What would you do if
you witnessed a gay bashing in the making?
That is the question
posed to Americans on Tuesday night by the ABC News program
What Would You Do?
Against a backdrop of
rising antigay violence across the country, the program brought
its social-experiment format to that quintessentially
heterosexual location -- a sports bar in New Jersey.
Two male actors, who
are partners in real life, portrayed a gay couple in various
scenarios, adjusting their interactions to gauge how bar
patrons responded. Other actors were planted to influence the
"It just seems weird
for the area," sniped one actor portraying a beer-swilling
harasser, as the gay couple sat together, dressed in matching
vests and sipping cosmos.
real patrons showed intolerance for snide remarks like his,
even as the gay couple escalated their touching and
"I would rather have
12 of you than four of him," said one man apologetically to
"Seriously, this is
not your [expletive] bar!" yelled an emotional woman to
one harasser, in defense of the gay couple.
Later, a real patron
who did harass the couple seemed to retract his views after the
hidden cameras were revealed. An expert interviewed by ABC News
attributed his transformation to the surprising peer pressure
to be tolerant.
"Tolerance has become
an American value," she said. "People work hard to give
others the impression that they believe similarly, even when