It’s been close to a month-and-a-half since Joy Behar made a “joke” about gay male penetration while moderating an episode of ABC’s The View. The mainstream media has basically ignored it. And even many of Behar’s apologists and fanboys within the LGBT community itself have dismissed criticism or made excuses for her. Sadly, this lack of human empathy isn’t very shocking in today’s hyperpolarized society.
Here’s what had happened.
On their June 22 broadcast, The View’s cohosts were discussing the outpouring of support after Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders became the first active NFL player to publicly come out as gay. Although the entire panel (including Behar herself) expressed solidarity with Nassib, there came a moment where Behar — containing a premeditated glint of impish glee in her eyes — quipped to cohost Ana Navarro:
You know, Ana, after they said ‘penetration in the endzone,’ they lost me.
The other women on the panel reacted with nervous laughter, head shakes, and facial cringes. As Behar proceeded to throw the segment to commercial break, she casually said to viewers:
By the way, that inappropriate joke I made for daytime television…scratch it. Make-believe I never said it.
My guess is that one of the producers must have pleaded with Behar, through her earpiece, to apologize. Alas, what she ultimately offered to us was a “non-apology” where, rather than saying “I’m sorry for what I did,” she instead implied “I’m sorry that I got caught.”
Although plenty of people on social media expressed disgust and outrage with Behar, a lot of others defended her. This is a sad testament to how ideological alliances have overshadowed human decency. It’s a flagrant reminder how LGBT people — especially gay male members of our community — are routinely reduced to our genital movements when folks are looking for a cheap punchline.