While Blake Shelton was in search of “The Voice,” his record label wanted to silence his…by shutting down his Twitter account.
Shelton’s label bosses at Warner Bros. thought his Twitter messages were overly candid and sometimes offensive, like his tweet where he re-wrote some Shania Twain lyrics to read, “Any man that tries Touching my behind / He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy.”
After the remarks were considered anti-gay, Shelton’s label heads wanted to prevent him from tweeting, something he and the rest of the judges regularly do for “The Voice.”
“There was a point where Warner Bros. was like, ‘We’ve got to get Blake off Twitter, ’cause he can’t say these type of things,’” Shelton told the New York Times.
Shelton apologized for his tweets after he was under pressure from critics and groups like GLAAD, but the tweets haven’t seemed to have caused him any distress.
His new album, “Red River Blue,” was just released on Tuesday. Featuring the hit single “Honey Bee,” it’s already at #1 on iTunes and is on its way to a big debut.
“I hope that people learn from me, it’s OK to be yourself,” Shelton said. “It’s OK to offend somebody, and, as a matter of fact, please be polarizing. If you’re not polarizing, you failed in my opinion. If you don’t stand for something, how can anyone respect what you do?”
Universal is changing the trailer for their Vince Vaughn-Kevin James comedy “Dilemma” after it received severe criticism over the use of the word “gay.” In the teaser trailer for the upcoming Ron Howard-directed comedy, Vaughn is speaking to a packed conference room when he hurls the term as an insult, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, electric cars are so gay.” The trailer got so much buzz that even Anderson Cooper complained to Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show that the film influences people in thinking the term is acceptable. He told the host via satellite, “I was sitting in a movie theater over the weekend and there was a preview of a movie, and in it, the actor said, ‘That’s so gay,’ and I was shocked that not only that they put it in the movie, but that they put that in the preview.” “They thought it was okay to put that in a preview for the movie to get people to go and see it… We’ve got to do something to make those words unacceptable cause those words are hurting kids.” Cooper never identified the name of the film. GLAAD is also speaking out, saying the use of the word “gay” in the film’s teaser was “unnecessary and does nothing more than send a message of intolerance about our community to viewers.” Universal now promises to change the trailer for the film, saying in a statement obtained by Deadline: “The teaser trailer for The Dilemma was not intended to cause anyone discomfort. In light of growing claims that the introduction to the trailer is insensitive, it is being replaced.”
CBS Vows To Add More Gay Characters On Its Shows. After receiving a failing grade from the Gays & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, CBS now vows to add more gay characters to its shows. Network president Nina Tassler says they will do better next time. GLAAD has given the eye network a failing mark for two consecutive years for lacking more gay characters on its shows. Because of the disappointing grades, Tassler said they have plans to include more gay representations on the upcoming episodes of their shows. Tassler said at the Television Critics Association fall previews, as quoted by TVGuide, “I’m very disappointed in our track record so far. We know we will do better.” “Once you come out of your pilot development season disappointed with yourself, you go into the current series season and look for every opportunity we can to improve the numbers we have represented in the cast.” “We’re going to do that, and we’ll continue to focus on that as we go into development season. We’re not happy with ourselves.” The characters that are expected to be introduced include Alicia’s (Julianna Margulies) gay brother on “The Good Wife,” a new recurring gay character of “S#*! My Dad Says,” and a lesbian surrogate for Jeff and Audrey (Patrick Warburton and Megyn Price) on “Rules of Engagement.” GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios is “hopeful” that the promised new characters will “help build awareness and understanding” of the community among viewers, though he is also wary of the plan, saying “After two years of receiving a ‘failing’ grade and a commitment last year to be more inclusive, we hope that CBS President Nina Tassler makes true on this promise to bring the network more in line with the industry standard.”
