reactionary queens

The Gays Protesting Next To Normal‘s Alice Ripley ‘Fag’ Usage Are Overreacting

Alice Ripley, the lead in Broadway’s Next to Normal, used the word “fag” on her Facebook page and now all the gays are losing their shit. There’s going to be a “Alice Hates Gays” protest outside the theater tonight. Really, gays?

Ripley used the word in a Facebook post that, in responding to a critic, read:


She’s already apologized for using the word, writing:

Hey guys-I just want to say how sorry I am for my recent post. It was careless and thoughtless and I assure you it is not a reflection of the way I really feel. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always supported the gay community and will continue to do so. I’m embarrassed and I apologize.

And that really should be the end of this. Ripley has worked in theater all her life, with lots of homos; she’s about to leave Broadway to take Next To Normal on tour. She currently stars with Aaron Tveit Kyle Dean Massey, a big ‘mo.

She said something stupid. She apologized for it. Move on.

But instead, the reactionary queens are planning a protest of the theater, complete with “Alice Hates Fags” signs. This is moronic. She doesn’t hate the gays. She chose a dumb word, used it publicly, and has been ridiculed for it. As she should have been.

There is little else she can do, aside from give some local LGBT kids some free theater tickets, to make amends. Unless these protesters come armed with some reasonable demands — and getting her fired is not among the “reasonable” ones — then they should stay home. Her situation is different from, say, the actor Rampage Jackson, who used the word, got called out on it, and rather than apologize he wasted his breath telling the gays to calm down.

When the straights use the F-word as a derogatory term, it’s terrible. It sends the message that it’s okay for those outside the community to use this harsh and oppressive term to communicate something that’s easily said with other words..

But then it’s a sad day when the gays lose their minds over a poorly chosen word from a friend of the community instead of focusing on actual bigots and those doing damage to us. (And forgive me while I role my eyes over That Stain Of A Gossip Blogger — who uses the F-word as a slur himself — is feigning outrage. He’s worse than the protesters.) I’m just hoping that GLAAD’s silence on the issue thus far is a recognition of how out of step the reaction has been.

These theater queens who are going to storm Ripley’s stage door on Thursday likely didn’t lift a finger when Bill O’Reilly compared transgender folks to Ewoks and gays to terrorists, and his show, which is in the business of perpetuating hate, reaches many millions of people every evening.

Ripley made a mistake. She’s admitted it was dumb. Enough.

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  • Justin Luke

    Quick note of caution: Aaron Tveit is a confirmed heterosexual.

    He is also no longer playing the role.

    HOWEVER the CURRENT actor in Aaron’s former role is in fact gay.


  • Eric Dose

    It’s weird hearing /Queerty/, of all people, telling someone to drop a subject, especially one like this.

    “It’s a sad day when the gays lose their minds over a poorly chosen word from a friend of the community instead of focusing on actual bigots and those doing damage to us.” would not be said about Family Guy, no matter how LGBT-friendly Seth is and how their humor works

    Still nice to hear you this time, though

  • TommyOC

    @Eric Dose: I’m not keen on this actress and her “apology” for her “careless and thoughtless” words.

    I can be an annual donor to the NAACP or an ardent advocate of immigrant rights, but the first time an “nigger” or “wetback” makes it into a twitter post, anything I tried to say or do to prove that I wasn’t really a bigot-in-disguise would be rightfully seen as hollow words and actions.

    So why are we giving an immediate pass when one of our “friends” uses the #1 insult words for us homos – when talking about a homo?

  • Justin O

    @Eric Dose: Seth is pretty LGB-friendly. Less so with the T.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    If Isaiah Washington didn’t get a pass, why should this skank? Washington called someone a faggot, appologized, but was rightly fired and pilloried. Why should this woman who knows and works with gays, get a get out of jail free card–especially considering that she should know better then to use an anti-gay slur, considering her work enviroment.

    Too many straight people are trying to use the “I know gays!” defense when their true personality comes to light.

    As long as society keeps trying to downplay anti-gay slurs like fag, people will still feel they can get away with using them. if nigger is offlimits for whites, then fag should be off limits for straights, no matter what “South Park” claims

  • MickW

    NO, this woman’s career should be ruined. If a black male had said that word then apologized the gay community would not be happy until his career was ruined so she deserves the same treatment.

