hidden cameras

Will Anyone Stand Up For The Son Being Attacked For Being Gay By His Father?

ABC’s human behavior pornography What Would You Do? already showed us how some folks would react (or not react) as they walked by a group of teenagers bullying a kid for being gay. But how would they react if they saw a parent taunting a kid for being a “faggot”?

Well, we’re going to New Jersey on Friday night, folks! Would anyone stick up for the kid?

We hired actors to play parent and son and rigged Rockn’ Joe Café in Westfield, N.J., with our hidden cameras to find out. As our dad and his son enter the restaurant, they chat about ordering lunch but suddenly their conversation turns intensely personal. “Dad, I need to tell you something. I’m gay,” the teen stammers out. No sooner does he get the words out than his dad responds, “You’re not gay. Forget about it!”

Suddenly, two men sitting next to our actors are all ears as the conversation heats up. “There are solutions to this! Long-term therapy! No son of mine is going to be gay!” As our father continues his tirade, the man nearby is clearly upset. He shakes his head, drums his fingers on the table and his eyes dart back and forth, but will he break his silence? One of our actors, playing a waiter at the cafe, comes over to find out.

“What just happened?” asks our actor. “I don’t really want to get into it. It’s not our business,” the man responds. After 10 minutes went by he didn’t say a word, so we decided to find out what he was thinking. “The responses that the father was giving really, really upset me,” he said. “He wasn’t understanding anything his son was saying and, you know, he kept telling him he can change it, to go to therapy, this and that.” As to why this patron didn’t get involved: “I don’t know. They were kind of in the middle of it I guess,” he said.

It is a response we see repeated throughout the day — worried looks and stares but little intervention. In another scene, two women catch up over coffee when hear the painful conversation. It doesn’t take one of them long to get up and bolt from the cafe. When we catch up with her outside, she tells us, “I left my girlfriend. I said, ‘You pay the bill, I’m getting out.’”

This is you, America.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #abc #bullying #kids stories and more


  • SMZ

    this is ridiculous! if the father was physically attacking his son it would be on thing…it is nobody’s place to intervene in a father/son coming out discussion beside the father and son…end of story.

  • Teluride

    I agree, inflaming the father more could actually hurt the kid as a result. However I would say i would have a very hard time not breaking through that father son boundary. The more i think about it, I might have to confront the father and stick up for his son. The key would be to do it without causing a total meltdown of the entire situation and hopefully have a positive impact. I don’t think people in this country are equipped to deal with intense conflict. There is a politically correct shove it under the carpet mentality, a do not interfere for fear of getting hurt mentality.

  • Yancey Cuyugan

    As a proud gay man, I don’t know if I could have said anythin to the father and son that wouldn’t make the situation worse. If the dad went to the rest room and the son was alone, I would say something reassuring. This is a conundrum.

  • Mike in Asheville

    I’m not sure what I would do; but I certainly know that my WWII navy grunt veteran dad would rip the S-O-B father to pieces!

  • DR

    This show is getting out of hand, methinks…. gay eps on this show so far:

    Would you get involved if a waiter was insulting gay parents in front of their kids, sure, that one made sense, especially since the waiter was being a loud, obnoxious ass not only by being insulting but by not doing his job. There’s recourse here, call the manager.

    Would you get involved if you saw a kid being bullied on the sidewalk, ok, makes sense. We don’t want a kid getting beaten up on the boardwalk

    Would you get involved if you saw a gay couple making out in the park? We’re starting to get a bit into the “none of anyone’s business” realm since there’s nothing to get involved with!

    This? This is out of line. This goes straight into “what the hell are the execs producing this show thinking?!?”

  • Jim Hlavac

    It is between the father and the son. It’s not really anyone’s place to butt in. If it got physical, yes. But otherwise no.

    However, the problem is still that too many in this society still call us gay folks “sick” and “evil” and more, and that is why such conversations have to take place.

    In this instance the father is merely aping people like Tony Perkins and oh so many more influential and responsible people. But no one really has a right or a duty as a stranger to intervene in such a conversation. And if the kid has enough gumption to come out, I’d say he can handle his own battle. For that conversation will continue for years, between father and son. And no one can or should constantly intervene, away from the restaurant.

