Carmen Carrera. Photo courtesy of thedailybeast.com
TLC continues on its quest to be the trashiest channel on television with a recent episode of Cake Boss. Transgender celebrity Carmen Carrera was openly mocked in the June 11 episode. She originally thought that her appearance on the reality show would be spun in such a way to promote equality and acceptance of the transgender community.
Considering TLC, home of such embarrassments to humanity as Toddlers in Tiaras and Four Weddings, I'm amazed at Carrera's optimism.
Predictably, she was made the butt of a hateful joke. Throughout the course of the episode, Carrera flirted with Anthony Bellifemine, a character on the show, who welcomed her advances. The punchline was Buddy Valastro gleefully recounting the situation in an on-camera aside: "Anthony right now is on top of the world. You don't know what's coming, baby! I call him over because it's time to bring him back down to Chinatown. I tell him, 'That's a man, baby!'"
From conception to filming to editing, it was a clearly mean-spirited situation. And for just a bit more salt in the wound, Bellifemine later called Carrera an "it" while tweeting about the incident.
While TLC hasn't commented on the debacle, both Valastro and Bellifemine apologized publicly. Valastro released a statement affirming his support for "equality and gay rights" and Bellifemine tweeted an apology for his "it" comment. But the apologies, particularly Valastro's, sounded hollow and formulaic. It's hard to imagine a non-transphobic person participating in Cake Boss's nasty joke.