If you watched Vanderpump Rules last night, you known that the highlight of the episode was unquestionably the roast of Jax Taylor.
For the most part, the cast showed some surprising comedic chops in skewering the West Coast's answer to The Situation
Unfortunately, as is often the case at this sort of event, someone crossed the line into decidedly "not cool" territory - and surprisingly, it was a member of the audience.
As fans of the show know, rumors about Jax being gay have been circulating for years.
At this point, it's sort of a running gag amongst the group of frenemies, and while there may be problematic undertones, it seems that the humor isn't rooted in homophobia, but rather in the notion that Jax used to exchange sexual favors for rent money.
But that's not the way Brittany Cartwright's mother sees it.
If you watch Vanderpump Rules online, then you're aware that Brittany's mom, Cherrie, is an ultra-conservative, deeply religious woman who's less than thrilled about her daughter's choice of suitor.
Remarkably, however, she was unconcerned about the allegations that Jax loves cocaine, cheated on every girlfriend he's ever had, and has served time behind bars on numerous occasions.
What did bother her, however, was what she described as the "homosexual stuff."
Jax's alleged past as a male escort made its way into the night's stand-up routines, and each time, Cherrie made no effort to conceal her chagrin.
"He's slept with many, many women," Tom Schwartz joked about Jax at one point. "And a few men!"
Cherrie grimaced as her daughter jokingly (we think) covered her ears.
Several cast members and producer Andy Cohen have defended Cherrie, claiming that she was simply upset by the idea that her possible future son-in-law might be attracted to other
But in addition to being rooted in a dangerous stereotype about bisexual men, that excuse doesn't hold water for two reasons:
Cherrie wasn't upset about the many anecdotes regarding Jax's infidelity with other women, and she was also outraged by the jokes about Brittany hooking up with Kristen.
Taking place, as it does, in West Hollywood, and featuring as one of its stars the owner of a prominent area gay club, Vanderpump is usually a pretty progressive, liberal-minded show.
(Though the cast rightfully took some flak for reacting to the Orlando nightclub shooting for turning up and dancing on top of bars.)
So fans were upset not only by Cherrie's homophobic views, but the cast's defense of her comments.
"Britt & her mom are HUGE #LGBTQ activists," Stassi Schroeder tweeted during the show.
"Any mom would be concerned if she heard her daughter's bf might not be 'into her.'"
As we're reminded every time we see some jackass with a Pepe the Frog meme as his avatar, there is still a lot of hate in America, and some of us are forced to confront it within our own homes or social circles.
Except for in extreme cases, that doesn't mean that we have to condemn the bigoted parties and sever ties.
But it also doesn't mean that we have to defend them or make excuses on their behalf.
The way forward is to acknowledge hate and backward ideas and try to help our prejudiced pals see the error of their ways.
Considering Jax and Brittany just landed a spinoff, we get the sense that this a position Mr. Taylor (who's actually shown himself to be admirably right-minded on this particular issue) will find himself in more often in the years to come.
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