Stock show apologizes for gay jokes, Brokeback Mountain banter at Saturday rodeo

brokeback mountain.jpg
Update: The spokeswoman for the stock show has responded to our post and acknowledged that mistakes were made. See her comments below our original item.

I was sitting in the stands of the rodeo at the National Western Stock Show on Saturday night, watching men wrestle steer to the ground, when the announcer mentioned Brokeback Mountain. He and the bullfighter/rodeo clown had been bantering all night.

Your favorite cowboy movie is Brokeback Mountain, one said.

You were the stunt double for the sex scenes, the other shot back.

The lines were clearly meant as put-downs, though many in the audience -- which included kids and families -- laughed.

Later, when the guy in charge of music played a clip of "Tiny Dancer," the announcer struck again. "I bet you have a lot of Elton John on your iPod," he teased the bullfighter. "So?" the bullfighter said in a mockingly defensive tone of voice.

The two spent the rest of the evening making jokes about Lady Gaga, the bullfighter's balls and how he sucked at picking up women. The bullfighter spent much of the night straddling the fence surrounding the ring, asking a woman in the audience to marry him.

I found much of it offensive, especially the jabs about cowboys in love. And while the homophobia may not have been overt -- no one said, "Gay people are gross!" -- furtive homophobia is still homophobia. And it's apparently welcome at the rodeo.

We put in a call to the rodeo's spokeswoman. We'll update this blog when we hear back.

Update: Spokeswoman Bonnie Blitz wrote us this e-mail this morning.

After reviewing the tape of the event, we understand how some of the comments made during a rodeo comedy routine might have been offensive. As such, we have taken internal measures to address the situation. Both employees involved have apologized for their remarks during their comedy act and have removed this from all future shows.

For more about the Stock Show, check out our "People of the Rodeo" slideshow.

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44 comments
RealityBites
RealityBites

It's really irritating when people throw around this word "homophobia". the word is defined as a fear of homsexuals (broadened to include other sexual orientations other than heterosexuality). The people in this article show no signs of being afraid of homosexuals. Sure they were deriding them, and I'm not saying I agree with that behavior, but call a spade a spade here.

sawicki13
sawicki13

nobody writes editorials and letters when a stand up comedian makes jokes about the gay community, or about various races. Why? Because its their job to talk about touchy areas to get a rise out of people (usually a humerous rise). And what do some of the people at the stock show do? Try to get a rise out of the crowd because its....thats right...THEIR JOB!

Nobody wants to go to the stock show to sit and listen to silence or the announcers talk about the weather, how soft the fur is on an animal, or the scientific method used in creating the perfect animal feed.

Get over it, stop being so whiny and accept that everybody gets made fun of these days

BobT1969
BobT1969

Hard not to notice there's not a shred of evidence anyone -- not a single person -- complained about this, other than Westword, a publication that routinely makes juvenile jokes about gays, proclaims teenaged rodeo queens "hot," as for Ms. Asmar, sees penises in squash photos. Good grief, Westword, grow up.

Jake
Jake

Oh my god they told jokes someone didnt like better apologize. If you dont like it suck it up and skip the rodeo next year. If everything that offends someone is banned from all events eventually there will be no enterntainment. Did you notice some of the animals didnt look happy? We better send an apology to PETA and ban all animals from future rodeo's also.

Diane
Diane

As a regular reader of Westword, one thing has become very, very apparent. Melanie Asmar is obsessed with sex. Please, someone give this woman a hand.

Were they making gay jokes or just sissy jokes? There is a difference, but not if you spend every waking moment worried about who's having sex when you're not.

eldaveablo
eldaveablo

OK, I wasn't there to experience this banter, so maybe I'm not getting the benefit of these guys' comedic timing.

That said, if you're gonna push the pc envelope, at least be funny.

Eric
Eric

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

About 8 months ago, the conservative christian movement was going ballistic about the jokes being bantered about concerning their hero, the young conservative virgin christian role model Tim Tebow.

The humor surrounding a kid in his early 20's, drafted in the first round, a millionaire with a bright future in anything he'll do, was pointed at his reluctance to date or for that matter be seen in public with women.

Some saw his self imposed virginity as fodder for humor, some took it as an opening to hint that a guy with his opportunities that doesn't openly date must be gay, some just saw him as a naive kid that's going to discover girls at some point.

At any rate, any....and I do mean any.... jabs at the young conservative role model were taken by the right wing christian crowd as "blasphemy", Going too far, mean spirited, and "envy".

Those same self proclaimed upright religious and moral "examples" of rightous living then turn around and call blowback to gay slurs, jokes, and inuendo "politically correct censorship"

My thought is that some goober making sleezy and unseemly jokes about gay people is no better and certainly no more acceptable than assuming a young christian's lifestyle is fodder for sleezy and unseemly humor.

If you're going to ridicule someone over their sexuality and then call them overly sensitive when they react, don't whine, snivel, cry, and protest when something or someone you hold near and dear get the same treatment.

Don't cavalierly tell somebody else to get tougher skin when you can't take the heat yourself.

Or just accept the fact you're a hypocrite.

Pardog71
Pardog71

Where is Don Rickles when we need him?

Pardog71
Pardog71

If you cant laugh at gays, you cant laugh at anything. Lighten up people

yes
yes

Personally, I would not feel very comfortable being in the stands. Furtive homophobia indeed is still homophobia, so why are we defending it? Why is it the responsibility of the people who are offended to defend the reasons why they are being offended? If you don't understand why, how come the reaction is not to ask why, but to insist that we all just "lighten up" and stop policing each other over this "petty" business. Other readers have astutely pointed out that if they were bashing Christianity or white folk, everyone would be up in arms, but it's not the case. Christians and white folk are not the targets of the same type of systematic and institutionalized oppression LGBT folks face, so there's no 1:1 standard here. I agree, the jokes are juvenile and not very witty, but they represent a deeper sickness we suffer from. People should be prevented from making jokes, it just makes me wonder what they think is so hilarious about gay people that they insist on continuing to make them.

George
George

I think Ms. Asmar's commentary, and the show's response, are both very reasonable. To me this is about growing the f--- up.

Guest
Guest

Oh no, an Elton John joke related to his music! I better cover my ears from such rampant homophobia! And to think they included Lady Gaga jokes! Since apparently making fun of Lady Gaga instantly makes you a homophobe, since, ya' know, she is such a symbol of the "gay community". You basically list one or two actual off-color jokes, then throw in a bunch of unrelated stuff trying to make a weak point, other than you're a whiny, self-important wannabe watchdog for other people.

Mcpeachy
Mcpeachy

By the way, it was not one of the bullfighters who was involved in the discussions. Maybe the writer should apologize to the three bullfighters for the negative remarks toward them. It was the barrelman. Of course, I guess the writer finds it okay to generalize and mistake the indentify of the people involved. Guess the writer isn't senstive to the people the writer wants to take to task.

Steve
Steve

Don't like the material? Don't go back. Vote with your feet, not with a newspaper column. I'm fat and bald and I don't give a damn if they make fat, bald guy jokes. Get a life and grow a couple layers of epidermis, Melanie.

YumWoof
YumWoof

They would not allow jokes about people of a different color or nationallity so they should not allow them to make fun of gay people!

Although whats funny is if ya Hit up a Gay bathouse while the stockshow is in town you will see Alot of Brokeback "married" men there! LOL

Ttravers
Ttravers

@Jeff "All this PC crap has got to stop somewhere." What did you want to say before all this "PC crap" came along. Did you want to call people names based on their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. What is it that all this "PC crap" keeps you from doing?

I often find that the people who lament all this "PC crap" are just sad that they cannot continue to spew their racist, sexist, and homophobic words. So @Jeff, how is this "PC crap" holding you back?

Jeff
Jeff

This is way overblown. The comments were not THAT offensive. Grow a sense of humor please. All this PC crap has got to stop somewhere.

Phil
Phil

Jesus Christ. Get a sense of humor.

Opps, sorry if I offended anyone who is a Christian or without a sense of humor. That's the most important part of life - not offending anyone.

Mcsnarly33
Mcsnarly33

Thanks Westword. I think the article was a good read and I appreciate the addition of the update from the Stock Show Folks . I think what was said was inappropriate and offensive to even the not-so-sensitive made so by the fact it took place at a family event. I also believe that the Stock Show’s response was a perfectly adequate way to handle what was said.

I do agree that we have become too sensitive in this country, but I do think that people should expect to receive complaints when they spout slurs against a group’s sexual orientation, race or religion at a family event. If Speakers do not want the negative press, they should be mindful of what they say.

Riskpilot
Riskpilot

Get a life people . Most thought it was funny banter. I'm sick and tired of the PC thought police. Sin is still a sin !

Zoot
Zoot

Who cares! Crybaby Westword

Devan Jai
Devan Jai

Sounds like folks are desperate to find something wrong with the Stock Show to justify their own skewed and biased attitudes towards people they percieve as a threat. Always the groups crying oppression the most who are the haters. Get a life!

