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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.”

On:           May 22, 2009
Tagged: , , , , , ,
    • osocubano

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

      May 22, 2009 at 2:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ask ena

      Completely not offended.

      May 22, 2009 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • walt zipprian

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

      May 22, 2009 at 2:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 3:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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!

      May 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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…..

      May 22, 2009 at 4:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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).

      May 22, 2009 at 4:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 5:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 5:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • walt zipprian

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

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

      May 22, 2009 at 5:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 8:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 8:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 9:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason

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

      May 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 9:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 22, 2009 at 11:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 23, 2009 at 7:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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

      May 23, 2009 at 8:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 23, 2009 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 23, 2009 at 12:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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

      May 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • curious

      Has “gay” become the new “black”?

      May 23, 2009 at 2:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

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

      May 23, 2009 at 3:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz


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

      May 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • edgyguy1426

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

      May 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 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.

      May 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Russ


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

      May 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • edgyguy1426

      Umm, yeah, what Russ said…

      May 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sandogg

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

      May 25, 2009 at 4:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dray

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

      May 28, 2009 at 11:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve

      Compare with Simon Cowell in Britain’s Got Talent:


      “When we said we’re looking for an act to perform in front of the queen, there may have been a bit of a misunderstanding.”

      May 31, 2009 at 3:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Na

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

      Sep 3, 2009 at 10:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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