Daily Shows looks for anti-gay bigots in MS, AL and doesn’t find any

The Daily Show goes to Alabama and Mississippi in order to find out which is the most anti-gay state in the union.

And they find that both places aren’t as bad as you might think.

Now, granted, this is the Daily Show. So I always wonder to what degree these segments are set up in advance. But they had these guys walk down the street, holding hands in both states, and they didn’t get much notice. And then had them propose to each inside restaurants, and they even got a smattering of applause.

Having said that, it’s not like people weren’t obviously uncomfortable with what was going on, especially with the proposal – though they knew well enough not to say anything about it, which is in itself progress:


Now, they could have gone to large cities that are perhaps more gay-friendly, who knows. I’d be curious if folks from Alabama and Mississippi could weigh in and let us know exactly how tolerance is progressing in those states. I’d be honestly curious.

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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34 Responses to “Daily Shows looks for anti-gay bigots in MS, AL and doesn’t find any”

  1. Jonathan Hinkle says:

    … you can. Since Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.

  2. EscherEnigma says:

    Tell me about how warm and welcoming the states are when I can legally fuck there.

  3. pappyvet says:

    You folks do a great job and I thank you !

  4. Tim Smith says:

    Ok..I am 54, gay, and live in suburban Birmingham. Though I am originally from Alabama, I have lived in a number of locations across the country and in Europe. I live in a typical suburban neighborhood on the south side of town, My neighbor to the left is openly gay, the guy on my right is retired Baptist Minister, with the rest of the neighborhood being a fairly good mixture of white, black and hispanic. My partner and I are as open as we would be if we lived in any other metro area in the US. We have never had even one negative experience from our neighbors. I am out at work, and with all of my rural North Alabama family. Again….no problems. We have a nice circle of gay friends both here in town and elsewhere across the south. While our politicians are total assholes…the vast majority of people here just go with the flow and don’t really care. Even my dear old deep south rural grandmother was heart broken when I broke up with my first boyfriend (circa 1984). Told me he was perfect for me and that I would live to regret letting him go. Southerners are an odd bunch…in private they have a live-and-let-live attitude, but when it comes to electing their politicians…they do the opposite. I have about decided it’s because they are too afraid to speak out publicly or make waves. My biggest fear is how these southern politicians are going to act once gay marriage is legalized (most likely by a Supreme Court decision). Brown v. Board was in 1954…yet schools in this state did not desegregate until 1970….a good 16 years later! The South is notorious for dragging it’s feet and finding clever little ways to both do what the courts tell it to do, while at the same time flipping them off. I have no doubt the same thing will happen when gay marriage finally comes to the Deep South.

  5. unclemike says:

    I think a better test would be to have the couple move into a rural neighborhood and see how long before their house gets egged. Or torched.

  6. But more flags never hurt :)

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  8. Moderator3 says:

    Actually one flag will do it. However, I usually see the posts before I see the flag. When it says “Awaiting Moderation”, it means one of us has already “got” it. If no one replies to it, it will just disappear without comment. Please remember the moderators are volunteers with lives and families.

  9. emjayay says:

    If you hover to the upper right of a message a little flag appears. Click on it and OK it. I did and now ia few minutes later I came back and it’s “awaiting moderation”. Maybe it takes a few flags, I don’t know.

  10. emjayay says:

    I don’t think anything was staged, although some like the carny guy probably knew they were on camera. Having the guys looking like the reddest rednecks ever and having a Southern accent and speech probably helped. And the most enthusiastic supporters in the Waffle House appeared to be the black workers.

    Somewhere just recently on the internet I saw a segment of some teevee show that stages incidents with actors and uses a hidden camera. The incident was in a very middle class coffee shop like maybe a Waffle House or somewhere like that somewhere in the South, and the “waitress” loudly refused to serve a “lesbian couple and their kids” and I think suggested that they leave. They repeated it several times. The defense of the “gay family” by some very stereotypical rednecky guys etc. was very moving actually. I remember one guy spensome t time having a serious discussion with the waitress about it.
    Wish I had a link.

  11. pappyvet says:

    2nd time I’ve seen this, Moderator please !

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  13. Houndentenor says:

    The only thing wrong with Stev84’s comment was not everyone in the South is like that. It’s just more likely than not that someone from the south will slop sugar to your face and badmouth you once you leave the room. Having watched people be nice to black people who were in the room and then say horribly racist things the moment he or she leaves since I was a child, I don’t kid myself that the same folks aren’t saying equally anti-gay things when I’m not around.

  14. Houndentenor says:

    it also buys into the obviously wrong idea that everyone in one state thinks the same way. There are plenty of anti-gay bigots in liberal states like Massachusetts and California and plenty of open-minded people in Mississippi and Utah.