  • Hilarious

    What is with all this slur for a slur bullshit?

    Can I read the comments without seeing a myriad of added slurs for once?

    Ya’ll don’t even censor this crap. It diminishes your points and makes you look just as bad if not worse.

  • TommyOC

    @MickW: I believe that already happened. Wiki “Isaiah Washington.”

  • Thom

    Yeah, bad call Queerty. You of all people should know that if this were any other slur toward any other minority, she’d be dropped like a bad habit. I assume she’s worked with plenty of African Americans over the years…could you imagine her using the ‘N’ word in a FB update within the same context?
    It’s no wonder “fag” is still so commonly used and not taboo like all other slurs against minorities…even fierce, progressive bloggers like you give it an easy pass.
    And come on now, your hatred of Perez Hilton is getting so pathetic. Yes, we know you hate the guy whose name you dare not speak. A lot of people don’t care for him but they don’t obsess over him either. Sorry, but the only thing I know about this theater chick and the gay community is that she used the hate term, “fag”. I read Perez Hilton once or twice a week and every time, I see at least 2-3 posts supporting the gay community.

  • Gregg

    Frack Me, I’ve worked with Alice for years, she’s a GAY MAN IN DRAG!! Everyone makes a mistake, with all the work she has done over the years for Broadway Cares and the Actors Fund I think she could have said and done a Hell of a lot worse and I still would forgive her. She is a kind and wonderful crazy actor and I defy any of you that would condemn Alice to do even a quarter of the good works that she has done for the greater LGBT community and the HIV+ community.

  • Name Calling

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: Let’s answer her name calling with….NAME CALLING! We’re so mature and should certainly be taken seriously with our own NAME CALLING.

    *rolling eyes*

  • Bradley Jacobson

    If she’s so friendly and open minded with the gays then why did she use the word in the first place? I don’t even use it


    @Bradley Jacobson: I use that word in traffic even with my boyfriend sitting next to me. Makes ME feel better…LOL

  • Yuki

    Hey, Queerty… what’s a “fagr”?

  • Brutus

    I can’t believe Queerty is saying that “reactionary gays” should come up with some more “reasonable demands.”

  • Amill

    Broadway is homophobic. Welcome to the real world. Although it is full of gays it is self-hating in that respect.

    Sites like the broadwayworld message boards do nothing except aggravate it. Most of these posters are only interested in bringing people down. Self-hatred among the gays there is rampant.

    Love yourself, people.

    Who cares about Alice Ripley, except that she used the gay equivalent of the n word. You just don’t do it.

  • Michael

    First, there is no such thing as a “confirmed heterosexual” haha…and I don’t say that as a sleazy gay, I’m being legitimate here. The only thing we can comfirm (for near-certainty) is that when someone is out as gay, they are pretty much positively in fact gay at least to some degree.

    But whatever…that’s not important. I’m kind of with Queerty on this – and kind of not.

    I think she should be ridiculed for her mistake. I find it rather offensive…actually more so than if it came from O’Reilly because I’d expect it more from him. An apology was necessary…actually one better than what we got. I do NOT think it is right for anyone to use “fag” unless it is amongst a group solely made up of gays…and even then I double-take when I hear it. Other than that, it’s exactly like the “n” word and just shouldn’t be used for obvious political reasons and for connotations attached to the word in today’s times.

    BUT should people be protesting the N2N stage door!? Ha! NO! Alice is an ally to us!! I’ve talked to her a couple times, first when she visited my school (music and theatre conservatory) to talk to some of us students and perform a little bit for us. She’s very down to earth. She’s very progressive and “New-Agey.” She’s a free spirit. …I mean I don’t even know…it would be like her to use “fag” on purpose but in some round about post-modern interpretation be using it as a compliment. She’s a very special and unique person/artist and she does not deserve to be treated with protesters who are just upset that they got a tiny taste of homophobia in the one place where being gay is not just okay, but abundant.

