Less than a week after GLAAD gave MTV its first-ever “Excellent” rating, a star on MTV’s The Real World showed some outright viciousness toward LGBT people. A gay Twitter user and follower of Ryan Leslie, a cast member of Real World New Orleans, accused Leslie of being homophobic. He responded, “I would love to see you in person, and smash your gay f*cking face in.”
GLAAD’s response tweet, which was also posted by thousands of GLAAD supporters, confronted Leslie about his homophobic tweet: “Tell @MTV Real World’s @imRyanLeslie: stop threatening anti-gay violence on Twitter.”
At first, Leslie tweeted in response “I’m not homophobic!! And even if I were I would be aloud to be! So chill out.” Aside from the atrocious spelling, his tweet didn’t exactly show any regret for threatening to gay bash someone. While Leslie is allowed to hold whatever views he’d like about the LGBT community, threatening violence against anyone is not acceptable.
Apparently he eventually got the message. He later tweeted “No gay hate here.” And then, “Want to apologize to the gay community -tweet not meant to offend. I take responsibility for what I said on Friday and I am sorry.”
It turns out, however, that this isn’t the first bit of anti-gay rhetoric found on Leslie’s Twitterfeed. Just a couple days earlier, he retweeted someone else’s slur, stating that “preston is a faggot.” This time, his defense was “I love gay people! I hate preston, got it :).” Leslie seems to think that disliking certain gay people makes it okay to direct homophobic slurs and threats of violence toward them.
The Real World is supposed to be a reality show with a diverse cast, and perhaps it’s doing just that. After all, this season isn’t just full of homophobes — there’s also a gay cast member, Preston Robertson-Charles.
Still, can Leslie’s apology be taken seriously? After such a hateful message and a laughable response, I’m guessing Leslie is more concerned with his own image and popularity than he is with making amends with the LGBT community.
Photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa