Update on June 14 at 10:44am: Following statements from Carmen Carrera, her supporters, TIMA and GLAAD, TLC has pulled the episode from airwaves. TLC confirmed to GLAAD that they immediately removed the episode from rotation after learning of Carrera and her supporters' concerns, and are reviewing the content to see whether it could be reintroduced following edits. Repeats of the episode scheduled to air on June 12 also did not run.
Last night's episode of TLC's reality television show "Cake Boss" featured transgender star Carmen Carrera in what she thought would be a positive moment of visibility for the trans community.
But after being part of what is being termed a transphobic prank, the show's producers are facing outrage and a petition demanding that the transgender community receive an apology.
Carrera, best known for appearing on the third season of "RuPaul's Drag Race," has been a strong advocate for transgender rights since she came out as transgender on an episode of ABC's "What Would You Do" earlier this year.
When she agreed to appear on "Cake Boss," she did so "to promote EQUALITY" and show "transgender women are just as beautiful as biological woman and should be respected for that," she wrote on her Facebook fan page.
Instead, she claims she encountered something very different, recapped here by The Hoboken Patch:
We see Cousin Anthony talking to a woman named Carmen, who's wearing a short and tight blue dress and large hoop earrings... Anthony flirts with Carmen. They pose for photos together. He asks for her phone number. “Anthony right now is on top of the world,” Buddy says. “He don't know what's comin' baby.”
“I call him over," Buddy continues. “And I tell him...that's a man, baby!”
Cousin Anthony freaks out. He literally runs out of the bar. “Carmen loved the fact that they thought she was attractive,” Buddy says. “I could tell by the look in his (Cousin Anthony's) eyes that I changed his life forever.”
Unsurprisingly, Carmen didn't find the joke very amusing. Following last night's episode, she took to Facebook to voice her disappointment and disgust with the show:
Im so upset right now, I cant stop crying. My heart truly hurts. I need people to understand that I KNOW I was born male and not ashamed of it. I wouldn't of cared if they said I was born male or USED TO BE male. By calling me a 'MAN' promotes ignorance and makes it ok to call transgender women, men. PEOPLE GET BULLIED, BEAT UP, AND KILLED FOR BEING TRANS BECAUSE OF THIS IGNORANCE! There was a time it was like that for gay people, even for some ethnic groups. Its not ok to call a gay person a fag, its not ok to call a spanish person a spic, its not ok to call a black person a nigger. THIS IS THE SAME TYPE OF THING. I made it VERY clear to the producers on how to use the correct wording before agreeing to filming this but instead they chose to poke fun and be disrespectful. Thats not what Im about! Please voice your opinion.
In another post she added:
Im really trying to be a positive role model for trans people and it upsets me that after I SPECIFICALLY asked the producers of "Cake Boss" NOT to disrespect me or trans people. Before I agreed to do this show, I was assured and then reassured that it wasn't going to be like the JERRY SPRINGER show or MAURY. Let me make this clear. CALLING A TRANSGENDER WOMAN A MAN IS WRONG. Period. Its degrading, its rude, and its very hurtful. I may not have been born a woman, but im NOT a man. I told them I would mind if they said "born male" or "was a male". After taking this journey its not fair at all to be lied to by the producers. PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG. EDUCATE AND PROMOTE EQUALITY AND RESPECT!!!!!!!
To make matters worse, on Twitter Cousin Anthony responded to someone who wrote, "Dude, you made out with a dude," with the following tweet in which he refers to Carrera as "it" (the tweet has been erased from the social media site):
In the wake of the episode, Internet supporters have expressed outrage on the "Cake Boss" Facebook page and Twitter, and have created the aforementioned petition on Change.org, demanding that TLC's "Cake Boss" "publicly apologize to the transgendered community."
The Huffington Post reached out to TLC and Buddy for comment and received the following statement which has also been posted to the "Cake Boss" Facebook page:
"I've been trying to connect with Carmen and apologize to her directly, but also think I owe an apology to the entire LGBT community. It was absolutely not my intention to upset or offend her, or anyone within the community, and I was wrong to use the words I did. I am a supporter of gay rights and equality, and while I regret this situation and my choice of words, I am thankful to have received this feedback and the opportunity to learn from this mistake. I hope that Carmen accepts my sincere regrets."
Many were surprised by the incident as in the past "Cake Boss" has appeared supportive of the LGBT community, including making cakes for same-sex couples.