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Watch: Public Reacts To Anti-Gay Parents On 'What Would You Do?'


ABC's hidden camera show What Would You Do? has previously examined how people react to gay parents, anti-gay bullying and homophobia in sports bars.

Now host John Quinones and his team have used their lenses to explore how the public behaves when they see parents reproaching a son who has just come out. The reactions are varied, and the entire scenario, however fabricated, unsettling.

While some of the unsuspecting subjects sit quietly as a father tears into his child, a few brave souls stick up for the teen, with one woman quite rightly telling the man his outburst has pulled the whole cafe into their business, and he needs to be a more supportive father.

More people seem willing to get involved when the father's replaced by a mother, and the actress in that situation gets quite an earful from a few of the cafe's customers.

As always when watching these sociological specials, the viewer's forced to ask how they themselves would react in this situation. And, as a bonus question, would the parent's gender impact your decision?

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. The world needs more people like those two women who spoke up.

    Posted by: Jason 2 | Dec 4, 2010 11:22:31 AM

  2. I'd be curious to see what the reactions would have been had this been filmed in a coffee shop in Alabama.

    Posted by: Caleb | Dec 4, 2010 11:31:42 AM

  3. I hate this show. It upsets me just to know that it is on the air. I think that it is cruel and should be illegal to inflict emotional and physical stress on unsuspecting people for what is, frankly, one's entertainment. The producers must have been the kind of boys who would pull wings off of flies and then watch the poor flies struggle.

    The by-standers, whether they get involved or not, are put in a very difficult and stressful situation and then are judged by condescending couch potatoes as to whether they responded appropriately. Does it concern the producers that they may be inflicting emotional pain on the people they choose not to follow?

    I watched about half a minute of this episode before I had to turn it off. As you can tell, I am still upset about it.

    Posted by: tom | Dec 4, 2010 12:03:06 PM

  4. @Tom AGREE!

    Posted by: Keith | Dec 4, 2010 12:13:40 PM

  5. I would be so pissed if I was one of the other people there. I would already be angry at the "father" or "mother" for being such assholes but doubt I would get involved--it's rarely a good idea to get involved in other people's family matters, especially when they are strangers. At best, one should complain to the manager--it's his or her job to handle disruptive customers.

    But it would make me even angrier to find out it's a tv show and its actors disrupting other people's lunches, that it is all a sham, playing with people's emotions as some kind of social experiment with hidden cameras watching me and recording my conversations, and then shoving a camera and microphone into my face to ask about my reaction. Aside from the serious issue of involuntary involvement, it's just plain creepy.

    The ONLY way I might see this as the least bit positive or valuable would be with extensive discussion by psychologists or other professionals about the situations, analyzing the reactions and offering advice on how best to react to a situation like this and how best to help the kid in that situation. So kudos to the unwitting subjects of the experiment who had the courage to speak up, but as presented I don't see this as anything much more than a staged psychodrama being filmed for the TV audience's entertainment.

    Posted by: John B. | Dec 4, 2010 12:15:45 PM

  6. Tom, no offense but it seems like you're as equally condescending and judgmental as the couch potatoes. "The producers must have been the kind of boys who would pull wings off of flies and then watch the poor flies struggle." Come on, really?

    Not saying it's not possible, but I would think that if this show was really causing the pain and distress that you allude to, there would be a lot less releases signed and ABC would be getting hit with lawsuits up the yin yang.

    Posted by: RW | Dec 4, 2010 12:26:28 PM

  7. This made me cry. I'm not going to address the ethics of the tv program, but the fact that those women stood up for the kid in such a strong, articulate way, really gives me hope for American society.

    Posted by: Tom Stoppard | Dec 4, 2010 12:37:52 PM

  8. I am OK with this show because there needs to be more dialog in private and sometimes in public. So many people do not have these skills to say what NEEDS to be said; Americans watch a lot of TV and this is helpful to someone, somewhere, then YES it is worth it...

    Posted by: True Words | Dec 4, 2010 12:43:50 PM

  9. You'd have to literally tackle me to the ground if you want to stop me from getting involved. I believe deeply in my soul that no one should suffer this kind of abuse. And, frankly, when abuse is happening- it SHOULD be everyone's business.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Dec 4, 2010 1:13:59 PM

  10. I think it's good because it gets the viewers thinking about situations to which they might not otherwise be exposed. Most have no understanding of the unique struggles gay people face. This demonstrates one aspect of parental rejection.