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden

It's amazing how sensitive and eager to play the victim role people have become in this country. These groups seem to think they are off limits. I suspect that people who cry wolf so easily certainly have no problems directing insults and hate towards other people. The author of this piece is just looking for something to offend her. I think it shows a much more relaxed attitude towards an issue if a person can joke about it then if they are so uptight they can't tolerate any taboo topics. There are plenty of people of all types at the stock show, so to paint them all as "this crowd" and "homophobes" like the geniuses below shows that they are no different then their imaginary enemies.

Live and let Live
Live and let Live

What do you expect from this crowd, it was only a few years ago that they were called to task for racial comments. How quickly we forget.

Now they find it cachet to disparage the gay community.

SteveCruz
SteveCruz

Oh no, the bastion of tolerance and inclusion — the Nat'l Western Stock Show — is tainted by these haters. I guess all the cowboys and cowgirls who crowd into Denver's gay clubs and run M2M and F2F ads (yep, it happens every year) will now have to be doubly scared.

Thank you homophobes for being so obsessed with all things gay: gay sex, gay movies, gay gay gay…

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Eric, really interesting post. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats, and thanks for reading.

yes
yes

People should not be prevented from making jokes***

Freedom of speech doesn't mean verbal diarrhea.

zeddy
zeddy

Don't like Westword opinion pieces? Don't read them!

zeddy
zeddy

Dang, I knew I should have gone!

Jeff
Jeff

Who said it was holding me back? Does it have to hold me back to irritate me? PC comments themselves contribute to stereotypes about gays and minorities.

Yes, there should be limits to political correctness. Yes it is possible to take PC too far. I think being expected to tiptoe around the possibility of offending someone *itself* creates a hostile environment.

Jeremy
Jeremy

I agree with you Jeff. 33 year old gay male here. People are way to thin skinned and politically correct these days. The jokes weren't funny but nothing to get all up in arms over. Wait, am I still allowed to say that? lol Also, I've never gotten how people expect all people of certain groups (gays, blacks, hispanics, etc.) to think alike and agree on everything and if you disagree you are somehow a traitor or self-hating.

David_in_Houston
David_in_Houston

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Phil -- and Jeff below -- are straight. Just a hunch. I find it funny that they seem to be the authority on all-things-offensive to gay people. I'd also bet that if the announcers made fun of Christians or black people, all hell would break loose.

I'm gay, and I don't find those jokes offensive. I'd describe them as inane and childish. Brokeback jokes in 2011? Really? That movie is 6 years old. Did they run out of Titanic jokes? Suffice to say, if I did attend that rodeo, I'd make an effort to never go again. That probably wasn't the announcer's intention.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Phil, strong take. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for reading and commenting.

hairybear69
hairybear69

Oh, Riskpilot, you sound like fun! Maybe we could meet up and have some of that sin you're talking about!

Anonymous
Anonymous

"It's amazing how sensitive and eager to play the victim role people have become in this country..."

Did you miss Saint Sarah of Waaaaaah-silly expertly plying that role last week?

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden

Oh yes "this crowd" must be racists as well since they are predominantly white. Thank you so much for reminding us "lest we forget". And to "disparage the gay community"...wow, you are a professional victim playing all the buzzwords.

Dan
Dan

Yeah, screw all this PC BS.

It's all fun and games until someone gets a bullet put through their forehead.

Ttravers
Ttravers

Yet you still don't answer. What hate filled thing did you want to say? If you are straight then please don't tell gay people when and how they should be offended. If you are then...how sad, yet another self-hating gay person.

Jeff
Jeff

Your guess would be wrong. (Surprise!)

Jeff
Jeff

Yeah, anyone who is gay and doesnt go along with the opinion of the "gay community" must be self-hating. Thats the only explanation. I mean, it cant possibly be because your opinion is wrong.

Jeff
Jeff

There is nothing to turn in. I never had a membership card since I dont define myself by my sexuality. And I dont recall expressing support for the Brokeback jokes or even saying they were funny...all I said was that the "outrage" was overblown. Its ok for you to laugh at people mocking virgins but not ok for other people to make gay jokes? Were virgins not "welcome" at the theaters where The 40 Year Old Virgin was playing?

David_in_Houston
David_in_Houston

Might be time to turn in your lifetime membership card and gay agenda handbook. Taking a stand to support Brokeback Mountain jokes is really kind of sad. I'm hardly PC -- I thought The 40 Year Old Virgin was hilarious. But the cliche garbage these announcers were spewing isn't worthy of a 5th grader. -- Clearly, gay people weren't welcome at the stock show.

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