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New NBC chief caught in fracas over transgender spoof on 'Saturday Night Live'

January 31, 2011 |  5:43 pm

NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt has been on the job only a few days, but he's already trying to quash an uproar over a "Saturday Night Live" sketch this past weekend.

The advocacy group GLAAD is angry about a filmed commercial spoof for a "Estro-Maxx," a drug for men who are transitioning to transgender women. "You deserve to be in the body you want," cast member Bill Hader says in the bit. "But most hormone-replacement therapies require you to take five estrogen supplements a day. Five — who has time for that?"

 

One could argue that the fake ad is really a parody of drug-ad tropes, not transgendered people. But in any case, GLAAD found the segment offensive.

"There were no 'jokes' per se; all the laughs came from the commercial's offensive and dehumanizing portrayals of transgender women," the group said in a news release. "By telling its audience that transgender women should be laughed at and ridiculed, NBC contributed to an environment that sees transgender people subjected to near-universal discrimination in the workplace and an environment in which at least one transgender person is murdered every month."

GLAAD called on viewers to complain to the network and also asked NBC to remove the video from Hulu, NBC.com and other sites.

A NBC spokeswoman declined to comment. But it's understood that Greenblatt and NBC diversity chief Paula Madison will meet with GLAAD officials to discuss the case.

"SNL" has frequently run afoul of critics who say the show crosses the line. A recurring bit in which Fred Armisen plays former New York Gov. David Paterson, who is legally blind, aroused the ire of advocates for the vision-impaired. Paterson later appeared on the show and confronted Armisen directly when he was in character.

One irony for Greenblatt: In his previous role supervising Showtime's programming, he was frequently praised for his handling of shows friendly to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including "The L Word" and "Weeds."

What did you think of the "SNL" spoof? 

— Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

 

 

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