  15. Houndentenor says:

    Indeed. Smiling and being polite to people you can’t stand is a southern tradition. It served me well working for bankers and lawyers as a temp in between singing gigs.

  16. ComradeRutherford says:

    Oh, false politeness, is that what they mean by the Southern Way of Life?

  17. caphillprof says:

    A false politeness is Southern

  18. Stev84 says:

    You describe that behavior like it’s a good thing. I prefer honesty.

  19. Drew2u says:

    The casual dismissal of Nate Silver’s stats reads as a colbert bit and it was frustrating to not let him explain how he got his numbers; especially since he had batted 100 for the 2012 presidential election.
    The bit didn’t really seem clever nor informative.

  20. DastiusKrazitauc says:

    I agree, Chris. I am not going to make any blanket statements about a geographic area, but I am a Southerner and I was once invited to a New Year’s Eve party in Manhattan. At one point in the party, I was with a small group listening to the host of the party hold forth. He said a Yiddish word I didn’t know, so I asked what it was. He said in a mock-southern accent, “What, you all never heard Yiddish while sittin’ on your cracker front porch?”. Rude as hell to my face, but he probably votes correctly.

  21. Indigo says:

    It’s the Daily Show. We expect a comedic tone. I wonder how it would go if Shepard Smith proposed to Richard Engel live on Good Morning America?

  22. chris10858 says:

    Hey.. as a southerner, I resent that remark. In fact, Id say something very ugly to you… but, that would be rude on my part. So, Im going to just say bless your yankee heart… and then call my friend to talk about you. LOL

  23. LanceThruster says:

    Well, bless their hearts!


  24. chris10858 says:

    This segment was totally fake. You can even see in the video the young girl’s face and looks that others casually give. Although I rarely defend folks from the south (I am from the rural , bible-loving, slightly racist, not so slightly homophobic parts), most southerners will show proper mannerisms and not say anything to your face as its considered being rude. They may even clap at something like the staged marriage proposal even if its something they disagree with and would vote against in the ballot box.

    This segment could have been taken right out of a Sean Hannity segment and called fair and balanced reporting.

    Heck, I still hear older people back home who will say things like racial marriage goes against the Bible and they refer to gay men from work or church as “confirmed bachelors”. So, two unmarried men in say their 50s who share a 1 bedroom apartment together are confirmed bachelors? LOL

  25. LanceThruster says:


    It’s too late.

    The gay agenda has poisoned the minds of even decent, buckle-of-the-bible-belt, Uhmurkins!

  26. cole3244 says:

    i presume the daily show producers were smart enough to not go to the boondocks and push their luck.

  27. Stev84 says:

    Southerns are all polite and smiling to your face, but among themselves they will insult you and stab you in the back in a nanosecond.

  28. atalex says:

    As a native Mississippian, I found this segment to be incredibly disingenuous. Both were shot in metropolitan areas (Jackson, MS and, I think, Montgomery, AL) where you would EXPECT the population to be better educated and more tolerant than the state as a whole. Try that crap in some catfish restaurant in one of the hundreds of insular rural communities in Mississippi, and there probably would have been violence.

  29. BeccaM says:

    The point, as ever, is “Who is in charge? Who runs the state governments?”

    Answer: The homophobes.

    Yes, the regular folks are all coming around, but the way things stand in many of these deep Red states is that it isn’t an electoral drawback to be an anti-gay, misogynistic, xenophobic, fundamentalist bigot.

  30. heimaey says:

    Yeah out in public, most people don’t care – it’s not their business. However, if asked to vote they’ll probably say no because they shouldn’t be encouraging it.

  31. FLL says:

    An accurate experiment doesn’t have to be set up in some nutcase Bible church, but it does have to involve a hidden camera. People should not be aware that they are on video if you want get their honest reaction. Downtown Birmingham, AL or Jackson, MS would be fine in order to get a good cross-section of society. A Waffle House if fine, but with a hidden camera. Even up North, the majority of the population tends to ignore the nutcases in their Bible churches.

  32. nicho says:

    Meanwhile, Hallmark censors Christmas carol and removes the word “gay.”


  33. pissed sissy says:

    oh please. You stage a “gay” couple obviously trying to be bait for a fight, yet follow them around with a camera. Yes, Southerners are sweet-talkin’, two-faced bigoted hicks, but in this day and age of ubiquitous digital recording for the next big YouTube meme, even they can spot a set-up like this. Now, put a hidden camera in a tea-bagger bar – or church – and let two really effeminate men stroll in holding hands, and let’s see how long it takes for the meathead closet cases in the room to use “stand your ground” to make swiss cheese out of “them queers.” Total misrepresentation of reality – and a severe mis-service of justice of those gay men & women who have to live here.

  34. nicho says:

    Yeah, put anti-gay measure on the ballot and see what happens. That’s the best way to find out.

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