    So I’m a little upset to hear it, yes. But I also know that it will just go into my little brain-filing system about people. Alice’s reputation will be slightly marred in my mind for the time being. That’s all that needs to happen though – no protesting. And protesters need to do the same. As Queerty says, go protest Bill O’Reilly. And I have…here:



  • schlukitz

    And I get hot under the collar when Queerty moderates my comments that don’t even come close to this level of queer-bashing?

    Frankly, Queerty, if the best you can come up with as a gay site, is to bash us gays for “over-reacting” and telling us to “move on” when someone thoughtlessly uses the “fag” word, then I would just as soon you banned me completely.

    I wouldn’t be in the least offended, I assure you.

  • Gregg

    @ Michael-thank you. I am upset about Alice’s comment but I forgive her lapse in judgement. Words are just that, words. I would take Alice Ripley saying Fag over Larry Craig saying Homosexual anyday!!

    I also have to ask the people that seem to want this to carry on and drawing comparisons to I. Washington, have you ever call someone a derogatory name before you thought of the consequences of your words? Did that person forgive you? Did you apologize? Did you learn from your actions?

  • Pitou

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: I MUST agree.
    My boyfriend and I had a semi-heated debate about the use of Fag last week (no winner, we just agreed to disagree. But I did politely ask him not to use it around me…we shall see). He grew up in a small, small well-to-do rural town and went to private school where there were 30 kids in his entire class. He was loved by everyone and never went through the constant ridicule I went through in my small town public school of 120+ student-class.
    His rationale to be able to use the word is that it doesn’t mean the same thing as it used to. Take the “Fag” episode of South Park for instance, where it was used to describe the group of bikers because they were annoying and constantly seeking attention from their loud bikes. In the show, the word was not directed at GLBT’s, but the town went apeshit, and rightfully so.
    Because the word has “evolved” in recent years to mean what youth-culture takes its meaning as, gives not a soul the right to use it. It is still being used as a deroggatory word, regardless of who it’s being directed to. It’s the same thing as saying something is gay. Calling something gay, is using the name for homosexual men as something mean and nasty. It’s using a word (fag) that has been for decades used as a mean and nasty word for Gay men, for something else that might be mean and nasty. It is the EXACT equivilent of a resurgence of the word Nigger to describe something dark, or stupid. For instance at night time saying “It’s really Nigger out”, or calling that asshole who just cut you off, regardless of race, a “dirty nigger”. IT IS THE SAME THING.

    Fag has an intimate history with our community as an oppressive, deroggatory word used to describe our “immoral, unnatural, sinner behavior/lifestyle”. Case in point: How many decades has Fred Phelps and his KKKlan been using that word in his speeches, “sermons”, and protests? How many of you were called FAG relentlessly during your school years, and maybe even into adulthood to make you feel bad? That is what the word is for, and therefore has no use in a polite society. Nor does Nigger, Spic, Kyke, Gook, Chink, Cunt (I will admit to using this sometimes, I try to stop it), Bitch (this one too).

    It’s bad enough for our community that Gays use that word either in Gay-conversation or to describe themselves or a fellow Gay. But a straight woman, who has worked for years along side many Gays, who I’m quite positive she has encountered Gay men being offended by ANYONE using that word. It’s intended to inflict emotional harm to another, and most who have had it used at them will continue to be offended by the word no matter how the urban definition has changed.

    THAT, Queerty and others, is why the Gays are still freaking out over a striaght “ally” using the word to describe a Gay man…friend or foe.

  • Donna

    So an apparently straight woman uses the word “Fag” and everyone Gay throws a fit. But if a Gay film maker uses the word “Trannie” (see Israel Luna) and everyone Gay defends his “campiness”. A slur is a slur REGARDLESS.

  • Will

    An amazing parody of the Alice Ripley controversy…

  • Anthony J.

    So she has a gay coworker and gets a pass for saying CODE:RED homophobic word. You Manhatten gays had your moms jumping for joy when you came out; for the rest of us, who do share a more personal (and fragile) attachment to this UGLY word…don’t dictate how our response to it should be. This woman didn’t use it like some 19 year old hetro frat kid in college (still offensive but THAT’S more excusable) she flat out MEANT fag, to a fag and had malice behind it. For her to work in Broadway getting her paycheck from fags (in a country that views us as secondary) is not okay…regardless of how this flippant (about gay issues) site tries to make it so.

