“Let me not mince words here. This president traffics in racism and is fueled by bullying. President Trump is trying a divide-and-conquer strategy here and here’s how it goes. He divides by race and tries to conquer decency by smearing and besmirching the truth and the people who fight to uphold it. Referring to African-Americans as dumb is one of the oldest canards of America’s racist past and present — that black people are of inferior intelligence.
“Unlike this president who lashes out wildly at anyone who criticizes him, LeBron James — in addition to being a brilliant black man, a superstar in his sport, and a hero to his community — is taking the high road, which is exactly where he belongs.” – Don Lemon, reacting last night to the below tweet, which has more than twice as many “likes” as the average Trump tweet.
Comedy, at its best, is supposed to stare down the truth. Once a fairly simple task, any kind of reckoning with “truth” becomes slightly more complicated in today’s world, where there are as many truths to one story as there are people who lived it, witnessed it, and hear about it. It’s a comedian’s job, in the world of #MeToo, to figure out how to poke fun at trauma while actually taking it very, very seriously. No one has yet managed to walk this line better than the gay Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, whose stand-up show “Nanette” recently started streaming on Netflix.
Gadsby has been in a few Australian shows and comedy specials, namely the magnificent “Please Like Me,” where she played a frankly suicidal and self-hating woman in recovery. “Nanette” draws on aspects of her fictional character in “Please Like Me” as well as her career as a stand-up comic to talk about why she’s giving up comedy for good. Or at least, a certain kind of comedy. Self-deprecating comedy, Gadsby starts out by saying in “Nanette,” may be the go-to style for comedians who are in a recognized minority. However, for those who aren’t in power, self-deprecation “isn’t humility,” said Gadsby. “It’s humiliating.”
This is the thesis of “Nanette,” a special that Gadsby named before she knew what it was going to be about. The name is used as a sort of throwaway joke in the beginning of a show: A relationship didn’t work out with a “fascinating” woman named Nanette. Gadsby used the name as inspiration before she knew how that relationship would end. Though it seems like a good way to name a comedy special that really can’t be summarized in a name (what do you call an hour-long treatise on the sins of patriarchy?) it’s also perfectly emblematic of what Gadsby is doing in her half-comic, half-tragic one-woman show. She’s talking about a relationship that didn’t work out: Her relationship with comedy, which presumably ends with “Nanette,” her greatest, most critically-acclaimed triumph. How many artists can say goodbye to the art form to which they’ve dedicated their life with such a bang? And how many can give a farewell to comedy show that ends with a 12-minute soliloquy that could not be more serious, in which Gadsby details her own rape, abuse, and humiliation at the hands of a patriarchal society?
If this account doesn’t seem to make “Nanette” cohere, all the better. “Nanette” is not, and should not be, about narrative coherence. It tells the story of one woman’s continuing, semi-abusive relationship with comedy, with the world, with mental health, in an attempt to turn pain and sadness into outward, righteous anger. It succeeds, and it tears us apart in the process. “Nanette” must be seen to be believed, it must be seen to be understood as the great work of art that it is. In short, it must be seen.
Activist and writer Janet Mock made history on Sunday, when the episode of Pose she wrote and directed aired on FX to virtually unanimous acclaim.
Mock became the first transgender person of colour to direct a TV show. “Love is the Message” was the sixth episode of the show’s inaugural season, for which Mock also worked as a writer—the first trans woman of colour to write for television—and producer. Set in the late 1980s, Pose focuses on life and society in New York City, from its iconic ball culture to the rise of the Donald Trump-like billionaires, against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis.
The musical drama series was created by acclaimed director, screenwriter and producer Ryan Murphy and features the largest transgender cast on television while also featuring trans talent behind the scenes—Transparent writer and producer Our Lady J also wrote and produced for Pose.
Murphy, who in 2016 launched the “Half” initiative to ensure at least half of the episodes produced by his company would be directed by women, people of colour and members of the LGBT+ community, recently told The New York Timesit’s important to give people first chances. “That’s how you change the world,” he said.
He congratulated Mock’s directorial debut in a heartfelt message on Twitter on Sunday. “I’m more proud of tonight’s episode of POSE co-written with the extraordinary Janet Mock than almost anything I’ve ever done. Janet directed this episode with class & heart. Again she breaks down walls & barriers & makes history as the first trans woman of color to direct an episode of TV,” he wrote, also congratulating the cast on their performances.
“I dedicate this episode to all those we have lost from AIDS. We need to remember, and never forget. Thank you Janet and the cast and crew for making me weep and yet cheer for what is possible when LOVE IS THE MESSAGE,” Murphy added, referencing the episode’s title.
Mock live-tweeted during the episode, sharing insights into her directorial decisions and highlights. “We are deserving of opportunity & more than capable,” she wrote in a post featuring a picture of herself taken on her first night as a director on the set.
Imagine if the people who brought you “Joanne the Scammer” teamed up with the people who brought you the feisty foursome of Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia to bring you something even sassier?
You might think that such a thing couldn’t be imagined, but you’d be wrong. With a star-studded cast attached to last year’s table read, featuring George Takei, Leslie Jordan, and Bruce Vilanch (among others,) “Silver Foxes” promises to attract a host of big-name stars in no time.
Produced by Super Deluxe, the studio responsible for the cult hit “Joanne the Scammer,” as well as last year’s documentary “Bayard and Me,” about the gay activist Bayard Rustin, “Silver Foxes” is being scripted by Stan Zimmerman and James Berg, the team behind not just “The Golden Girls” but “Gilmore Girls” as well.
What we know of the plot, so far, is that it revolves around “two older gay men and one twink” who rescue a friend from a life of neglect in a homophobic nursing home and bring him out to Palm Springs where the foursome becomes a totally queer chosen family.
Zimmerman and Berg site their inspiration as coming from the documentary “Gen Silent,” a 2011 film that explored the problems of LGBTQ+ seniors stuck in intolerant nursing homes and neglected by family. The series will be produced as a single-camera comedy in half-hour segments. In addition to “Silver Foxes,” Super Deluxe is taking on a television adaptation of 1985’s queer classic “My Beautiful Laundrette” with “The Big Sick’s” Kumail Nanjiani attached to co-write and co-star. Their Sundance Now production “This Close,” about deaf, queer characters navigating L.A., won them critical praise earlier this year. A queer favorite among streaming platforms ever since the start of “Joanne the Scammer,” Super Deluxe seems to be making a bigger play for recognition among LGBTQ+ audiences with its newer projects.
We don’t have any streaming or air dates set for “Silver Foxes” yet, but you can be sure that we’ll be obsessively refreshing our browsers for news in the next few months.
Influential journalist Ronan Farrow, who helped expose Harvey Weinstein, has come out.
Farrow was one of the first journalists to expose allegations of sexual abuse by Weinstein in The New Yorker last October.
The former NBC News personality, who is the son of Mia Farrow and director Woody Allen, quietly came out this week as he accepted an honour from the Point Foundation, which supports LGBTQ students.
Farrow, who has also written extensively on transgender issues, spoke about his own identity in his speech.
He said: “Each and every LGBT person who has to go through a process of accepting themselves and turning rejection and isolation into strength is richer and more creative and more determined for that journey.
“Being a part of the LGBT community … which recognised that reporting I was doing early on and elevated it, and has been such a stalwart source of support through the sexual assault reporting I did involving survivors who felt equally invisible … that has been an incredible source of strength for me.
“LGBT people are some of the bravest and most potent change agents and leaders I have encountered, and the most forceful defenders of the vulnerable and voiceless, because they know what it’s like to be there.
“In embracing these young people, the Point Foundation is making people who felt invisible and alone feel seen.”
Speaking to The Advocate, he added: “I spent a long time reporting on trans issues and I know in the course of that reporting I saw how deeply adversity runs.
“I saw that the LGBT community is one of the most powerful resources we have. These are the most important leaders we can harness. These are the strongest people with the greatest sense of ingenuity, who in the process of facing that kind of adversity become powerhouses.
“What Point Foundation does is make these people feel seen and facilitate them in being part of the solution, instead of being just another number, and another tragedy.”
Farrow was publicly outed by Vice in 2013, in a piece penned by writer Christopher Glazek.
The piece said: “[Farrow is] gay, according to friends of mine who have slept with him, but you wouldn’t know that from reading either Vanity Fair or the New York Times. Why the reticence?
“Neither publication seems very interested in protecting Farrow’s privacy (…) why a veil of secrecy for this particular detail? Is ‘outing’ even a thing that publications worry about anymore?”
The piece then attempted to build a case for ‘outing’ celebrities, claiming that journalists should out people because it is “primarily obligated to the truth.”
It added: “Do we discover something pertinent about Farrow and his motivations when we learn that he’s gay? Does it reveal something about his character – whether slipperiness, self-loathing, a knack for grand strategy, or simply immaturity – that he chooses to hide it? Maybe, maybe not. But those are determinations that readers deserve to make on their own.”
Farrow did not respond at the time, though the piece attracted criticism from parts of the LGBT community.
On the eve of the expiration of his 20th Century Fox deal, Ryan Murphy has signed a momentous multimillion-dollar deal with streaming service Netflix.
The implications of this new partnership are sure to allow Murphy to test even more boundaries and engage in even more controversy-baiting than he has in his previous anthology works, notably “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story.” Beyond a few new TV shows, Murphy now has the potential to produce films and documentaries through the Netflix Studios imprint.
With his irreverent, campy, and macabre voice, Murphy will continue to serve as an important mouthpiece for the LGBTQ+ audience, and also inflict his unique brand on users of the streaming service who might not otherwise choose to get involved in his programming.
With his latest edition of “American Crime Story” going to extremely grim lengths to accent homophobia in the 90s (which has only persisted in the present) through the lens of Andrew Cunanan’s eventual assassination of Gianni Versace, one can only imagine where Murphy’s already insidious to the average American voice might go under the increased liberty of this fresh alliance.
Although Murphy’s foray into television began with a somewhat challenged start – the WB’s “Popular” – he has always managed to get by through crafting stories with incredible mass appeal that don’t sacrifice their niche appeal.
With “Popular” on for a paltry two seasons from 1999 to 2001, perhaps no network could have predicted just how loudly Murphy would have the last laugh. With each show growing bolder and bolder – ”Glee” being a strange exception – Murphy also proved himself cinematically adept through his adaptation of Augusten Burroughs’ illustrious memoir, “Running With Scissors,” back in 2006.
With regular collaborator Brad Falchuk at his side, Murphy already has a new show for Netflix in the pipeline: “The Politician,” with gay icon Barbra Streisand rumored to be in talks to guest star.
Best of all, maybe that still shelved screenplay, “Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn?,” about an Audrey-obsessed bride who gets left at the altar, might finally come to fruition now that Murphy has even more creative and budgetary free rein.
A Media Matters analysis of broadcast and cable news found that networks discussed anti-LGBTQ violence and homicides only 22 times for less than 40 minutes across seven channels in 2017, even though it was the deadliest year in hate violence against the community since at least 2012. The majority of the coverage was about two specific stories and came on just four days, and the networks rarely noted the trend of increasing anti-LGBTQ violence nationwide in their coverage.
Top trends from a year of anti-LGBTQ violence coverage on broadcast and cable TV news
Media Matters analyzed 2017 coverage of the deadliest year in anti-LGBTQ hate violence since at least 2012 on cable and broadcast TV news, flagging segments in which speakers focused on anti-LGBTQ violence or on a specific anti-LGBTQ killing. We analyzed cable TV news coverage between 6 a.m. and midnight on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC and broadcast TV news coverage on the morning shows, flagship evening news programs, and Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co. Here are some of our key findings:
Across seven networks, anti-LGBTQ violence was discussed only 22 times for a total of 39 minutes and 36 seconds.
Speakers contextualized their subjects as part of an overall trend of increasing violence against the LGBTQ community in only seven of the 22 discussions.
Discussion of two stories — the death of Scout Schultz and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to send a hate crimes prosecutor to investigate the 2016 killing of Kedarie Johnson — comprised more than half of all discussions about, and time spent covering, anti-LGBTQ violence. Stories about Schultz’s death occurred over a three-day period, and stories about Johnson’s case all occurred on one day.
Though Fox News spent the most time covering anti-LGBTQ violence — at 10 minutes and 21 seconds — most of that coverage came from one 7.5-minute segment featuring a disgraced police detective who defended the police officer who shot Schultz.
Anti-LGBTQ hate homicides in 2017 were at their highest rate in more than five years, mirroring a years-long rise in anti-LGBTQ hate incidents
NCAVP finds that anti-LGBTQ murders were up by 86 percent in 2017, and the latest FBI data found an increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in 2016. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) reported that anti-LGBTQ homicides were up by 86 percent in 2017, with the number of victims growing from 28 in 2016 to 52 in 2017. Of the 52 victims, 27 identified as transgender or gender nonconforming and 22 were transgender women of color. People of color made up 71 percent of anti-LGBTQ hate homicide victims in 2017, and 67 percent of the total victims were under the age of 35. According to a report by the Human Rights Campaign and the Trans People of Color Coalition, “Transgender women are estimated to face more than four times the risk of becoming homicide victims than the general population of all women.” These findings reflect a general trend of increasing anti-LGBTQ hate crimes and violence. In November, the Human Rights Campaign reported that the FBI’s 2016 hate crime statistics showed increases in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, noting, “Of the 6,121 incidents reported, 1,076 were based on sexual orientation bias and 124 were based on gender identity bias. These numbers reflect a two percent and nine percent increase, respectively.” [National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, January 2018; Human Rights Campaign and Trans People of Color Coalition, 2017; Human Rights Campaign, 11/13/17]
Some media have reported on the rise in anti-LGBTQ violence throughout 2017. Media have been aware of increasing violence against LGBTQ people since well before NCAVP’s January report was released. In March 2017, TheWashington Post wrote that seven transgender women had been killed only two months into the year, quoting Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) saying that the country was “certainly on pace to blow right by the record set last year.” The article also noted that “while not unprecedented, the frequency of the killings has rattled a community whose members are prone to suffering violent attacks, whether hate-based or otherwise.” That same week, Newsweek similarly reported that those seven murders put “the rate well on course to beat the previous figure of 23 reported murders” of transgender people in 2016. In June, The Daily Beast reported on NCAVP’s 2016 report, noting that the year “was the deadliest year on record for the LGBT community” and that it marked an increase in anti-LGBTQ homicides even if you didn’t count the “49 victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre” in Orlando, FL. The report added that “anti-LGBT violence shows no signs of stopping in 2017” and that the year was “on track to be the most violent on record for the U.S. transgender community.” [The Washington Post, 3/16/17; Newsweek, 3/15/17; The Daily Beast, 6/12/17]
Broadcast and cable news spent less than 40 minutes discussing anti-LGBTQ hate violence in 2017
Throughout 2017, broadcast and cable news spent a total of 39 minutes and 36 seconds discussing anti-LGBTQ hate violence. Broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co. spent a total of just over 17.5 minutes during their morning shows, flagship evening news programs, and Sunday political talk shows discussing anti-LGBTQ hate violence in 2017. Cable news networks CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, meanwhile, spent just under 22 minutes covering the topic throughout the year, based on a review of 18 hours of coverage every day between 6 a.m. and midnight. Of the total 39 minutes and 36 seconds of coverage across networks, 24.5 minutes were spent discussing just two stories — the murder of Scout Schultz and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to send a hate crimes prosecutor to investigate the death of Kedarie Johnson — accounting for more than 60 percent of the coverage. Fox News spent the most time discussing anti-LGBTQ violence, devoting 10 minutes and 21 seconds to the topic, but more than 7.5 minutes of that coverage came from one segment that included disgraced former Los Angeles Police Department Detective Mark Fuhrman defending the police officer who shot Schultz. Fuhrman became toxic during the O.J. Simpson murder trial with the discovery of hours of video tape of him using a racial epithet and was later charged with perjury for lying under oath about his language. Fox News has a history of hosting Fuhrman to discuss police violence. MSNBC had the most segments addressing the subject, but its coverage lasted less than 5.5 minutes in total, the lowest of any cable channel. In terms of broadcast networks, Fox Broadcasting Co. did not address anti-LGBTQ violence in 2017 but does not have morning or evening news programming; ABC News had the next least amount of coverage with less than 2.5 minutes. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 9/19/17; Media Matters, 3/30/16]
Across networks, anti-LGBTQ violence was discussed only 22 times in 2017, and only seven of those reports explicitly mentioned or alluded to it as part of an overall upward trend
Throughout 2017, cable and broadcast news shows discussed anti-LGBTQ violence only 22 times. An analysis of programming between 6 a.m. and midnight on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News and on the morning shows, flagship evening news programs, and Sunday political talk shows on broadcast stations ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co. found that networks discussed hate violence against the LGBTQ community only 22 times in total in 2017. MSNBC had the most discussions, with six pieces of coverage, and ABC News and Fox Broadcasting Co. had the least coverage, with one and zero segments, respectively, although Fox does not have morning or evening news programming like the other broadcast networks.
Only seven out of the 22 discussions of anti-LGBTQ violence and its victims contextualized it as part of an overall trend of increasing violence against the LGBTQ community. Only seven segments discussing anti-LGBTQ violence and its victims mentioned or alluded to an overall growing trend in anti-LGBTQ hate violence, with all seven also noting in some way the trend of increased violence against the transgender community. All 15 discussions that failed to contextualize the trend were about specific murders of LGBTQ victims (for instance, not one of the 13 segments about Johnson or Schultz mentioned the trend). We deemed coverage as contextualizing the trend in anti-LGBTQ hate violence if it specifically mentioned an increase in anti-LGBTQ violence, acknowledged the high rates of violence against LGBTQ people, or noted several instances of anti-LGBTQ violence within a specified time frame.
Reports on the death of Scout Schultz and the investigation into Kedarie Johnson’s killing made up more than half of the coverage of anti-LGBTQ violence
Out of 22 discussions of anti-LGBTQ violence across the networks, eight were specifically about the murder of Scout Schultz. More than one-third of the discussions about anti-LGBTQ violence in 2017 were about a single case, the killing of Scout Schultz, the “bisexual, nonbinary, and intersex” president of an LGBTQ student group at Georgia Tech, who used the gender-neutral pronoun they. All eight discussions occurred between September 17 and 19, while protests were erupting on the Georgia Tech campus. A campus police officer fatally shot Schultz, who reportedly was holding a multipurpose tool with an unextended blade and saying “shoot me,” after Schultz “called 911 to report a suspicious white male with long blonde hair on campus holding a knife and possibly a gun,” according to The New York Times. Schultz had left three suicide notes in their room, and, according to the Times, their mother said that they “suffered from depression and had attempted suicide in the past.” Half of the segments were framed around the campus protests that erupted after Schultz’s murder, and of the eight discussions, only three mentioned Schultz’s LGBTQ identity. [The New York Times, 9/18/17]
Five of the 22 pieces of coverage discussing violence against the LGBTQ community were about Jeff Sessions sending a hate crimes prosecutor to Iowa to investigate the killing of Kedarie Johnson. More than 22 percent of TV news discussions in 2017 of anti-LGBTQ violence were about Attorney General Jeff Sessions sending a hate crimes prosecutor to Iowa to investigate the 2016 killing of gender-fluid black teenager Kedarie Johnson. All five discussions occurred on October 16 on cable news, with MSNBC discussing the case three times and CNN and Fox News discussing the case one time each. [The New York Times, 10/15/17, 10/26/17]
Media Matters searched Nexis transcripts for cable TV coverage appearing between 6 a.m. and midnight on CNN and between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Fox News and MSNBC (daytime transcripts for those networks are not available on Nexis), as well as transcripts of broadcast TV news morning shows (Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and Today) flagship nightly news shows, and Sunday political talk shows on ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017, for mentions of the words or variations of the words “LGBT,” “gay,” “transgender,” “gender identity,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” “sexual orientation,” “gender nonconforming,” or “gender fluid” occurring within 25 words of the terms or variations of the terms “violence,” “crime,” “hate,” “attack,” “homicide,” “shoot,” “murder,” “death,” “die,” or “kill.”
We also searched for the names of all 52 anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2017, using the name or names listed in the NCAVP report: Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, Sean Ryan Hake, Savyon Zabar, Bill Denham, Dontae Lampkins, JoJo Striker, Jaquarrius Holland, Keke Collier/Tiara Richmond, Chyna Gibson/Chyna Doll Dupree, Glenser Soliman, Ciara McElveen, Alphonza Watson, Andrew Nesbitt, An Vinh Nguyen, Kenne McFadden, Bruce Garnett, Chay Reed, Mx. “Kenneth” Bostick, Earl English, Imer Alvarado, Sherrell Faulkner, Kevin Wirth, David Swartley, Matthew Murrey, Josie Berrios/Kendra Adams, Neil Rodney Smith, Ava Le’Ray Barrin, Michael “Chris” Jones, Ebony Morgan, Robert Lee Covington, Rodriguez Montez Burks, TeeTee Dangerfield, John Jolly, Jaylow MC, Juan Javier Cruz, Gwynevere River Song, Kiwi Herring, Ally Lee Steinfeld, Anthony Torres, Derricka Banner, Scout Schultz, Elizabeth Stephanie Montez, Candace Towns, Giovanni Melton, Sydney Loofe, Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson, Brandi Seals, Shanta Myers, Brandi Mells, Kerrice Lewis, and Kaladaa Crowell. Media Matters also searched for a number of variations and potential misspellings of the victims’ names.
We also searched Nexis transcripts of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Sunday show Fox News Sunday (the network does not have an evening or morning news program) for the same terms. Any reruns of programming were not included in analysis.
Additionally, Media Matters conducted the same searches on iQ media for the above terms and names appearing on MSNBC’s and Fox News’ programming between 6 a.m. and midnight for the same time frame, as full transcripts from shows on these networks’ daytime programming are not available on Nexis. The iQ media search of Fox News and MSNBC coverage was limited by iQ media’s transcripts.
We excluded from the study coverage of anti-LGBTQ violence in other countries such as Chechnya and Saudi Arabia, updates on past instances of anti-LGBTQ violence like the murders of Harvey Milk and Gianni Versace, and coverage of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub, an LGBTQ bar in Orlando, FL.
When we found the above terms, we included the segments if the stated topic of discussion was anti-LGBTQ violence in general or instances of anti-LGBTQ violence, such as a specific anti-LGBTQ homicide, or if there was significant discussion of the topic. We defined “significant discussion” as a back-and-forth exchange between two or more people; passing mentions were not included in the analysis.
Jim Nabors, who starred as Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and on his own sitcom before retiring the wide-eyed, countrified character at the height of his popularity, has died. He was 87.
Nabors died at his home in Hawaii on Thursday morning, his longtime partner told the Associated Press.
In January 2013, Nabors exchanged wedding vows with Stan Cadwallader, his partner of almost four decades, before a judge in a Seattle hotel room. Nabors met Cadwallader, a former firefighter in Honolulu, in 1975.
A native of Alabama, Nabors also recorded more than two dozen albums with a rich, operatic baritone voice that surprised those who were used to hearing him exclaim “Gawwwleee!” with a Southern twang on television. For many years, Nabors sang “Back Home Again in Indiana” during the opening ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500.
In the early 1960s, Nabors was a regular performer at The Horn, a cabaret theater on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica that showcased new talent, when he was spotted by Andy Griffith, who thought Nabors would be perfect to play a new character on his CBS sitcom. That would be Gomer, a dim-witted, affable mechanic at Wally’s filling station in Mayberry and a cousin of Goober (George Lindsey).
Nabors was signed for just one episode, which aired midway through The Andy Griffith Show‘s third season in December 1962, but Gomer proved popular, and Nabors went on to appear in 23 installments of the series. One of his signature phrases sprang from a discussion in which Gomer extolled the sophistication of Don Knotts’ Barney Fife: “Gawwwleee! He’s even been out with some nurses.”
Nabors’ run on The Andy Griffith Show culminated with the fourth-season finale in which Gomer joins the U.S. Marines. (The episode also served as the pilot for the spinoff sitcom.)
With Pvt. Pyle being hounded by tough but caring drill sergeant Vince Carter (Frank Sutton), Gomer Pyle, USMC aired for five years (1964-69) on CBS and was a great success in the ratings — always in the top 10 and No. 2 in its final season — before the actor decided to pursue other activities, which included hosting his own variety show.
“It got down to what you think you want to be: an actor or an entertainer. I want to entertain,” Nabors said in 1969, when he decided to retire Pyle’s gear. “I don’t think I’m much of an actor. The only part I ever played was Gomer. I’m the most surprised person around that I’m successful anyway.”
He then showcased his singing and comedic talents on The Jim Nabors Hour, which lasted two seasons and featured some of his Gomer Pyle co-stars.
The big-hearted Nabors never ventured far into movies, though he did perform opposite his pal Burt Reynolds in such fare as The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Stroker Ace (1983) and as “Pvt. Homer Lyle” in Cannonball Run II (1984).
James Thurston Nabors was born June 12, 1930, in Sylacauga, Ala., the son of a policeman. He sang in high school and acted in fraternity productions at the University of Alabama. After graduating with a degree in business administration, he moved to New York and worked as a typist and answered phones at the United Nations.
“With my thick accent, people would try out different languages on me, never suspecting I was speaking English,” he joked.
Nabors returned to the South and worked as a film cutter for a TV station in Chattanooga, Tenn., then moved to Los Angeles — the climate was better suited for his asthma — and landed a similar job at NBC. At nights, he sang and spun tales as a Gomer-like character at The Horn.
Comedian Bill Dana saw him perform, and that led to Nabors becoming a regular on ABC’s The New Steve Allen Show. All the while, he kept performing in Santa Monica.
Nabors also showed up as a beatnik in Take Her, She’s Mine (1963), starring James Stewart and Sandra Dee. His voice was dubbed in the film.
In the 1970s, Nabors starred with Ruth Buzzi as time-traveling androids on the ABC series The Lost Saucer, produced by Sid and Marty Krofft, and hosted his own syndicated talk show.
He was back as Gomer for the 1986 NBC reunion movie Return to Mayberry.
Nabors admitted that he had trouble watching Pyle‘s opening credits when the series was playing in syndication because many of the Marines with whom he marched were killed in Vietnam. (The Pollyanna sitcom never addressed the war.)
He first demonstrated his singing ability to TV viewers in 1964 on CBS’ The Danny Kaye Show, and on a Gomer Pyle episode that aired in November 1967, he sang “The Impossible Dream” from Man of la Mancha, which would become a concert staple for him. His 1980 album, The Heart-Touching Magic of Jim Nabors, went platinum.
“I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t want to stay too long at the fair,” he said. “Everyone has been so incredible to me so many years. The first time I was here was 1972, so I guess most people have grown up with me.”
Nabors, who underwent a liver transplant in 1994, starred regularly at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome in The Jim Nabors Polynesian Extravaganza, which in the 1980s was one of the state’s top showbiz attractions. He lived in Hawaii for more than 30 years and had homes in Honolulu and Maui, where he had a macadamia nut farm.
Asked in a 2000 interview with the Los Angeles Times about why The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle continued to be so popular, Nabors said, “Television has become very cynical, even the comedy shows, and the cynicism from the young people just boggles my mind.
“In Mayberry, there was no illness. There was no war. There was no violence. There was no graffiti. We all had a good time, and we laughed a lot.”
GLAAD today released its annual Where We Are on TV report. Where We Are onTV analyzes the overall diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks and assesses the number of LGBTQ characters on cable networks and original streaming series on the services Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix for the 2017-2018 TV season. This marks the 22nd year that GLAAD has tracked the presence of LGBTQ characters on television.
This year, the Where We Are report is being released at a time where LGBTQ acceptance is slipping, and where the Trump Administration is actively working to roll back the rights of all marginalized communities in unprecedented ways.
“As LGBTQ acceptance in government and the broader American culture reverses course, television is a critical home for LGBTQ stories and representation matters more than ever,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “At a time when the Trump administration is trying to render LGBTQ people invisible, representing LGBTQ people in all of our diversity in scripted TV programs is an essential counterbalance that gives LGBTQ people stories to relate to and moves the broader public to support LGBTQ people and families.”
While the report found the highest percentage of LGBTQ regulars on broadcast television (6.4%) since GLAAD began tracking broadcast series regulars, the report brought to light the continued lack of diversity among LGBTQ portrayals on television. In all forms of television that GLAAD tracks, LGBTQ characters are still predominantly white (77% of LGBTQ characters on streaming, 62% on broadcast, 64% on cable). The majority of LGBTQ characters are men (55% of LGBTQ characters on broadcast), and cisgender. There are only 17 transgender characters across all three platforms tracked – broadcast, cable, and streaming originals.
For the first time, GLAAD has been able to count non-binary characters and asexual characters in the Where We Are on TV report. While these identities have been depicted on screen before, those characters were often relegated to one-off episodes, which did not allow for nuanced exploration. Broadcast is the only platform tracked without a canon asexual character; cable and streaming each count one asexual character.
The emergence of these new stories is reflective of the real world. GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance survey found that 20 percent of Americans aged 18-34 (a key demographic for networks) identify as LGBTQ. Twelve percent of 18-34 year olds would call themselves “not cisgender,” and four percent identify as asexual. The inclusion of these stories is a welcome change, and GLAAD looks forward to seeing more of these characters.
“Numbers are only a small part of the story when it comes to LGBTQ representation on TV and simply being present onscreen is not enough,” said Megan Townsend, Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis at GLAAD. “While we’re pleased to see numbers on the rise, consideration of how LGBTQ characters are woven into storylines and whose stories are making it to screen is crucial for judging progress of the industry. And there is still work to be done.”
Additional findings include:
Of the 901 regular characters expected to appear on broadcast scripted primetime programming this season, 58 (6.4%) were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer. This is the highest percentage GLAAD has found in the history of this report. There were an additional 28 recurring LGBTQ characters.
The number of regular LGBTQ characters counted on scripted primetime cable increased to 103, and recurring characters increased to 70, making for 173 characters.
There were 51 LGBTQ regular characters counted in original scripted series on the streaming services Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix as well as 19 recurring characters. This is an increase of five total characters from last year.
Bisexual+ characters make up 28 percent of the LGBTQ characters tracked across all platforms (broadcast, cable, streaming originals), a slight decrease from last year. These characters still heavily skew toward women (75 women to 18 men).
This year, there are 17 regular and recurring transgender characters tracked across all three platforms. Of those, nine are trans women, four are trans men, and four are non-binary. This is notably the first time GLAAD has been able to count non-binary characters.
Racial diversity of LGBTQ characters remains an area of concern. Of the 70 LGBTQ characters counted on streaming originals, 77 percent were white. All three platforms tracked here – broadcast, cable, and streaming originals – lacked LGBTQ characters of color.
For the first time since GLAAD has started this report, we were able to count asexual characters. Cable and streaming each include one asexual character (Raphael on Freeform’s Shadowhunters Todd on Netflix’s BoJack Horseman), while there are no asexual characters on broadcast.
Only 43 percent of the regular characters counted on broadcast primetime television are women, a decrease of one percentage point from last year and a severe underrepresentation of the U.S. population, which is estimated to be 51% women.
The amount of regular primetime broadcast characters counted who have a disability has slightly increased to 1.8 percent, but that number still vastly underrepresents the actualities of Americans with disabilities. There are only two characters across all three platforms that are depicted has HIV-positive, a decrease of one from last year.
GLAAD’s Spanish-language media report, Still Invisible, will be released in mid-November and the next Studio Responsibility Index will be released in 2018. GLAAD uses the data from these reports to create a clearer picture of the stories and portrayals of LGBTQ people being presented by the media, and encourage networks and studios alike to include more diverse and substantive LGBTQ representations that accelerate acceptance.
The Emmy Award-Winning Logo Documentary Films and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today announced a partnership to promote the broadcast premiere of Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America. The documentary, which follows Moises Serrano, an undocumented immigrant and gay man born in Mexico and raised in North Carolina, fighting for the American dream, will premiere Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
The goal of the partnership is to inform the public of the struggles and stigmas placed upon individuals facing similar challenges as Serrano, while highlighting the civil rights and liberties that constitutionally apply to every individual living in the United States, regardless of their status.
“When we learned about Moises’ bravery and desire to fight for the 11 million other undocumented immigrants in America, we knew we had to give him and his story more visibility,” said Taj Paxton, vice president of Logo’s Documentary Films. “Working with the ACLU, we hope to inspire young people to take action so success stories like Moises’ become commonplace.”
“For Moises and nearly 800,000 other young people across the country, DACA is a lifeline. It has empowered Dreamers to live, work, and pursue their futures in the United States, their home. Young immigrants like Moises made DACA possible through their advocacy and bravery. We must follow in their footsteps and urge Congress to pass long overdue legislation that gives Dreamers the legal status that they deserve,” said Lorella Praeli, the director of immigration policy and campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union.
In addition to tuning in for the premiere of Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America, viewers can participate in the campaign by:
An official selection at both the 2016 Newfest Film Festival in NYC and the 2016 Outfest Film Festival where it received the Freedom Award, Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America is produced by Heather Mathews and Tiffany Rhynard and directed by Rhynard. Taj Paxton and Pamela Post are overseeing the project for Logo.