Last week, MTV aired its Jersey Shore Reunion Special, which featured one of the most blatantly transphobic scenes aired anywhere on television in the last few years. As we described it after it aired:
The offending incident began with a montage of clips from a previous episode, in which Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is shown flirting with an unidentified club patron, followed by his castmates repeatedly claiming the person was “a tra**y,” and that “if you have to think about it, it’s a tra**y. Stay away.”
However the instance was made much worse by both the show’s host and producers, who intercut with shots of cast member Ronnie Ortiz-Magro wearing a dress and MTV’s own footage of a large man in a bikini and a Halloween mask in an attempt to add more “humorous” context. Host Julissa Bermudez started off the interview segment by making fun of Ronnie for wearing a dress, and asking Mike Sorrentino, “Who was that tra**y?! What was up with that?!”
We reached out to MTV with our concerns, and the network has now apologized for the incident. MTV said in a statement:
We appreciate GLAAD voicing concern about the “Jersey Shore” reunion special. The segment in question was certainly not meant to be insensitive, but in retrospect we realize that it was offensive to some viewers. We sincerely apologize.
We appreciate the network taking responsibility for the offensive segment in the “Jersey Shore” reunion special, that first aired on October 28. MTV has also invited GLAAD representatives to a meeting as an opportunity for MTV to become better educated on transgender issues. Subsequent to that meeting, MTV has offered to update the Jersey Shore reunion special for any future encores that air after the current repeat cycle ends on 11/4. The offensive material will be omitted from the updated version.