Thursday night. The offending incident began with a montage of clips from a previous episode, in which Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is shown flirting with an unidentified club patron, followed by his castmates repeatedly claiming the person was “a tra**y,” and that “if you have to think about it, it’s a tra**y. Stay away.”
However the instance was made much worse by both the show’s host and producers, who intercut with shots of cast member Ronnie Ortiz-Magro wearing a dress and MTV’s own footage of a large man in a bikini and a Halloween mask in an attempt to add more “humorous” context. Host Julissa Bermudez started off the interview segment by making fun of Ronnie for wearing a dress, and asking Mike Sorrentino, “Who was that tra**y?! What was up with that?!”
Given MTV’s usually exemplary record on LGBT issues and representation–including featuring transgender woman Katelynn Cusanelli on The Real World and the transgender-inclusive Vogue Evolution team on America’s Best Dance Crew–this is a particularly upsetting development. Not only is the word “tra**y” a dehumanizing and derogatory slur, the open mockery displayed by the show’s cast members, host, and producers requires a swift and genuine public apology.
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GLAAD reached out to MTV to voice our serious concerns with this segment and to demand action. MTV replied that they will respond Monday and chart a course of action. We will continue to update you on our progress.