Paranormal investigator and fellow Ohioan Anita Brown has found herself in the center of some praise and a little scrutiny this week after taking to Examiner.com to write about an often-ignored subject: hate in the paranormal community. In her article 'Paranoia, homophobia, and racism on the front lines of the paranormal field' she speaks out about some homophobic remarks made by a few individuals but mostly one member of the television show Ghost Hunters: Britt Griffith.
Griffith appeared Wednesday on Live Paranormal's Home Brew hosted by Rain City Paranormal and spoke very candidly about investigating, the show, and himself. The article points out some offhand remarks he made throughout the show. The most controversial of which involved dropping the other F-bomb. ""You get on the east coast, the west coast," he declared, "and they're all anti-gun pussy faggots." One of the show's hosts came to his defense on the issue saying that while it was a "poor choice of wording" we should remember that " we are ALL human" and he doubts it was Britt's intention to harm anyone intentionally. Griffith also commented yesterday on the article, speaking in his own defense and clarifying all of his remarks. On the gay slur, he said, "Well they are anti-gun, wish i would not have used the F word there, sorry for that cause i love the gays. i am a lot of fucked up things, homophobia [sic] is not one of them."
Now, I don't know Britt personally and we never have crossed paths. I can't say he's a racist, homophobe, or anything like that. The F-word is used a lot by people and hasn't been as blacklisted as the N-word. But does he "love the gays"? Well, I don't have a clear answer to that one either. I don't know if he has gay friends. But even Sarah Palin has remarked that she has gay friends. That must be akin to being Mel Gibson's Jewish friend, I would think. If you strolled around Hillcrest in San Diego I would think it highly unlikely to find many gay men who had straight friends who would refer to anyone as "p*ssy f*ggots" and take it lightly. Any way you look at it, the way the word is used is not meant to be pleasant. And the phrase itself implies a stereotypical and weak gay individual.
I know a lot of people (myself included) who've experienced unabashed and blatant homophobia in the paranormal community. When people don't realize who is listening (or their sexual orientation) they definitely stick their foot in their mouth. What most people fail to realize is that you never know who is straight, gay, or bisexual just by taking a quick look around or spending a little time around them. We don't all wear tight shirts and eyeliner while waving a rainbow flag. It's fine to be who you are, believe what you want, and say how you feel. Just remember that words can be weapons with more impact than a semi-automatic.
I'm one of those rare people who don't feel compelled to hate. To me it's a wasted emotion that takes away too much energy better spent on positive things. No, I don't even hate Britt. It is a free country where you can be a tree-hugging hippie or a gun-toting tea-bagger (if only they realized what a poor choice of wording that is). But I will say one thing: this may not bode well for his advancement on Ghost Hunters International. When you're dubbed a celebrity all eyes are on you. During the show, Griffith said, "I'm very blue-collar, I'm R-rated. If four-letter words offend you, you know how to turn the sound off." Unfortunately, that's not quite how television works. When you're Joe the Paranormal Investigator nobody outside your little corner of the world cares what you say. When you sign a contract with a network or film company everything changes. You now represent a show and a company. Words need to be filtered better. Read through any contract and you'll see that proper conduct and ethics are a requirement. A lot of people find out the hard way that the industry isn't too forgiving. Just look around at some people who've been fired or "relieved" of their positions on television and you'll soon realize there's an unspoken reminder from behind the camera. You can be replaced. You're a dime a dozen.
The news has reported several incidents in recent weeks regarding the effects of homophobic speech and actions. This was undoubtedly a case of very bad timing and the need of a good publicist. Words aren't always just words. Anything you say can and will come back to haunt you. And that's far more terrifying than any haunted house.