A Criminal, A Whore, An Idiot, & A Liar: Why the controversy over Scandal only touches the surface.

WOW! This is my 1st post in over a year’s time. The last year had it share of ups & downs but would I trade the experiences & the wisdom gained through those experiences, absolutely NOT!


As many of you who follow me on twitter @HumanistExec (FYI twitter has SUSPENDED my account with NO RHYME REASON OR PROVOCATION & I am appealing this vehemently-you can still MENTION me & I can still see it, but unfortunately I cannot respond) know that I am a great fan of a show on ABC starring some of my favourite actors & actresses including Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn (Actor/Producer/Director), Jeff Perry, & Joshua Malina aptly titled SCANDAL. NOW I’m not going to go into plot particulars etc because that’s NOT what this post is about & if you’re interested in the show, I suggest you NETFLIX the 1st season, & then use ABC.com or HULU to catch up on the 2nd season. It’s well worth the time & is an exceptionally written show. No THIS post is about a controversy that erupted yesterday over the comments made by one Star Jones. The screencap below shows the comments DIRECTLY as the appear on twitter’s website.

The response was so overwhelming that it caused Ms. Jones to lockdown her account & proceed to start blocking everyone in site. INCLUDING @JoshMalina who responded directly to her:

As did eventually did show creator @ShondaRimes : 

Here’s the thing & other Gladiators (Scandal Fans) can attest to this, the criticisms of this show & it characters can generally be separated into two distinct categories; either a person dislikes the show PERIOD  or they dislike the characters & the character development & how they interact with the other characters on the show & the impact they have on the overall show as a whole. YES, it’s a SHOW. It’s a work of FICTION. Here’s the thing about that: I feel like we have had to put up with so-called ‘reality-based’ TV shows for so long that when FINALLY we get SCRIPTED, WELL-WRITTEN show that we can attach ourselves to the characters we will battle to the death for it so to speak. And THIS IS OK. Just like it’s OK to watch a show or film & not necessarily agree with the direction the characters take on-screen OR how they develop.

HOWEVER, the comments made by Star Jones are a DIRECT criticism of something that has NOTHING to do with the characters on the show & EVERYTHING to do with the issue of racial tension you will often see discussed by others who may watch the show in passing or have watched the show is the past & now NO LONGER watch because they have issues WITH the interracial themes presented. Shonda Rimes is famous for bringing the element of interracial relationships to the small screen in such a way that there is often very little blowback & viewers of the show adjust accordingly & it seems like everyone is one big happy family. The reality is, you have people like Ms. Jones who used her public forum to show her displeasure at exactly the sort of scenario, something as a black woman I hear sadly often from other black men & women DAILY. (just watch twitter for a few hours & you’ll see how many men & even a few women express their displeasure at the relationship shared by primary characters Kerry Washington & Tony Goldwyn)

And THEN there’s the comment Ms. Jones made regarding Kerry Washington’s character Olivia where she basically calls her A WHORE. (In this same vein Ms. Jones expresses that she has spoken to Kerry regarding the show only JUST last week so there’s that) Again, REMEMBER the name of the show is SCANDAL. That implies the characters, their paths, & their actions have FLAWS. So after this incident I began to search twitter & facebook for more comments similar to the ones made by Ms. Jones & was NOT AT ALL surprised to find that the majority of them AGAIN come from other BLACK MEN & WOMEN. Scandal had 6 MILLION HOUSEHOLDS last week that viewed a RE-BROADCAST of the show. It’s viewers are multi-ethnic, multi-racial, span generations, AND socio-economic lifestyles. And yet 90% of the hatred & disgust comes from a small representative sample of the viewing public. WHY?

Many of you know a bit about my background & are aware that I grew up OUTSIDE the United States thanks to my Father’s career choices as well as the choices made by my Mother, an educator, who wanted me to have the best well-rounded education possible. I bring this up because outside of the US interracial relationships/marriages/children etc are so much more commonplace & NOT UP FOR DISCUSSION as they are here in the US. The venom, the anger, the bitterness that is being spewed (trust me, Ms. Jones’ comments are MILD compared to some of the other unfit to print things I have seen in the past 24 hours) at Ms. Washington’s character & to an extent Mr. Goldwyn’s characters is so telling & yet so compelling. So many in the US are still SO indoctrinated by the remnants of Jim Crowe, segregation, & to a lesser extent slavery that even in the year 2013 we are STILL having this discussion & people are still ‘STONING’ those who chose to love whom they chose to love.

Again, this is a SHOW, & it’s called SCANDAL. To be frank, the ONLY thing on the show that should NOT still be a SCANDAL in 2013 is the race/ethnic background of it’s characters. It’s 2013 ladies & gentlemen. The world is ROUND, the sky is BLUE (eh, most days), OUR PRESIDENT IS BLACK, & if one colour of the rainbow chooses to align itself with another well then, that’s just fine too.

This is Joy’ll,

The Humanist Exec,