Glee Goes On Tour. The cast of Glee are gearing up for their first tour. The stars from the hit TV show will tour the USA from May 18 starting at The Dodge Stadium in Phoenix. Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley, Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz and Dianna Agron will take to the road to sing the songs they performed in the show. Sony Music has released two soundtrack albums from the first season of the show. No doubt a live CD and DVD will spring from one of the shows. The Glee sensation might be resoundingly less resonant with the gay audience without the delightful depiction of a young gay Glee clubber coming into his own. Every week, on top of their love of show tunes and any outlet for Jane Lynch’s comedic brilliance, gay viewers are connecting with the young, freshly out character Kurt Hummel. Now the talented performer behind the part, Chris Colfer, reveals to our source how the part of Kurt was created with him in mind (the name’s a nod to his role in a high school production of The Sound of Music) and how his desire to sing a “girl’s song” shaped an episode in the series. While Fox’s Glee has taken off as a prime-time phenomenon — solid weekly ratings, massive downloads of the musical comedy’s weekly songs on iTunes — nobody has ridden the wave to stardom faster than Chris Colfer. At just 19, the kid who grew up in Clovis, Calif., a small town near Fresno, has risen to stardom playing Kurt Hummel, one of the few gay characters in prime time. And he can sing. With no professional training, Colfer so impressed Glee creator Ryan Murphy during initial auditions that a character was written specifically for him. In his first gay press interview, Colfer sat down with Advocate.com to discuss his overnight success, growing up in a small town, and how important it is to be gay in prime time. Advocate.com: Glee creator Ryan Murphy didn’t go the typical route for casting the show. How did you connect with the show and what was your audition process like?
What song did you perform?
Chris Colfer: It was very grueling and was probably the most stressful experience I’ve ever had to go through. Originally I was auditioning for the role of Artie [played by Kevin McHale] and I went in to the casting director and he liked me and put me through to the callback with Ryan and the rest of the creative team. The audition was OK; I was extremely nervous. I don’t remember being truly there for the whole thing. Then I got a call from my agent saying that they didn’t want me for Artie but they wanted me for this new character they were writing. At the audition the first thing that Ryan said to me when I walked through the door was, “Why do I have a feeling you’ve been in The Sound of Music?” And I said, “Oh, I was Kurt in The Sound of Music.” So I get to the next audition and I discovered the new character that they just wrote is called Kurt. I was a little suspicious of the name and what kind of character it would be, but I was still reading the lines because the character hadn’t been written yet. I went through the network auditions and the studio auditions and I got a call later from my agent, who said that I got the role and that the role had actually been written for me.
Did you have to sing during the auditions?
Yes, I had to sing in all of the auditions. In all of the auditions I sang “Mr. Cellophane” [from Chicago], which they also put in the show as well.
Was theater/acting/singing something you’ve always wanted to do professionally?
Absolutely. I’d always wanted to eventually do something on Broadway or do something on TV, but I never thought it would be a mix of both. I’m very fortunate.
You wrote, directed, and starred in a musical spoof of Sweeney Todd called Shirley Todd. What can you tell me about that?[Laughs] The end of my senior year, my school did this thing for the seniors called the Senior Show where one senior was designated to do whatever he wanted for however much time on the stage — they get their own show in a sense. All the other kids previous to me had done SNL-type skits and gags and that type of stuff. But I was dead serious that I wanted to do a show that would be funny and adult, so I wrote this spoof called Shirley Todd, which is Sweeney Todd except all the roles were gender-reversed, so I was Mr. Lovett rather than Mrs. Lovett, and it took place in modern-day punk-rock London. It was a lot of fun.
Were you out in high school?
Oh, no. People are killed in my hometown for that.
How much has Ryan Murphy, who is gay, helped you navigate Hollywood?
I would say he mentors me as much as he mentors everyone else in the cast. He’s definitely like our stepdad, if you will.
Do you have any say with him when it comes to song suggestions?
There actually is an episode where I told him this story about when I was in high school and there was a song I really wanted to sing — “Defying Gravity” from Wicked — I really wanted to sing the song in high school, but my drama department would never let me because I was a boy and it’s a girl’s song. So I told him about it one day — I was sort of venting about it to him — and the next thing I know, he wrote it into the show. That’s the story line for the episode.
A recent GLAAD report showed a 3% increase in gay regular series characters on prime-time TV and cited Glee as a standout. How important is it to have gay characters on prime-time TV?
Very cool! I think it’s extremely important for gay youth out there to see that it’s actually OK and that they are being represented in these shows. It’s extremely important.
What about you personally — how much has Glee changed your life?
It’s changed my life from night and day. From being a weird, small-town kid to now being on a successful TV show. It’s white and black, night and day. It’s completely changed my world.
For more on Colfer’s experiences growing up gay in a small town and the hard hours of preparation that went into the memorable “Single Ladies” send-up, check out the full article on Advocate.com.
Tell us: What do you think of Glee’s depiction of a gay high-schooler?