There was controversy when Bristol Palin did Dancing with the Stars, but the ABC television network is now under fire for its latest batch of casting for its upcoming season, set to debut this month. This season, the casting of Chaz Bono, an LGBT rights activist who happens to be transgendered, is causing the eyebrows of many to be raised.
Critics and longtime watchers of the hit reality series, which regularly tops the Nielsen ratings, criticized the network for “no longer being a family show,” “reaching a new low,” and “trying to desperately raise ratings” because of its casting of Bono.
DWTS executive producer Conrad Green defended the casting decisions in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter Wednesday. “What we try to do is reflect a broad range of the entertainment world in the casting of the show,” he said. “We’re always trying to find new things that people haven’t seen, new types of stories and that’s what we’ve been doing this season.”
He also denied that the show has an alleged “homosexual agenda” as many have been claiming because of the casting of Bono and former Queer Eye star Carson Kressley. “We don’t have an agenda of any sorts. I think of the 120 celebrities we’ve put on the show, we’ve had, I think now, three transgender or gay contestants. If that’s a homosexual agenda, we’re not doing very well at it,” Green added.
For his part, Chaz, who was born a female and underwent surgery to become a man, is saying that the reason he decided to do the show is to prove that “transgender people are just like everyone else. We’re not people to be afraid of or misunderstood.” He told Us Weekly that he would “love to get that message across.”
His mother Cher also defended her son on Twitter Wednesday, bashing those that are criticizing Bono for being cast on the show.
“I support him no matter what he chooses 2do! God! will there always be haters! It took COURAGE 2 do dwts ! TG Chaz has an Unlimited supply,” she tweeted. “Mothers don’t stop Getting angry with stupid bigots who (expletive) with their children” she also said.
Lacey Schwimmer, who was announced as being the professional dance partner of Bono, is already defending her partner, saying that it is “not okay” to be making such hateful remarks. “Why people feel it’s okay to judge, bully and harass others forcing themselves is beyond me. Shame on you people,” she tweeted.