactions of Kayla's granddparents. I wish that these two men had people their to give them their support after such a bruising.

    On a lighter note, I don't think Mitchel is being honest in calling himself 'straight.' He had gay vocal patterns and mannerisms too obvious to ignore. But he'll deal with it.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | May 22, 2009 10:56:40 AM

  19. For all its struggling to make modern and classical dance seem hip and relevant, this show often seems more conservative than the Lawrence Welk show. And often less fun.

    In the real world, men dance together onstage and off all the time in styles that range from sporty and playful to intimate and erotic. Nigel's refusal to represent this on his show does a great disservice to the art of dance as a whole.

    Posted by: David D. | May 22, 2009 10:58:51 AM

  20. Paging SAAD er GLAAD!

    GLAAD, Line 1!

    GLAAD, Line 1! Still holding.

    I'm sorry, Sir, their balls seem to be disconnected.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | May 22, 2009 10:59:04 AM


    Posted by: Alex | May 22, 2009 10:59:26 AM

  22. Nigel is anti-gay. When two people of the same sex dance there are no male and female roles. Stop imposing heterosexual conventions on everything and everyone.

    It's not gay people's job to make heterosxual males feel comfortable. Heterosexual male identity is fragile, always has been always will be. Gay men just do your thing with confidence in yourself.

    Posted by: Bill | May 22, 2009 11:02:59 AM

  23. What's really odd is how he looks as if he's enjoying the performance during... why the crap afterwards?

    There's historically MANY dance performances with men-only themes in which the men touch each other or partner, large groups of them on stage in ballet, modern dance, interpretive, etc... I don't get what the fuss is about. He's just an old soggy queen that can't handle anything out of his ultra-rigid view of what dance should be. To anyone in the know about dance, this is nothing new at all. He's also scared that it will offend their advertisers and the show will get axed due to lack of ad money.

    Posted by: johnny | May 22, 2009 11:04:21 AM

  24. Wait, the man with the Peter Frampton circa 1976 hairdo is saying he likes to see "guys be guys"? Perhaps he's the one alienating the audience? Just seeing his face makes me happy I've never watched the show.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 22, 2009 11:05:25 AM

  25. What was hilarious to me was the woman with the half shaved head telling the men what are female and male poses. Hey honey your head is shaved how female gender role is that.... hypocrite

    Posted by: pete | May 22, 2009 11:06:06 AM

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