During the April 19 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly hosted a segment attacking this week's episode of Glee for featuring a storyline about a transgender teenager struggling with her gender identity. O'Reilly was joined by Fox & Friends' Gretchen Carlson and Judge Jeanine Pirro.
Throughout the segment, O'Reilly and Carlson criticized Glee for encouraging “dopey kids” to experiment with homosexuality and possibly identify as transgender, comparing LGBT youth to smokers and “drug-fueled” celebrities:
O'REILLY: Here's the problem with a show like this, though. If you make the behavior of these people ... if children hear it, unsupervised children, okay who don't have parents watching their -- they might go out and experiment with this stuff.
PIRRO: Do you really think that this is the kind of thing that's contagious?
O'REILLY: I don't know.
PIRRO: That if kids see this, that they're going to say 'gee, I want to be a girl even though I'm not going to wear my mom's high heels tonight.'
O'REILLY: When I was a teenager and I saw James Dean smoking, it made me want to smoke.
CARLSON: I don't think that watching Glee is going to suddenly make kids want to be transgender or suddenly make them wake up one morning and say that they're going to be -
OREILLY: Experimentation. Experimentation.
CARLSON: But experimentation. I'm with you on this Bill because I wholeheartedly believe, in today's society, that kids are experimenting with homosexuality. We see it in celebrities who maybe just do it on the side, and it may be drug-fueled.
O'REILLY: If you make it glamorous in a program like Glee, which is undeniably a good program... a lot of these dopey kids are confused about who they are. They're confused.
PIRRO: Yeah, but you know what Bill, that's one of the things you can't change about yourself because you think it's interesting or it's new.
O'REILLY: But do you want to encourage experimentation in these areas?
CARLSON: Why do we have rules for anything then Bill?
PIRRO: We all parent our kids but you can't parent their sexuality. You're saying they have a choice in it.
CARLSON: No I'm not saying this is suddenly going to turn somebody gay, but I totally agree with Bill that this causes kids to experiment. And if we didn't- why do we have any rules in society then if we don't try and set some parameters for our children to live their lives? I just think that this is way over the top. [emphasis added]
O'Reilly and Carlson's fear-mongering is reminiscent of last years Fox News meltdown over Chaz Bono's appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Back then, medical professionals widely condemned the idea that transgender people on television could cause kids to identify as transgender.
John Oldham, president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), stated that there was "no evidence" that television shows could induce Gender Identity Disorder in young people. Dr. John Grohol, editor-in-chief of PsychCentral, agreed, writing that there isn't a "shred of scientific evidence to support such a ridiculous premise."