• Gay BlogAds

  • Gay News Watch

  • Chris Tweets

  • « No snickers for Snickers | Main | 'Cured' Haggard will pay it forward »

    February 07, 2007

    GLAAD bitch slaps Shirley Q.

    Posted by: Chris

    Shirleyqliquor Fresh from its "victory" over a candy bar, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is now trifling with a two-bit drag act that isn't even anti-gay.

    My good friend Neil Giuliano, GLAAD's president, issued a press release yesterday condemning Charles Knipp, the white gay man in blackface drag who for years has been peddling his racist, misogynist comedy act as  Shirley Q. Liquor.

    "While our work at GLAAD is about promoting fair, accurate and inclusive media representations of the LGBT community, this issue has risen to a level of visibility and importance that we feel compelled to add our voice to those speaking out against this awful portrayal," Giuliano said.  "Based on what we have heard from community members and read about this character, we are joining those taking a stand against Knipp's offensive caricature. …

    "This performance perpetuates ugly racial stereotypes that are offensive, hurtful and simply unacceptable, and we are urging our constituents to visit glaad.org so that they can express their concerns to the venues at which Knipp is expected to perform in the coming months."

    Jasmynecannick Neil says that "recent email communications by several community members" brought Knipp's act to GLAAD's attention, but it was really black lesbian activist Jasmyne Cannick who pushed GLAAD into action.  As I relayed in a previous blog post, Cannick somehow excuses Isaiah ("Dr. McHomophobe") Washington for calling openly gay colleague T.R. Knight a "faggot" because — and the connection still mystifies me — the "white gay media" has ignored Knipp a.k.a. Liquor.

    Never mind, as my previous blog post pointed out, a number of articles in just the gay publications I've edited have covered Knipp, including one story that led to a prominent appearance in Atlanta being canceled. Now that Cannick said "frog" and GLAAD jumped, is Cannick finally taking Washington to task, rather than organizing signatures for an online petition to help him keep his job?

    Not exactly.  She issued a statement (available on her website) that commends GLAAD for condemning Knipp, but she damns with faint praise:  "It's a small step from GLAAD, but it's a step and I'll take it," she writes. "What's the old saying…better late than never."

    GLAAD's decision to step outside its mission — which is to respond to anti-gay defamation — was transparently political, though likely without long-term effect except to open the door for complaints that GLAAD hasn't responded to any number of "ist" and "phobe" activities by gay folk. At least it puts the lie to Cannick's silly contention — reprinted in a number of prominent African American newspapers nationwide — that gay activists leapt on Washington because "they smelled meat, dark meat." As if gay (white) activists ever sought out battles with African Americans, prominent or otherwise.

    Since the Human Rights Campaign ventured onto GLAAD's turf in Snicker-gate, we'll have to wait to see whether Cannick lobbies HRC to slap down Shirley as well.  My guess is she'll steer well clear of publicly pressuring the Stonewall Democrats, since she co-authors the group's blog.

    I am happy to join Cannick and GLAAD in condemning Knipp's silly racist banter, even though RuPaul and legendary (black) drag queen Ella Fitzgerald defend him/her and even though his/her fans include quite a few black gay men.  My (few) (white) gay friends who love Shirley Q.  give the crystal clear impression they're laughing at, not with, the targets of her comic slings.  And they often take pleasure in mocking black people (and Latinos, and Asians, and lesbians and so on) in ways that would make any redneck proud. (Yes, I tell them so.)

    But the failure of gay groups in the past to go outside their mission statements to campaign against Shirley's sad little minstrel act hardly justifies excusing an A-list black celebrity on a top-rated TV show who called his gay colleague "a faggot" and then used the word again at a press conference, lying about it.

    What's the old saying…two wrongs don't make a right.



    TrackBack URL for this entry:

    Listed below are links to weblogs that reference GLAAD bitch slaps Shirley Q.:

    1. Holy Shit! We Agree with GLAAD! from Queerty on Feb 8, 2007 11:15:07 AM

      We've given GLAAD a bunch of shit in the past, so it's a little hard for us to say this, but we have to show them a little love for taking a stand against Charles Knipp's outlandishly offensive minstrel... [Read More]


    1. North Dallas Thirty on Feb 7, 2007 5:49:43 PM:

      What I find hilarious about this is that Knipp isn't saying anything different than have comedians such as Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, and Chris Rock, all of whom are more than willing to repeat (or exploit, depending on how you look at it) stereotypes of black Americans to get a laugh.

      In short, it's not what the mouth is saying, it's the color of the mouth that's saying it. Very progressive.