    Posted by: Scott | Dec 4, 2010 1:20:25 PM

  11. THis is no to catch predator! Bring back perverted justice! This is boring. At least make sure that some of the contestants are armed...and what do they win?

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 4, 2010 1:30:55 PM

  12. What would you do if...you found a dead hooker in a trashcan? "No...no! NO! He's having sex with it!"

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 4, 2010 1:54:48 PM

  13. Yes not all folks in NJ are the dishrags that populate reality TV shows based in Jersey.

    Posted by: QJ201 | Dec 4, 2010 1:56:17 PM

  14. Some of their earlier gay themed ones- such as the one with the 'waiter' turning on the gay family- I would have got involved with, as the only recriminations will fall on the waiter and the victims are removed from the environment.

    This one, maybe not. If this weren't a staged scene, nothing a stranger can say to a bigot is going to magically improve matters and, in the immediate future, may make things a lot worse in the child's home life.

    That said, the 'you've made it our business' line is a good one. I'd want to offer some kind of reassurance to the kid- but would be very conscious that if I made a scene, I wouldn't be seeing these guys again, but the kid probably has to go home with his father.

    Posted by: Clifw | Dec 4, 2010 2:18:49 PM

  15. Clif: Seeing as the son would be getting shit @ home after regardless if someone steps in or not, should be an added reason why you should say something in benefit of the kid. The parent will see that others do not share the same sentiments and the kid will be comforted by the notion that someone cares enough about him, to speak up on his behalf, and maybe in his darkest moments, he will remember that person's actions. Just saying.

    Posted by: B | Dec 4, 2010 2:37:10 PM

  16. I can't address the ethics either, but this also made me cry. Who knows how people in Alabama would react. I'd be curious, though.

    Posted by: Vince in WeHo | Dec 4, 2010 2:44:29 PM

  17. It's difficult, some people are vocal and some aren't, but isn't comforting to know that there is that sort of "heroic" gene just lurking out there? The show is silly and artificial, but still, it's reminding of the everyday heroes, where even in a moment of getting coffee, there are overriding duties...I don't know, like I said, it's a good reminder.

    Posted by: TonsofT | Dec 4, 2010 2:58:22 PM

  18. I'm aware it's entertainment, but I've watched a few of these "What Would You Do?" shows, and I think they could have a really positive effect. Most people, myself included, are the type to stand by and wait for someone else to make the first move, but watching these scenarios challenges me to be the type of person who has the bravery to be the first, and perhaps only, person to intervene.

    Posted by: Dave Rattigan | Dec 4, 2010 2:59:44 PM

  19. MERICA, RATTIGAN! MUREEKA! There are plenty of real opportunities to challenge the person you are with real tangible benefits to others without having to fake it, rendering the response just as pointless as the program--save, of course, ratings...which is all that matters to this vehicle.

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 4, 2010 3:03:24 PM

  20. Pretty soon the responses will be just as fake as the shows as people become more and more like laugh tracks...crying? Really? Those that cried because of this disgust me. You disgust me. DIE IN A FIRE!

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 4, 2010 3:08:10 PM

  21. Ah, Tank. Social science experiments have helped shed light on real behavior, not just what people say they would do. Ethical issues aside: The actors were fake; assuming (granted, a big leap) there is any integrity involved in this production, the responses were genuine. Some, assuming they were genuine, are heartening. Of course, actually having a heart might help one see that.

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 4, 2010 4:17:49 PM

  22. "Ah, Tank. Social science experiments have helped shed light on real behavior, not just what people say they would do"

    No, stupid! This is made of fail. This isn't a study that could potentially shed light on how people react to stimuli, for a credible generalization. The trolley experiment this is not, and couldn't be because of the way it's constructed (from sample size, to duration).

    This is about entertaining stupid people with "hot button" issues in the name of ratings. Nothing more. I hate you all.

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 4, 2010 4:33:00 PM

  23. >time to re-adjust the meds<

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 4, 2010 7:58:57 PM

  24. Is it sad that only the (based on what i saw) women got involved? Why didn't the guys do anything?

    Posted by: Ryank | Dec 4, 2010 8:11:41 PM

  25. I was sitting in a cafe next to Tank when he let rip with his typical over-reactionary stuff. Fortunately I saw the camera crew's van outside, so knew my reaction to him would be filmed...

    I stood up, walked over to Tank and made a heroically glorious speech about how out of line his comments were, everyone applauded, I signed consent forms.. but it all ended up on the cutting-room floor.

    Oh well. Maybe next time.

    Posted by: jexer | Dec 4, 2010 8:50:29 PM

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