    The problem is that we gay children, of all ages, are still considered a problem. And we do have a duty to say “stop picking on us” to the politicians and religious figures who give guidance to this sort of dad.

  • Kev C

    How to Bully and Humiliate Gays, coming this fall on ABC.


    On the episode about the Gay kid being bullied (which was really pretty sad because the actor was actually a fairly effiminete Gay teen who had been bullied) a few people actually got involved including two Black teen girls who were quite vocal in their defense of the Gay kid……..

    In this instance it would be pretty hard to get into this drama, however if it seemed like this kid may be dealing with a totally irrational father who may toss this kid out of the home. I may consider attempting to reason with the father and explain my own father wasn’t exactaly in the mood to join me in a show tune sing-a-long when I came out in my early teens, but with time he accepted it and is perfectley ok with it now. And point out using myself as an example that one can live a pretty happy successful life as a Gay person…….

  • Frank

    I HATE this show. Just watch any episode to see why. It’s like a cruel version of Candid Camera.

  • pfitzner

    Yes, intervening would only inflame the situation, and I’m proud of all the folks who have said so. This isn’t a specifically gay issue, and the producers must know it. I can only see this as exploitation in the guise of misguided humaneness.

    That said, were it real life, I’d like to have seen the manager come to the table and tell the father that he’s creating a disturbance, and will have to leave. “Your son can stay, and lunch is on us! We’ll send him home in a cab.” That would be hugworthy.

  • gew

    Remember folks, emotional and mental abuse is easily shrugged off right? Stick and stones and all that?

    Yup, let the kid sit there and suck up the emotional abuse like a man. It’ll toughen him up. I mean, there’s no REAL damage being done is there?

  • JusticeontheRocks

    @GEW – no one is saying the “behavior” isn’t harmful. But having a stranger intervene would probably not be helpful. We’ve all known cases where the parents come around.

  • Roland

    It isn’t even real, so why get upset? We are all so concerned with “what ifs” that we upset ourselves over nothing. Act on what’s really happening, out in the world, not on TV.

    The other thing to think about, as these types of shows become more commonplace…maybe we don’t believe what is real anymore because of the possibility of being duped on TV. It’s a situation that has created itself.

    A simple rule to live by: Do the right thing.

    Making a fake situation is not the right thing. Neither is responding to it.

    Sometimes the right thing is to bear witness and not interfere in personal matters that are simply a discussion. Act to defend someone, but not to join in on the attack or as an attack in retaliation.

  • RomanHans

    I totally agree with Frank, #9. On one occasion they had an actual story brewing and they dodged it. They staged two guys kissing in a public square, to check out peoples’ reactions. Well, somebody called the cops. A policeman appeared and was getting ready to harass the guys — despite the fact kissing in public is legal — when somebody alerted him on his walkie talkie that it was a setup. He immediately left without a comment.

    What did “What Would You Do” do? Absolutely nothing. Failing far worse than any of the bystanders they criticize.

  • michiko

    I don’t care how accepting they are, almost ALL parents react with surprise and upset when their kids come out to them. I could easily see a real dad saying something like this, then taking a breather and coming back later to apologize. What if it was a girl, telling her dad she was pregnant and he got upset? Should you jump in then? Or a child telling their parent they’re joining the army?

  • alex

    ABC is conducting social science research that would never be approved by any institution of higher education. All studies involving humans at colleges/universities are subject to IRB (Institutional Review Board) review. Also, IRB is mandated by Federal law.

    Personally, I’m ashamed of my former employer Disney (parent company of ABC) for acting so irresponsibly just for ratings.

  • McMike

    Yeah, I remember seeing the piece about the cop coming to tell the two male actors to stop kissing. He was about to arrest them when he got that call on the radio advising him he was being taped. I was like “WTF???”. This kind of stuff happens all the time with gay men when it comes to the police. If that camera hadn’t been rolling those two men would have been hauled off to jail with trumped up charges even though they weren’t doing anything illegal.

