Adam Polaski

'The Sing-Off' Would Prefer to Not Talk About LGBT Youth

Filed By Adam Polaski | December 02, 2011 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: a cappella, LGBT erasure, Nick Lachey, Pentatonix, The Trevor Project

the-sing-off.jpegOn Monday's season finale of The Sing-Off, that a cappella reality competition series featuring former Newlywed Nick Lachey, the vocal groups got the chance to visit and perform for any public service organization of their choosing.

The Pentatonix, a coed quintet who wound up winning the competition on Monday, decided to visit the Trevor Project, the crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline service specifically tailored to LGBTQ youth.

Of course, if you're a casual viewer of The Sing-Off who's never heard of The Trevor Project, you'd think it was a general anti-bullying organization without any specific focus at all. That's because NBC and the producers or editors of The Sing-Off have gone out of their way to edit out any reference to the LGBTQ community in the segment about the organization.

AfterElton broke the story on Wednesday, highlighting the way that the Trevor Project is straight-washed:

Lachey introduced The Trevor Project segment by noting that when members of Pentatonix were younger, "they faced challenges because they were different," and that they had chosen to highlight "an organization working to help bullied youth."

Bullied youth? Partially true. But The Trevor Project very specifically seeks to provide suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. Was it too much for a prime time audience to hear those words and initials? It's like noting that the Susan G. Komen foundation helps people with chest problems.

Then come the edits. Scott Hoying, an adorable blond member of Pentatonix, is on screen at the start of the segment and just as he is about to utter the LGBTQ acronym, the camera cuts away. The same thing happens when The Trevor Project representative David McFarland explains, on camera, the organization's mission. Again, as he is about to say "LGBTQ," the producers cut away and the initials are edited out.

The segment goes on to show how people at the performance connect with the Trevor Project' mission. One man got picked on for being Jewish. Another girl got laughed at for her height. And one of the Pentatonix was made fun of for his voice.

There were no explicit references to someone being teased for their sexuality - real or perceived - or gender identity. But these instances of bullying are specifically what The Trevor Project deals with. Why even highlight an organization if you're going to erase integral components of its mission statement?

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