It was announced recently that Britt Griffith was relieved of his duties on paranormal television because of the incident I wrote about a few weeks back on this blog. Chip Coffey and Ryan Buell have each weighed in with their opinions on the incident, the man, and the aftermath. Several other bloggers have chimed in with their thoughts and message boards are discussing both sides as well, from the die-hard supporters to the still-irritated people. As far as SciFi is concerned, it seems to be a closed case, a done deal. As my previous post about the debacle said, it was inevitable.
I don't think you can call this a first strike for Griffith. There was the famous dildo video that came out and had a few people questioning his judgment. I'm not aware of other blunders from the past but considering I don't regularly follow the new wave of ghost programming that's not too much of a surprise. However, I've known plenty of people in the paranormal community blatantly guilty of hate-filled speech and actions. Sometimes it's a simple slip-up of crass talk. Other people devote their entire lives to it.
Britt did recently write a hopefully-sincere apology on his Facebook page. I guess these days that's about standard for a "public apology". It may have been better to do it elsewhere, and while it was good of him to mention The Trevor Project perhaps making a donation himself might have had a bit more of an effect. Of course it wouldn't have needed to be huge since most people on television aren't paid as well as some might like to believe. Consider it the celebrity version of the swear jar, opening your walled any time you open your mouth and something inappropriate falls out.
Many people have been asking why this is such a big deal. Well, first just a glance at news in the past month will show you how many recent teen suicides have involved gay kids. We're in the midst of continuing arguments over repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and whether to allow same-sex marriage. Atlanta police have recently been accused of destroying evidence in the brutal raid on a gay bar last year. Obviously hatred and intolerance are still alive and well across the country. Our awareness of it is more heightened.
Most of us have been guilty of saying (or at the very least thinking) mean things about someone, something, or a group of people. Even I've poked a bit of fun at some absurdities and people but I try not to go for blood. No one is perfect. We all can be unintentionally silly, absurd, or worse at times. But being deliberate and direct with your hate doesn't do anything other than make you seem like a bully. And in a time where kids are killing themselves over bullying in school we don't need adults acting like that as well.
If we want our world to change for the better it will only happen through positive action. In that respect, perhaps SciFi shouldn't have bumped someone for using a derogatory word. While he shouldn't have been rewarded for the slip-up, what about making some amends and adding an openly-gay cast member? We're out there everywhere. Anyone who doesn't think LGBT people are in the paranormal community must not network very much. Something like that would have had a better impact than a quick "you're fired" phone call. It's only my opinion, though. I can't speak for executives and what they think is best for their audience and company.
We do have a very long way to go. And I don't just mean trying to make the world a more tolerant place. The same applies to advances in the paranormal realm. When do we decide that working together for the betterment of everyone supersedes "my ghost group can beat up your ghost group" mentality? How can you say you're trying to help people if you promote hate in another breath? When will investigators pool together data and discoveries to help everyone understand the unexplainable? Perhaps when it all stops being a game and starts being a joint effort to get to the bottom of our strange world.