By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com January 18 2014 1:02 PM ET
ABC's newest Bachelor ignited angry criticism after telling a reporter, that to protect children watching at home, there should never be a gay version of the dating show. Now the reality star is complaining his words were "taken out of context" while also blaming his poor English — despite audio of the interview being released online.
Juan Pablo Galavis (the focus of the "Love This Juan-uary" slogan) told Sean Daly of The TV Page on Friday that “I don’t think it is a good example for kids to watch that on TV." He went on to say a gay leading man would be "too hard to watch" and that gay people are "more pervert in a sense."
Since debuting in 2002, there has never been a gay version of The Bachelor. The omission has become the target of ridicule by the likes of Jesse Tyler Ferguson and George Takei, who staged a fake gay spin-off last year for Funny or Die.
Instead, the latest object of affection is Galavis, 32, a former pro soccer player who grew up in Venezuela. Although Galavis said "I respect them because they want to have kids," what appears to really confuse Galavis is how gay people raise children at all.
"Now there is fathers having kids and all that, and it is hard for me to understand that too," he said, adding that, "Two parents sleeping in the same bed and the kid going into bed… It is confusing in a sense." Galavis has a 5-year-old daughter, Camila, who he often talks about on the show.
ABC quickly condemned the comments as outrage spread online. “Juan Pablo’s comments were careless, thoughtless and insensitive, and in no way reflect the views of the network, the show’s producers or studio,” the show's executive producers said in a statement, according to GLAAD.
Then on his Facebook page, Galavis apologized and said, "Everyone knows English is my second language and my vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish." Here's the complete apology, followed by the audio:
"I want to apologize to all the people I may have offended because of my comments on having a Gay or Bisexual Bachelor. The comment was taken out of context. If you listen to the entire interview, there's nothing but respect for Gay people and their families. I have many gay friends and one of my closest friends who's like a brother has been a constant in my life especially during the past 5 months. The word pervert was not what I meant to say and I am very sorry about it. Everyone knows English is my second language and my vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish and, because of this, sometimes I use the wrong words to express myself. What I meant to say was that gay people are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience this would be too racy to accept. The show is very racy as it is and I don't let my 5 year old daughter watch it. Once again, I'm sorry for how my words were taken. I would never disrespect anyone."
If that didn't drive home the message, Galavis issued a second apology via GLAAD that specifically noted his support for LGBT youth and for gay parents he knows. He also promised to meet with the staff at GLAAD. Here's that apology:
"I have heard from many gay Latinos today who are hurt because of what I said and I apologize. I know gay parents and I support them and their families. They are good parents and loving families. I am a father and I know the feel of being a father, why wouldn't I want my gay friends to also be happy parents?
I also want gay and lesbian youth to know that it is fine to be who you are. Gay or straight, Black or White, Latin or American, what matters here is to respect who we are.
I look forward to meeting with gay and lesbian families as well as Monica and Wilson from GLAAD. Gay and lesbian people, and the children they are raising, wrongfully face discrimination and I want them to know that I'm on their side."
Listen to audio of the initial interview with The TV Page: