Update - 6:30PM, August 15, 2011
Adam Carolla just responded to TMZ after GLAAD, community members and allies spoke out earlier today. Carolla stated: "I'm sorry my comments were hurtful. I'm a comedian, not a politician."
"Adam Carolla has a history of making anti-LGBT and racist statements," said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD. "Networks and advertisers should remember that attacking people who are different from him, and following it with empty apologies, is just a regular part of Carolla's routine."
August 15, 2011
GLAAD will be reaching out to its allies in the entertainment world to let them know about Adam Carolla's history of racist and homophobic remarks, following an incident last week.
On his podcast last Thursday, the former "Man Show" host spent several minutes of his show railing against, among other things, the idea of teaching people to respect the transgender community. In his rant, he also told LGBT people to "shut up" because by speaking out about equality, they are "ruining his life" and said that members of the LGBT community should stop using the letters "LGBT" to describe themselves, and should instead use "YUCK."
Carolla at one point asked: "When did we start giving a sh*t about these people?"
Wow, what a great joke.
Blogger Autumn Sandeen from Pam's House Blend alerted us to this incident. The rant, which you can hear here (Thanks to TGPride.net. Link contains explicit and offensive language.) also includes racist stereotypes, including the use of "ching chong" to describe an impression of an Asian person.
This is not the first time that GLAAD has taken issue with statements Carolla has made, and, as evidenced above, LGBT people are hardly the only community about which Carolla has made ignorant remarks. In the past, Carolla has called the people of Hawaii "dumb," "stupid," "in-bred," and "retarded" people who are among the "dumbest people we have." Last year, Carolla referred to a Filipino boxer as being illiterate, having brain damage, and someone who prays to chicken bones – and stated that this boxer was 'all the people of the Philippines have.'
Speaking about LGBT people, Carolla has said that 'all things being equal' - gay parents are 'not as good as' straight parents. This, despite virtually every credible authority on child health and social services (including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Child Welfare League of America) having determined that a parent's sexual orientation has nothing to do with the ability to be a good parent. Kids of gay parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as other children. Carolla said himself after he insulted Filipino people, "I try to be provocative [and] funny but I crossed the line and I'm sorry." So it's clear that this type of ignorance is a part of his act, and maybe he thinks that homophobia and transphobia make him 'edgy.' Carolla should own up to the harms of his words and educate himself about the hardships and disrespect the transgender community faces every day. Unfortunately, based on his track record, that may be a lost cause.
At the very least, GLAAD is asking his listeners and fans to spend a few minutes today learning about the people Carolla spent several minutes mocking.
We're asking his listeners to learn about what happens when we don't teach people that our transgender brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors deserve respect. People can read the entire landmark study "Injustice at Every Turn" here – but we are asking Carolla's listeners to read this Advocate column by Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which co-produced the report with the National Center for Transgender Equality.
The hunger to be visible, to share experiences of harm and resiliency is notable, as this became the largest ever study of its kind. A total of 6,500 transgender and gender-nonconforming people from all 50 states and several territories shared with us their experiences of discrimination.
The data we collected was shocking. I know firsthand, from my friends and my work at the Task Force, that discrimination remains a tragic fact of life for far too many in our community. I know that if we do not act in stereotypical "male" or "female" ways, many take this nonconformity as an open invitation to harass or act violently toward us.
Even with all I have seen over the years, the picture coming out of our study is deeply disturbing. Transgender individuals live in poverty at nearly four times the national rate. They are twice as likely to be unemployed. Over 25% reported that they had lost a job due to their transgender identity. They are twice as likely to be homeless, four times more likely to be HIV-positive, and perhaps most appallingly, 41% have attempted suicide, more than 26 times the rate (1.6%) of the general population.
A few minutes of education might hopefully counteract a few minutes of Carolla's ignorance.
Rather than simply condemn Carolla's remarks, we're going to be reaching out to our network and studio partners, as well as the development executives we've worked with, to let them know that this incident needs to be taken seriously when considering him for future projects.
"Given his history of anti-gay and racist comments, networks and advertisers should know what their money is supporting if they choose to hire Adam Carolla. The gross intolerance that he tries to pass off as comedy should not have a place on our airwaves."
-Herndon Graddick, GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs
What Carolla doesn't understand is that ignorance does not give his act an "edge." In fact, ignorance is about as far from an "edge" as you can get – it's unchallenging, it's flat, and it's dull. There's nothing funny about saying we shouldn't teach that transgender people deserve respect. But Carolla's decision to use one of the country's most marginalized communities as a target is not just lazy comedy. It reinforces the idea that transgender people shouldn't be treated with the same respect as everyone else – an attitude that leads to discrimination, harassment, and violence.