Cameron Dallas Made An Offensive Joke About Jessica Alba At The 2016 Teen Choice Awards & His Fans Deserve Better
As televised ceremonies go, the Teen Choice Awards are one of least serious. Usually, that silliness manifests in fun ways, like the fact that winners get surfboards instead of trophies or that John Cena looks better than anyone could have guessed in a Hillary Clinton wig. But when Vine star Cameron Dallas tried to get in on some of the irreverence during the telecast this Sunday night, he made a joke about actress Jessica Alba that fell extremely flat. Actually, that's putting it nicely. Cameron Dallas' joke about Jessica Alba at the Teen Choice Awards came off as misogynistic, whether he intended it to be or not. (Bustle's request for comment from Dallas' representatives has not yet been answered.)
Here's how it went down. Before the very first commercial break, Dallas had a moment in the 2016 Teen Choice Awards green room. He was also up for Choice Male Web Star; fans were still voting on that and the Female Web Star category throughout the show. The co-host doing dispatches from the green room bestowed Dallas with a surfboard he'd already won: Choice Social Media King. After accepting his surfboard, the following exchange went down between Dallas and the co-host.
Host: "Are you ready to play Teen Choice Would You Rather?"Dallas: "Yeah, yeah, let's do it."Host: "Would you rather use Justin Timberlake's toothbrush or Jessica Alba's toothbrush?"Dallas: "Oh man, I would honestly use Justin Timberlake's because I don't know where Jessica Alba's been."
Um, what now? Let's see: where has Jessica Alba been? Well, she's an actor, a dancer, and a mother, so she's been on stages, at movie premieres, at home with her children, at awards shows, and many more places that people with such roles frequent. She's also an entrepreneur, having founded the successful natural product line The Honest Company, so she's probably been in some boardrooms, at product launches, and in quite a few business meetings. She's a professional woman with a family and several successful ventures, and Dallas' joke reduced her to her sexual history — which he knows nothing about. Of course you don't know "where she's been," dude. Because that's none of your business and trying to joke about it is offensive.
Dallas' response was clearly rattled off in the moment, and I don't believe he woke up in the morning planning to make a sexist joke on national television. He might not have even realized the implications of his response. But as personalities who millions of kids and teens look up to, stars like Dallas have to build up their filter and carefully select the messages they're putting out there. I wish he'd taken a breath and thought before he spoke. If he did and still chose to get a laugh out of a crass line like that, then I hope someone close to him feels comfortable enough to start a dialogue about what kind of speech is OK and not OK in a forum like this.
"It's just a joke!" is a common response in a scenario like this. And I want to believe that it was. But the intent doesn't trump the effect. The young people of every gender tuning in to see their favorite stars on the Teen Choice Awards deserve better than jokes that rely on slut-shaming.