    As for this segment, yeah, it’s no one’s f’n business what was going on between the father and son unless it got really ugly and/or violent.

  • bruce

    I think this is interesting because it’s exposing the liberal mainstream’s hypocrisy on gay men. Liberals say they are for gay rights but they wouldn’t intervene to stop a gay guy being bashed.

    That’s basically how liberals behave.

  • Daez

    @SMZ: Physical attacks NEVER will be more painful than emotional attacks. Physical wounds heal much faster than emotional wounds. It is the place of people to get involved if they see an asshole abusing his child.

    I would simply tell the son that you have the right to be accepted by your family or fuck them and get a family that accepts you.

  • Matt S

    To everyone who says it isn’t our place to say anything, we’re seeing kids kill themselves because of parents like this. If you did nothing and later saw that kid’s picture in the paper as a suicide, would you still be glad you didn’t say a thing?

    One could intervene peacefully and tell the father that while he’s obviously shocked and upset right now, the yelling won’t do any good. Point out that it was probably really difficult for the son to even bring the topic up.

  • Danny

    If you cannot handle the possibility from the start that your kid may be gay, you should not reproduce. Educate yourself before having a kid so from day one you know the possibility and can love your child as they are, not as you would have them be.

  • jacknasty

    I saw the whole piece and I thought it said a lot more about gender issues than gay rights. They did the scene with father/son, mother/son and mother/daughter. FAR more people interviened when it was the mother than the father because people think it is OK to tell a woman what to do than will tell a man what to do.

    Also the father was a horrible actor.

  • n1spirit

    Sorry folks but I totally disagree… Abuse is abuse, regardless of the many forms it takes. Many have said that it’s inappropriate for others to insert themselves into the situation unless the father’s rantings turned “physical”. Given what I heard and viewed on this video (yes, it was a total fabrication to see what others would do – but it DOES happen and FAR TOO OFTEN), there was plenty of evidence to support that this kid needed somebody to stand up for him. His father’s comments were emotionally and mentally abusive, pure and simple. I know of one such young man who came out to his parents and they kicked him out of his home, to live on the street and fend for himself. Fortunately, a young friend of mine (approximately 3-to-5 years older than this kid) and my friend’s mother were able to find the kid a place to stay until he can finish high school. This isn’t always the case and there are MANY young LGBT teens, FAR TOO MANY who don’t have the support and are so hurt and feel so alone that they take their own lives. So, you people keep right on patting yourselves on the back for “not getting involved just because this father’s reaction wasn’t ‘physical'” but the end result is that it is just as likely that there’s just as much damage that is being done to the boy — and it is just as possible, with or without the interventions of innocent bystanders that his situation WILL TURN into a total meltdown at home.

    I’ve NEVER understood parents like these, who put their own beliefs and selfish “wants” ahead of their child’s. If you’re going to be a parent, understand that what your child decides to do with his or her life, who/what he turns out to be (gay or straight, or bi for that matter), if he’s healthy or is born with a health problem… all these things are what makes life what it is; RANDOM and as well, what makes us uniquely ourselves. If a parent cannot accept this “gamble” and just love his/her child, REGARDLESS of who and what they grow up to be, that parent has no business being a parent in the first place.

    It takes two people to make a child; it takes a community to raise him or her. My opinion, anyway… Far too many people try to say, “that’s not my business” Well, screw that! It is EVERYBODY’s business when a child is hurting. Period.

  • testington

    @bruce: that is one of the dumbest, most illogical comments I have seen in quite a while. “Liberals say they are for gay rights but they wouldn’t intervine to stop a gay guy from being bashed”. Seriously, how can you come up with something that stupid to say? We have no idea whether any of the people in that restuarnt are liberals, conservatives, liberatrians, radical extremists…ect. not to mention the facts that there are many conservatives who do support gay rights and many liberals who don’t. Or the most obvious fact that supporting the rights of a group and a willingness to insert yourself into a domestic abuse situation have nothing to do with one another.

  • J.P.A.

    @Jim Hlavac: If everything really were that simple. If there any real rights for people who read queerty, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Comments are closed.