  • David C

    Let it go, folks. With all the enemies we have, Alice Ripley is not among them.

  • Chris M

    Sorry, but in the theatre community and in most places where there are a lot of gay people, “fag” is a commonly used word. Just as many black people refer to each other as the N word in a friendly way, I know plenty of gay men who refer to each other s fags, and lesbians who refer to each other as dykes, in both joking and bitchy ways. Alice may not deserve a free pass, but she (and this amazing show) definitely doesnt deserve to be boycotted.

    On a completely seperate note: Anybody who wastes their time boycotting this show, instead of buying a ticket and watching it, is missing one of the best theatrical experiences of their life

  • Michael

    @Chris M –
    THANK YOU for bringing this point up.

    Next to Normal is an incredible show. Those who protest are simply being foolish for not seeing it. It might be able to teach them a thing or two about what’s important in one’s life…among other things.

  • Michael

    …and for example, I don’t particularly agree with Kanye West as a person (or at least what we see of it through the media), but I think his music is brilliant. I separate art and artist, or rather artist as a professional and the artist as a person.

  • Lisa Kasamoto

    Alice Ripley Target of Sham Campaign and Protest

    June 11, 2010

    Not only did no one show up for the protest, but the reason it was being organized had nothing to do with defending the Gay & Lesbian community against a slur. Ms. Ripley just happened to be the actor caught up in the organizer’s calculating set up, in the name of research, religion, and recruiting. It could have been anyone.

    The poster, “isntitromantic”, wrote: “I am a PhD candidate in psychology doing my part of my doctoral thesis on the long term effects of anonymous internet use on posters who share a common interest, i.e., Broadway or a particular performer. I posted the initial post about the [protest] rally to:

    a. see whether such a thing would happen
    b. bring in the Christian thread with the avatar
    c. see how the fans/non-fans of a celebrity of Ms. Ripley’s stature would react and interact
    d. see what other issues would come up.

    I would like to interview some of you personally about your responses and feeling about things that were posted on this thread. Please message me if you would be willing to speak with me.”

    This person’s original call for a protest was already offensive for using a slur against the mental health community. Now, it’s even more so, given that it is entirely misleading to everyone on BOTH sides: “stage door demo for Ripley’s FAG slur Thurs. at 10 pm. Homophobia will not be tolerated in the theater community. Spread the word. Queers unite against Crazy.”

    Too bad baiting and manipulation ARE tolerated, to the point that it caught someone of integrity, like Alice Ripley, in its mess.

  • Mike

    The word FAG is offensive. Obvious point. People may be more offended then others, while others might not take offense to it and actually use it in their vocabulary. Whatever side of of the fence you’re currently standing on in regard to this issue can we agree on one thing? People make mistakes, and sometimes don’t always have the best choice of words. She made a mistake, it happened, she got burned, she apologized. End of story. It doesn’t mean that just because we’re not running her into the ground that we’re growing soft or because we let this one slide, that other people will start saying the F-word more. Truth be told gays, people do say it and will continue to say it, because that’s the world we live in. If you think otherwise, you might be in for a rude awakening.

    But no matter what, people are just always going to need to be offended by something and will find a means to justify their points. I just think it’s counterproductive to rigorously attack an ally of the LGBT community, over a mistake.

    Aren’t there bigger fish to fry? Go after a gay-hating evangelist or a politician.

  • Mike

    @Anthony J.:
    I didn’t know you knew Alice Ripley! I mean since you know EXACTLY what she meant and her emphasis on the word. I agree with you where you’re coming from. To come out in a less understanding or accepting setting, that word does have an effect on you. And just because she’s part of the LGBT community doesn’t give her the right to use that word, but it was a poor word choice.

  • Ned

    Here here!!

  • Ned

    Oh dwellers of glass houses. Get over yourselves. We’ve all said and done things of which we are not proud. She apologized. She realized the errors of her ways. Jeez Leweeze. Stop acting like the evangelists we gays abhor.

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