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.
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.