Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay (unaired FOX reality television series; 2004)
Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay was an unaired reality television series that was intended to premiere with a two-hour special in June 2004 on the Fox network, but ended up pulled from the schedule and never airing due to complaints and criticism from LGBTQ+ groups. It has not surfaced since then.
In the show, two heterosexual or "straight" men would compete in a competition to see how they would live as a homosexual man. They would also be required to tell and convince other people, like their family and friends, that they (the competitors) were gay. At the end of the week, the two would be judged by other homosexual men. The man classified as gay would win $50,000.
Controversy and Cancellation
Before the series was able to air on June 7th, 2004, Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay started to attract controversy from the LGBTQ+ group, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (also known as simply "GLAAD"), about its offensive content. They had been shown a copy of the pilot in advance.
GLAAD described the pilot as "an exercise of systematic humiliation", and (as mentioned before) having watched the pilot, stated that the two contestants described their experience as gay men as "[being] trapped in gay hell" and their worst nightmare. One man also stated that he had to tell his former wrestlemate that he liked to wrestle because he could "get in close contact with sweaty boys". He was also forced to fork-feed a blind date, and also had to convince the date to spank him and trick him into making a second date. Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay was also created around the time Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, so the special being created around that time must have been another factor in GLAAD calling the series "an exercise of systematic humiliation".
On May 26th, GLAAD and FOX set up a meeting to talk about what should happen to the series. Within hours, FOX made the announcement that the show was cancelled. The network explained that the reason the show was canned was because of "creative issues". A GLAAD representative stated that FOX wasn't too disappointed with the cancellation, as they had done another straights-as-gays show before, Play It Straight, that also ended up being a failure (but was not cancelled before airing).
Promotional material for the series also attracted angry viewers. What was said in the promotional material reads
"This jury of their queers [(geddit?)] will declare which of the two guys they believe is actually gay … and that guy will win fifty thousand dollars!"
Soon after, FOX apologized for the things said in the promotional material and stated that the "failed attempt at humor" was ill-stated and inappropriate.
A few of the people (who were also homosexual) that worked on the show disagreed with GLAAD's intervention and FOX's decision to cancel the show before airing. Creative consultant Christian McLaughlin stated:
"It's unfortunate that a group as well-intentioned as GLAAD is going to set themselves up as censors and judge what other people should be allowed to air or see. Our primary purpose was to be funny, but if people actually got to see the show, they would probably be more tolerant of gay people in the future."
Larry Anderson, one of the people on the show, stated that Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay helped him get over his homophobia and stated that, had it been shown to a public audience, it would have told people that stereotypes about homosexuals are not true or accurate.
Not a single thing from Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay has surfaced. It is unlikely to surface due to the controversy it caused, and also due to the fact that Play It Straight failed in the ratings. The series will probably never see the light of day.
In August 2005, the reality show writers part of the Writer's Guild of America filed a lawsuit against FOX, intending to force them to recognize the screenwriting industry as a "collective bargaining unit", with Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay being cited as one of the programs in the case. In 2009, FOX settled the lawsuit by awarding the reality show writers $2.57 million.
- A Washington Post on the show's removal from television. Retrieved 16 May '19
- An article on the show's cancellation on a reality TV website. Retrieved 16 May '19
- An article from Advocate about the show's cancellation. Retrieved 16 May '19
- An article on the outrage against the quote. Retrieved 16 May '19
- An article about the lawsuit being settled. Retrieved 16 May '19