GLAAD's website says it best, "Words and Images Matter." So when major publications such as Vanity Fair use the word "f*g" to describe the characters Kurt and Blaine on the television show Glee, even if written by the openly gay writer Brett Berk, it is not acceptable.Brought to attention by bloggers Steve Pepat Towleroad and Perez Hilton, GLAAD's position is that Vanity Fair, not just the author must apologize for the use of this word because it "communicated to its audience was that the f-word can sometimes be an appropriate way to describe gay youth, like Kurt and Blaine. Thousands of “real life” Kurts and Blaines in America get called this word every day – in school, online, and sometimes even at home. It’s not okay there, and it's not okay here either." GLAAD's blog goes further, "And what about the thousands of Glee viewers who personally identify with Kurt or Blaine? What are they left to think? “Is that what I am? Is that ALL I am?’” Anti-gay slurs are anti-gay slurs, even if they’re intended not to be taken as such." While Brett Berk posted the following apology:
“UPDATED: I would like to apologize sincerely to anyone I offended with the use of the term “f*g” (now removed) in this “Gay Guide to Glee” column. As an openly gay writer writing in an overtly overblown style, my intent in using the word in this offhanded way was to continue my consistent efforts to confront and challenge stereotype, to unpack the way in which language works, and to deconstruct the clever gender politics at play in the scene I described….” (continued here).
GLAAD explained to the editors of Vanity Fair, "why an apology from the author alone doesn’t cover the publication’s responsibility to keep anti-gay slurs out of its pages." The editors soon posted this response:
With so many genuine homophobes stirring up trouble these days, the gay community doesn’t need any agita from an ally like vanityfair.com, so we are eager to set the record straight about the use of the word “f*gs” in Brett Berk’s latest “Gay Guide to Glee” column. Brett, who has repeatedly referred to himself as VF.com’s “fun and f*ggy editor” (a title the editors have declined to endorse), writes from a humorous and explicitly gay perspective, and his invocation of this complicated word was meant to critique the notion that the gay characters of Glee should feel obliged to “play straight” on stage. That said, we recognize that the column caused genuine offense to many readers, and we apologize unreservedly to them.