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Vanity Fair in Hot Water Over Gay Slur in Glee Recap

If you read the Vanity Fair online recap of last week’s Glee episode, “Sexy,” something may have shocked you. “Nice singing,” recapper Brett Berk wrote about the Warblers’ performance of “Animal.” “But how can having girls in the audience make these cartwheeling, foam-party f**s straight-sexy?"

Needless to say, the use of that gay slur was taken very seriously by many. “We're very surprised that a magazine such as Vanity Fair would allow their writers to use this kind of language,” Perez Hilton commented. “We need to make this stop!” removed the slur, and writer Berk responded to the criticisms leveled against him:

“I would like to apologize sincerely to anyone I offended with the use of the term “f**” (now removed) in this ‘Gay Guide to Glee’ column,” he wrote. “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: teasing out the purposeful incongruity of this (foamy) attempt to make the conspicuously gay Dalton Warblers seem ‘sexy’ to females. Anyone with even a whiff of familiarity with my writing will know that I am, and have long been, a tireless agitator, here at and elsewhere, for gay rights, as well as a huge supporter of everything Glee has accomplished in advancing a meaningful dialogue about homosexuality in our popular culture — and in our youth culture in particular.”

It’s one thing to stand up for gay rights, but it’s quite another to use derogatory language to “undermine” the dominant structure. He used the hurtful word in a manner verging on flippant — despite his assurances to the contrary. We support his cause, but he should take more care with the words he uses to advance it.

What do you think, Gleeks: Is Berk’s apology/explanation acceptable, or did he go too far?

03.14.2011 / 09:35 PM EDT by Christopher Rosen
Related: Glee, Gossip

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