Bil Browning

On cupcakes and communication

Filed By Bil Browning | September 24, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: FOX 59, homophobic bakery, Indianapolis, Just Cookies, Ray Cortopassi

While the story out of Indianapolis of a homophobic bakery refusing to make rainbow colored cupcakes for a college gay group is the topic of this news report by local Fox reporter Ray Cortopassi, I want to take a moment to reflect on the actual quality of the reporting.


Indy's not known for the quality of the LGBT coverage. Cortopassi's report, however, stands miles above the usual God-awful reporting on our issues in the Indianapolis market.

The major network affiliates are very hit or miss and the Indianapolis Star has long had a conservative viewpoint; they were owned by former Vice President Dan Quayle's family for decades.

NBC reporter Steve Jefferson was named the "Worst Journalist in the Nation" by GLAAD in December of 2008 after his horrid piece on the murder of transwoman Taysia Elzy and her boyfriend. The majority of local media outlets botched that story so badly it led to media trainings by the Indianapolis National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association chapter that I was happy to participate in.

Since I've often railed about the state of reporting on LGBT issues in Indianapolis, I think it's vitally important that we give credit where it's due. Cortopassi should be nominated for a GLAAD award for this story.

Not only does he use correct terminology, but he doesn't put the usual "Let's ask the religious right what they think" spin on the report. Instead of trying to find a reason to justify discrimination - as so many media outlets do - he simply lets the facts speak for themselves.

He doesn't have to paint a picture for the viewers. His report speaks for itself and lets the parties involved make their case. The homophobia and discrimination that the business owner espouses says more than any reporter possibly could. It paints a vivid picture of why Indiana needs LGBT protections for employment, public accommodations, and housing.

GLAAD's Director of National News, Cindy Creager, commented on the quality of Cortopassi's reporting. "This is a great example of how media across the country are shifting to fair and accurate reporting. In December 2008, a local NBC reporter in the Circle City used inaccurate and offensive terminology to describe a transgender woman who was brutally murdered in her own home. Now, we're seeing fair reporting that challenges homophobia in the community. It's stories like this one that grow acceptance of our community and reinforce the importance of holding media accountable for the stories they tell."

With one news report, Cortopassi has done more to spur conversations about anti-gay attitudes in Indiana than the state equality group has managed to do all year. If activists don't jump on this and ride it all the way to the statehouse, they're even less competent than the rest of the Indianapolis media.

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"Not only does he use correct terminology, but he doesn't put the usual "Let's ask the religious right what they think" spin on the report."

It was an excellent bit of coverage, and certainly leads to the conclusion that the customers were refused because they were believed to be associated with an LGBT cause.

As to the religious right's opinion, I suspect it might be something like: "What if one of our folks asked an LGBT-identified bakery to decorate a cake with an American flag, the Bible, and a picture of Christ.......and the owner refused?"

There are big newsworthy causes......not sure this one rises to that level, though.

Yes, I wonder why this is news --- after all, cupcake icing is not exactly rocket fuel, and we could be making our own rainbow cupcakes.

And if the bakery doesn't want the job, why not just move on to the next bakery? I can't imagine that every baker in Indy will refuse our money.

And if the cupcakes are a bit expensive ... hey, we better take note that a rainbow flag painted on a white cupcake involves seven different colors of icing!

But in any event, I'm glad the reporter is doing a good job.

As someone who's done her share of professional bakery and confectionary, well, there's a couple ways to do that. The colors are actually not that bad; most bakeries will have twice that many colors set to go in piping bags. You just do all of one color in stripes at a time before switching, would take me five minutes to do a couple dozen that way.

In the video, the cupcakes pictured actually demonstrates an easier, 1-bag method. You take a single piping bag of white buttercream, and put a small drop of each color down the icing in the open end, basically drawing a rainbow of 'dot' sized drops of coloring. you twist a little at the bottom, and it comes out in white, but with rainbow swirls.

That's not even getting into airbrushing the lot of them and knocking out a gross in a half hour (or less).


That said, well, I think it's a bit silly that they ordered cupcakes from a cookie shop >_>, but okay, I guess the point is still there. They found another bakery, problem solved, and now this guy is publicly known for refusing rainbow money, which may impact business slightly (and I hope it does!) Yeah, good reporting, if it was a quirky story at times.

Regan DuCasse | September 24, 2010 5:28 PM

How are gay people supposed to know what the owners think and feel about them?

There are no signs out front!

Here's what's really the deal: business owners with a religious objections are suspiciously directing their exclusion at ONLY gay and lesbian patrons.

In this country of much diversity, and non discrimination in most public accommodation, it's IMPOSSIBLE for a gay person, or any intelligent person, to believe that such objections are applied consistently.
They aren't. And we all know it.

If you want to have consistent religious objections, but have a public business, one has other options.
You can't have it both ways, and expect the government or the marketplace to support you.

A sign out front would sure settle THAT in a heartbeat.
Let's call it what it is, anti gay cowardice trying to hide behind the 1st amendment. So use the 1st amendment BEFORE the fact. Put out a sign. You're totally free to do that.

The consequences of that, will also tell quite easily, what kind of religion...or person, or values, you actually have.

This made me roll my eyes. This is news? The good thing coming out of it is that people can now boycott the owner's stupid beliefs (young impressionable daughters? Are rainbows rapey?).

If I lived in Indy, I'd go try to order some vagina cookies from them or something.

I wonder if "City Market" is actually owned by the city government -- in DC places like "Eastern Market" are. And if that is the case, would it be covered by nondiscrimination laws? Or do none exist in the city?