      And as for Cannick, given her silence on such matters as the blackface portrayals of Michael Steele and Joe Lieberman by her political allies and fellow paid Democratic staffers, I find it hard to believe that anything she says is motivated by outrage over racial statements; more likely, it's motivated more by who's paying her.

    1. Carl on Feb 7, 2007 10:38:17 PM:

      I don't really know why GLAAD needed to get involved, but I have to admit that I don't see the point of a white person being in blackface (and I felt the same way about the blackface portrayals of Lieberman last year; Steele I hadn't read anything about).

      Not to sound "PC", but I do think that things like Liquor are a really bad image to put forward in 2007. I don't know if GLAAD should have gotten involved, but I'm glad to see that someone said something.

    1. Take A Stand on Feb 8, 2007 1:24:48 PM:

      Chris, Neil may be a friend of yours but quite frankly, regarding Snickers, GLAAD was no where to be found during the past few days. It was HRC and bloggers who made things happen.

      I have to say I find GLAAD to be more and more inconsistent since the board appointed Neil Guiliano, an avowed Republican, to lead the organization. Certainly, their effectiveness and relevance have been greatly diminished.

      A further point to their growing ineffectiveness, in regard to the Isaiah Washington incidents, GLAAD wasn’t even able to tackle the issue by themselves as they would have in the past; they required the help, once again, of HRC.

      And perhaps their most baffling and incompetent inaction was the choice to remain silent over the Mark Foley scandal. At a time when newscasters and political pundits, such as Pat Robertson, were connecting pedophilia to homosexuality, describing Foley as a “flamer,” and saying Pelosi and Kerry marched in gay pride parades alongside NAMBLA, GLAAD issued a statement saying that the were choosing to remain silent so as to not fuel the fire. Fuel the fire? That’s their job. In fact, as a not-for-profit media watchdog organization, donors are contributing money to GLAAD with the expectation GLAAD will speak out against defamatory statements- NOT remain silent. It makes you wonder whether Neil is a friend of Mark Foley and that their relationship has clouded his judgment. Or perhaps Neil was more concerned about losing the House and Senate then to making sound choices in the best interest of the GLBT community. Or perhaps the new base of Gay Republican donors are expecting him to back off any Republican based issues. Any way- his inaction was grossly negligent.

    1. Alan down in Florida on Feb 8, 2007 6:03:00 PM:

      I think the failure of GLAAD to speak out on the Foley matter was due to the entire gay community's efforts to separate the "awfulness" of what Mr. Foley did from the fact that he was a homosexual. His "crimes" (not that he's actually been charged with anything yet) were sufficiently seedy and disreputable enough that saying anything about his homosexuality at all would tie the two together in the public mind that is already inclined to make that connection.

    1. Citizen Crain on Feb 10, 2007 11:28:08 AM:

      Let's not oversimplify things, NorthDallasThirty. We know from being the butt of jokes for years (pun intended) that what separates funny from offensive is whether you're being laughed at, or laughed with. When the person telling the joke is a member of your group, they get a "pass" because it's safe to assume they're laughing alongside you.

      When the person making jokes about ignorant black women addicted to booze and drugs with and living on welfare with 19 children is a white man in black-face and drag, well it's easy to see why many black people would assume they're being laughed at, not with.

      And let's not fall victim to the same victimized philosophy Cannick is peddling. Just because she hasn't spoken out on incidents you care about doesn't in itself make her hypocrite for speaking out against Knipp. The same goes for GLAAD, which didn't need to jump through Cannick's hoops for its criticisms of Isaiah Washington to have merit.

    1. Alan down in Florida on Feb 10, 2007 12:41:52 PM:

      I find this whole situation analgous the to recent flap over the N-word and the new F-word. Since both groups are given the freedom to use the words amongst their own kind it is considered by many acceptable. This is the same thing occurring when Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy (or almost every male comic on BET Comedy Jam) makes fun of black women or when gay comedians make fun of gay life. Shirley Q Liquor is not a member of the group she lampoons and so that makes it offensive. What's the matter, Mr. Knipp couldn't make it in the comedy world as a white man making fun of white people.

      Speaking of Eddie Murphy he is taking flak from the same sources over his portrayal of fat black women in his new movie, even though Martin LAwrence and Tyler Perry have been milking the same cow (pun intended) for years. Some people are even speculating it could cost Eddie the Oscar that he would have deserved. Making fun of people not like yourself is a treacherous road in today's PC climate.

    1. alex on Dec 31, 2011 12:32:57 PM:

      Speaking of bitchslapping, you might want to check out this video of Canadian comedian Josh Rimer. It makes me laugh! http://youtu.be/yDCk3NN_HAs

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad