Is Nigel Lythgoe A Homophobe? Or Just Naive About His Comments?


“I believe overtly effeminate dancing destroys the opportunity for many male dancers to be supported. Being gay doesn’t mean effeminate.” That’s what So You Think You Can Dance judge Nygel Lythgoe is tweeting (under the username “dizzyfeet,” hah) as a defense to all the criticism aimed his way after telling male partners Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel “you probably alienate[d] a lot of our audience. … I’m certainly one of those people that really like to see guys be guys and girls be girls on the stage. I don’t think I liked it.”

But those weren’t homophobic comments, says Lythgoe. He’s just expressing his opinion that flamey male dancers are ruining the sport!

Enter Gay Inc. GLAAD is urgings its members to call Fox and complain.

As for Lythgoe? The Twittering continues: “I hear I’m taking a beating on the web due to my comments regarding same sex ballroom I thought I was the most accepting of it on the panel? … I am very sad the word ‘homophobe’ is being used. That is someone who hates homosexuals. I dislike effeminate dancing! Wake up and listen!”

Poor Lythgoe. He’s on a show that’s seen by millions of people (including those impressionable youngsters) and he’s yet to understand — even after tens of thousands of people have pointed it out to him — how his words could be construed as anti-gay. It’s clear he’s been Twittering without his publicist’s approval; it’s only a matter of time before Fox releases a statement “clarifying” his comments and maybe, just maybe, apologizing for them.

Also executive producing American Idol, Lythgoe has previously broached gay subjects. In 2007,
he told TMZ “If I would have written any of that [banter between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell] it would have been a lot funnier, to be frank. … I wouldn’t have kept this gay angst going for so long. They would have both come out by now in my story.”

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  • osocubano

    I’m not watching that show this year.
    I am offended by effeminate dance judges.

  • ask ena

    Completely not offended.

  • walt zipprian

    I find Nigel’s hair-do to be offensive. And his stupid accent.

  • Chris

    If he thinks that saying “guys should be guys and girls should be girls” in the way he did isn’t homophobic, then I don’t know what is.

  • Sharon

    All the problems with the situation aside, I wish you had fact checked a bit deeper. Mr. Lithgoe stopped producing American Idol after last season, and had no part in the season that just concluded.

  • James

    I’m bummed. I really like the show (and have been a fan for a few years) and feel this valid argument with Nigel’s homophobic responses (both aired and apparently unaired segments) has ruined the show for many. There have been many gay contestants in the past and Nigel has often critiqued them when they supposedly didn’t give a manly enough performance. It was always something I usually rolled my eyes about but moved on to marvel at another dancer or dancing team’s stellar performance in the past, but enough is enough.

    For last night’s show, I didn’t like the presentation of it all with the It’s Raining Men music, etc. However, I didn’t think the male duo did as well as others that were presented that made it to Vegas. Nigel’s bias towards effiminanity definitely didn’t help in the duo moving forward obviously, and I wish he’d modify his remarks with an apology quickly. And if there are further controversial remarks like this one on future shows, Nigel will find his show fading fast in viewership. It’s a shame since the show does have an avid gay following along with gay contestants (in the same vain of Adam Lambert that are obviously gay but do not come out during interview packages), but the whole point of dance is losing yourself in a performance and not worrying if the contestant is gay or straight, or effiminate or masculine, but whatever the dance itself is trying to achieve.

    I liked what Misha and Mitchell were going for (I think) in their audition in how men’s roles in dance should be vaguer. They were both leading and following to bend gender roles on their head. Their exocution was a little bad, especially the fall at the end, but Nigel’s comments didn’t help nonetheless.

    Nigel (and the producers) only have themselves to blame for this controversy. If he didn’t want effiminate dancing on the show, he shouldn’t have included the Misha/Mitchell duo on the show at all. The editors made sure to make fun of these two dancers with gay music and the like in what was a pretty decent audition show with limited numbers of “bad auditions” like in years past (only the Star Wars lady was truly bad). Like I said, I’m bummed and I’m still rooting for the hunky Brandon Bryant this season.

  • dgz

    ugh, last season was AWFUL. the dancing reduces in quality every year. now they only cast for backstory, and seemingly only take contemporary dancers.

    as for lithgoe, if i see him he can expect a straight-bashing. the only thing worse than a homophobe is one who isn’t even self-aware enough to understand that he IS one.

  • edgyguy1426

    So to excuse himself on his Twitter, he says…”The same sex ballroom guys did remind me of “Blades of Glory.” However, I’m not a fan of ‘Brokeback’ Ballroom”

    Yeah, that helps!

  • jeffrey bryan

    I’m not one of those who are easily offended, but I was last night. I don’t think he was being homophobic, I think that would be the wrong word to use. What I do think he was being was hypocritical. Of all the varied types of dance that have been shown on that show, of all the types of dancers with varying handicaps… this was the one time where something was so beyond the norm that he couldn’t appreciate it. He applauded the bravery of a woman with a congenital defect rising beyond the odds to appear at the auditions, but then can’t appreciate two men dancing together in an affectionate way. He was being short-sighted and offensive to believe that two men being affectionate through dance was so outlandish that he couldn’t see past it. It was ridiculous.

  • Andrew

    “I believe overtly effeminate dancing destroys the opportunity for many male dancers to be supported. Being gay doesn’t mean effeminate.” No, and playing dress-up in your hotel room and forgetting to undo your 80s Farah Fawcett hairdo before taping the show is a big no-no…..

  • Alexa

    Is he homophobic? Well, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the year he left American Idol was the year we finally got a successful obviously gay contestant (Clay doesn’t count, back then many people didn’t think he was gay).

  • naprem

    I can understand him not wanting to scare straight guys away from the dance world. But he needs to do it without insulting gay guys, who have been the life-blood of the dance world since pre-history.

  • Keith

    Like Lythgoe himself is a great exemplar of “masculinity”…
    And even the fact that he says he dislikes ‘effeminate dancing’ and still fails to undestand why that could be homophobic is ignorant. What’s wrong with gay dancers who are effeminate in their performances? Can they not illicit as profound and powerful responses in audiences as ‘masculine’ dancers? Yes, I understand that Lythgoe has his preference as a judge, but he is being homophobic towards effeminate, male dancers.

  • ben

    This guy is a fucking asshole. As are the people that put this show together who went out of their way to include these guys on the show just so they could be mocked.

  • walt zipprian

    Yeah, that show won’t be coming into my living room anymore.

    Neither will Nigel’s hair, so it’s fifty fifty.

  • Blake

    How well the guys actually danced is irrelevant – shows like this and AI always show good, mediocre, and bad auditions. It’s about respect (or the lack of it). Imagine the uproar if the lead-in song for the woman with the spinal handicap had been the munchkin song from The Wizard of Oz or the Oompa Loompa song from the original Willy Wonka movie…

    If the show is going to pretend to be about dancing as an art and profession, then it needs to behave consistently professional and respectful to everyone trying out. If it wants to be cute, move to VH-1.

  • Kevin (not that one)

    I’m pretty certain he gets a measurable chubby when watching gay porn, if that tells you anything about his homophobia.

  • GG62

    Yes, Nigel Lythgoe is homophobic, as well as most of the executives at Fox TV. Thus, a perfect relationship of gay haters doing business together. It has been demonstrated over & over again on Amerrican Idol & then again on last nights season premiere. Strange, when Nigel dances I don’t see much masculinity exuding from my television screen, just an old closet queen in hiding. Annoying, big mouth women like Mary are also sickening enough to turn any man gay. Would anyone really want to be around her for very long? I will be sure to avoid this show on thursday evenings.

  • jason

    If the two men had been masculine in their dance routines, is Nigel saying that that would be OK? It’s an interesting question. Perhaps they should have a couple of masculine men doing a masculine dance routine as opposed to a feminine one.

  • jason

    I bet Nigel wouldn’t have a problem with “two hot chicks”.

  • Russ

    If you watched the show, and seen the look on his face, the homophobia was obvious. Having said that, I think he has made it clear how he feels in the past, so in my opinion the point of putting the same sex dancers on the show was to cause a buzz, so more people would tune in. As if anyone gave a damn about the Miss America pageant before the big gay marriage buzz by Miss-I-believe-in-opposite-Marriage”. It’s all a publicity stunt.

  • synnerman

    He’s a bloody idiot. He reminds me of other reality TV people who seem not even fathom that he is being terribly offensive.

  • V

    He’s caught. Might as well admit it, sincerely apologize, and keep it movin’. I knew there was a reason I quit watching years ago. Here it is! Really, who gives a damn if it’s two men, two women, whatever? What matters is the emotions that are conveyed (to me anyway). Beauty is beauty, no matter who’s bringing it.

  • nature boy

    I just watched the original video from the previous post and I was actually kind of charmed. These guys did just break a barrier on national TV and I found the judges confusion kind of hilarious. It is hard for people to break out of their boxes, and it takes time, but at least I could see the judges starting to wrap their minds and begin fumbling to wrap their language around the concept.

    The overall editing of the scene did not seem biased to me or any more offensively portrayed than any of the other hetero dancers. C’mon, they did fall down rather hilariously. “It’s raining men” is not intrinsically homophobic… how many times have I heard that song in gay clubs??? Hundreds???? If the show did edit out Nigel’s more offensive comments as one of the dancers reported, then the show should be applauded for that.

    What has happened to my gaydar? I totally thought the one who said he is straight was the gay one.

    Nigel seems instantly recognizable as someone who, at some point in his life, has tried to “chose” to make himself act more masculine and conform to “straight-acting” gender roles, and so of course he needs to validate his “choice” by enforcing it on others the way he obviously continues to try to enforce it on himself. Nigel, it’s not working. We see through you. It’s not a choice. Just go ahead and be yourself and let others do the same and applaud them for their courage to live honestly.

