Towleroad has been doing some great coverage of late night hack Jay Leno continuing on his path of homophobic jokes. The latest shining example of his "gay=joke" mentality came when Ryan Phillippe appeared on his show last week.
Phillippe was promoting his new film and Leno immediately brought up his first acting role as a gay teen on One Life to Live. The role was a serious one about a young man coming out to his father, but Leno mocked the role as a punch line, telling Phillippe to look into the camera and give his "gayest look." Philippe response to Jay's gay jab was to say uncomfortably, "Wow. That is so something I don't want to do."
Yes, there is nothing more embarrassing or funny than "playing gay", huh Jay? There is video of the exchange and more after the jump...
This is not Leno's first offense against the gay community. In 2006, Avenue Q writer Jeff Whitty challenged Leno on his mockery of gay people. Whitty wrote a letter to Leno and even had a phone chat with him, explaining how offensive his continued use of juvenile gay jokes was.
I have no problem with edgy comedy. I actually think that comedy can be a great tool to point out the absurdity of stereotypes and long-held bigotry against some groups. However, there is a huge difference between making fun of ignorant ideas of homophobia and having gay simply be a punch line to a juvenile joke.
When will Jay's ridiculous homophobic comedy routine end? That kind of anti-gay joking actually helps make the more blatantly offensive anti-gay comments (like Sally Kern's or Naugle's) more palatable to the public. It desensitizes people and perpetuates the idea that gays are not normal.
We really need to start holding people, especially those with large platforms like Leno has, accountable for the ideas they spread. Homophobic jabs are not funny. Gay is not a joke. Just ask the multitudes of LGBT youth who are teased and harassed everyday because of the lessons learned from people like Leno.