In case you missed it, former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Carmen Carrera, a transgender woman, appeared on last night’s episode of TLC’s Cake Boss, where she participated in a prank by Buddy Valastro on his cousin Anthony, who hit on Carmen in a bar and later learned she was transgender. After the show aired, Carmen expressed her shock on Facebook that the big reveal was that she is “a man, baby!” (Extremely old and hack movie references being the least of the show’s offenses, we guess.) Carmen is a trans woman.
To add insult to injury, the target of the prank, “Cousin Anthony” Bellifemine (he of the coincidentally interesting last name), Tweeted this horrible backward sh*t last night, calling Carmen “it”:
After social media leaped to Carmen’s defense and a Change.org petition demanded an apology from Cake Boss, Cousin Anthony Tweeted this mea culpa this afternoon:
Reached for comment, TLC gave us this statement from Buddy Valastro, the instigator of the prank (and not the one who called Carmen “it”):
“I’ve been trying to connect with Carmen and apologize to her directly, but also think I owe an apology to the entire LGBT community. It was absolutely not my intention to upset or offend her, or anyone within the community, and I was wrong to use the words I did. I am a supporter of gay rights and equality, and while I regret this situation and my choice of words, I am thankful to have received this feedback and the opportunity to learn from this mistake. I hope that Carmen accepts my sincere regrets.”
It’s the now-familiar “teachable moment” apology – the ultimate example of which was Jason Alexander’s a few weeks ago after calling the game of cricket “gay.” In Mr. Valastro’s defense, the show has been LGBT-inclusive in the past (in their own rainbow cake kind of way), and we can believe they never meant any harm while still believing they contributed to a culture of transphobia that Carmen says she thought was appearing on the show specifically to counter. Either way, they hurt her feelings (and whatever you think of the show – Gawker has a clip that shows everything that went down – you can’t defend that “it” Tweet. It’s indefensible.)
We reached out to Carmen and her manager but have yet to hear back, and she’s been silent on Twitter and Facebook since last night. Her objections were about being called a man on the show itself – and we’re sure seeing that “it” Tweet (which no, we can’t get over!) didn’t help.