  • Hermitage

    I guess what he’s saying is that gay dancers are bad for the profession. If you’re gay, you should not tell, that way, millions of people will watch the show on Fox. He disgusts me. I’m not watching the show this year.

  • Paul

    He’s a closet case, they are always the ones who bash gays… come out you big swishy talentless judge! Come out and see how much even we will accept you

  • Celia

    What he said was certainly homophobic. Perhaps he wasn’t doing it consciously, but it nevertheless shows that he’s absorbed a great deal of traditionalist “gay = sissy man = very, very bad” ideas in his life, which is something the world needs to start noticing and working against. The idea of “men being men and women being women” (in his definition, at least) is more poisonous than most people realise.

  • Phoenix (Kiss My Pansy Ass, Nigel "dizzyfeet" Lythgoe!)

    Nigel always makes negative comments about effeminate men. So do lots of other judges on this show. Some of the best contestants on the show have been effeminate men, which the judges acknowledge, but they always get kicked off. They never win even though they are better than their “straight” competitors! Nigel’s spiteful comments about “try dancing with girls you might just like it” and “men should be manly” crapola is not at all surprising. Supposedly when he was a young boy his father wouldn’t let him take dance lessons because it would make him look like a nelly, but Nigel persevered and became a professional dancer back in the 70’s. He’s spewing his dear old dad’s bigotry.

    Did I think they did a good job? Meh, they had potential but they shouldn’t have switched leads. It’s what made them come off seeming unpolished and caused them to fall on their asses. They mentioned they had female partners at one point but they didn’t work out. I think they could’ve used more practice with each other. The costumes were silly but then most dance competition costumes are Ice Capade-y.

    Oh, and men dancing together can’t be masculine? The that to these guys. Oh, and traditionally the Tango was danced by two men and not a man and a woman and still is in La Milonga Argentina.

  • edgyguy1426

    @edgyguy1426: I wholeheartedly apologize for my Brokeback Ballroom Tweet. It was insensitive, ignorant and stupid. I have upset a number of dear friends. This was his latest Twitter

  • Hermitage

    As GLAAD suggest on their site, I sent en email to [email protected]. I encourage everyone to do the same.

  • curious

    Has “gay” become the new “black”?

  • TANK

    That’s not good enough. It’s not good enough that he apologized, possibly. I want a blood sacrifice!

  • burton21

    We shouldn’t settle for any “apology” that he utters that does not directly acknowledge WHY his disgusting bigoted statements are wrong. I’m sure he still has no idea why people are so upset.

  • schlukitz


    I tried to send an email to the address to posted. This is what I get when I try to send it, however.

    The email address “[email protected]” is not recognized. Please fix it and try again.

  • schlukitz


    Nor has he made any apology for the comments he made on Fox TV.

  • Hermitage

    @schlukitz: I didn’t get that message. My email was sent fine. You probably put a dot at the end of the address but there isn’t one. Here is the address copied from my sent items [email protected]
    Hope it works

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    The ratings of this mediocre show are down so what else was to be expected. We never learn, do we?

    If your rantings are failing and you are trying to save your show and income you don’t insult blacks anymore. You insult gays. You see, you same something stupid and get it out in the media. Then you make a lame, pathetic excuse a week or so after denying it. You watch how the ratings are going and then make another quip.

    By this time every queen and their grandmother is watching the show from start to finish. About two shows from the finale you start giving a good “effort” at apologizing and the day before the final show you apologize so you can get renewed for next season.

    Good lord, please don’t tell me the term “dumb american” applies to gays as well.

  • Cee

    Eh…I don’t believe that Nigel is homophobic. I think he just likes a man to be a man on stage. Doesn’t mean he’s homophobic. I don’t like overly feminine guys. Does that make me homophobic? It’s silly to come to the conclusion that he is homophobic just because he doesn’t want to see two queens dancing together on stage. I didn’t see even see the performance, and have no desire to. I hear it wasn’t any good to begin with.

  • edgyguy1426

    @curious: oooooooooooo don’t get these guys started…..

  • edgyguy1426

    @Cee: ‘I don’t like overly feminine guys. Does that make me homophobic?’ No it doesn’t mean you hate gays, it just means you have a little ways to go in not judging someone based upon their outward masculine/feminine characteristics.

  • Russ


    Just to answer your question…yes you are indeed homophobic.

  • edgyguy1426

    Umm, yeah, what Russ said…

  • Sandogg

    I’m sure Nigel’s had a cock or two in his mouth. Just look at those teeth!

  • Dray

    I agree Nigel is an old self-hating closet queen.
    I stopped watching this show long ago.

  • Na

    Would someone please tell this Nigel queen who effimante she is already?

Comments are closed.