ABC airs a new episode of The Bachelor tonight and while usually that phrase would be greeted with a "Yeah, right. I don't watch that" before running off to grab a bottle of wine and the most comfortable seat on your couch, going into watching The Bachelor tonight is a bit different. Over the weekend it was revealed that the current bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis has some homophobic, or at the very least, interesting, thoughts when it comes to gay people. This puts fans in a difficult situation. Do we boycott The Bachelor? Do we continue with our watching as usual? It's tough.
It honestly seems that Galavis didn't mean to offend anyone with what he said. Of course, people offend each other all the time through their ignorance and that doesn't make it okay or better than doing it pointedly. Like ABC said in their statement about Galavis' comments, they "were careless, thoughtless and insensitive." There's no doubt about that. Personally, I believe that Galavis misspoke due to his difficulties with English when he said gay people are "more pervert in a sense." The problem is his apology for saying "pervert" didn't sound much better. He corrected himself saying that gays "are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience this would be too racy to accept." That's still pretty bad.
So then we have to look at why Galavis feels this way especially since he feels comfortable speaking about it openly. Galavis is not American. He was born in the US, but left at age 2 and didn't return until he played soccer in college. Then he went back to Venezuela and played for a professional team before returning to the US to play in Miami in 2008. So he's been in the US for a while and should probably know better than to speak out like this (or to even have these opinions at all at this point), but he did spend his formative years in a completely different culture. Different cultures have different norms — it's something that's easy to accept when it comes to the foods we eat or clothes we wear, but his statements about gays in America's current social/political climate make them particularly hard to hear.
It's clear from his words that Galavis is personally confused by gay people even though he respects them and has gay friends. Basically, Galavis isn't going to walk around and beat up any one for their choices, but does he understand being gay or do a good job talking about his opinions? No, not at all.
So really the options when it comes to watching are, do you choose to believe that he's probably a nice enough guy and is just from a different culture and could definitely have caught on to the American social landscape (not just when it comes to acceptance of gays, but also when it comes to people in the public eye speaking about controversial issues) a little quicker? Or do you stop watching because Galavis had enough time to learn what was right and wrong and chose to not get over his homophobia?
Of course, there's a third option where you realize that this show is already a crazy mess full of a bunch of women all dating one guy where it's rare to find even one person that seems normal and that it doesn't matter if you like Juan Pablo or not because this is a staged "reality" show and we already knew this dude was dumb enough to do not one, but two seasons of this. Yeah, there's always that comforting thought to consider before tuning in. It might be the easiest to swallow of all.