LOS ANGELES (CNN) — ABC’s “Bachelor” Juan Pablo Galavis says he did not intend to slur homosexuals by saying they are “more pervert.”
The Venezuelan former soccer star blames his lack of English vocabulary for the misunderstanding when he was trying to explain why a gay or bisexual man should not be cast as a bachelor on the reality competition.
Galavis, in an apology posted on his Facebook page Saturday, said he meant to say that gay and bisexuals are too “affectionate and intense” for television.
TheTV network called his comments “careless, thoughtless and insensitive,” saying the opinions “in no way reflect the views of the network, the show’s producers or studio.”
Galavis made the comments in response to TheTVPage.com writer Sean Daly’s question at a network party: “Do you think it would be good at some point to have a gay or bisexual bachelor?”
He began by saying “I respect them, but honestly I don’t think it’s a good example for kids to watch that on TV.”
“I respect that 100%,” he said, before launching into a rambling response about how “now there’s fathers having kids and all that, and it is hard for me to understand that, too, in the sense of a household having peoples. Two parents sleeping in the same bed and the kid going into bed, and you know it’s confusing in a sense. But I respect them because they want to have kids. They want to be parents. So it is a scale. Where do you put it on the scale? Where’s the thin line to cross or not? You have to respect everybody’s desires, opinions and way of living. But it would be too hard for TV.”
But the comment that caused the most uproar was: “There’s this thing about gay people. It seems to me, you know, and I don’t know if I’m mistaken or not. I have a lot of friends like that, but they’re more pervert in a sense and to me the show will be too strong, too hard to watch on TV.”
In his apology “to all the people I may have offended,” Galavis said he “would never disrespect anyone” and he has “nothing but respect for gay people and their families.” In fact, he said, “one of my closest friends” who is gay is “like a brother.”
“The word pervert was not what I meant to say and I am very sorry about it,” he said. “Everyone knows English is my second language and my vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish and, because of this, sometimes I use the wrong words to express myself. What I meant to say was that gay people are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience this would be too racy to accept.”
His own show is “very racy” and he does not allow his 5-year-old daughter to watch, he said.
GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) announced that Galavis will meet with gay and lesbian Latino families this week in Los Angeles.
Monica Trasandes, GLAAD’s director of Spanish language and Latino media and a lesbian mom, who will attend the meeting, said she hopes this will be an opportunity for “Bachelor” fans to learn more about gay families.
“At a time when Latino support for gay and lesbian people and our families is growing, we look forward to continuing the conversation with Juan Pablo and working with him to help educate his fans about who gay and lesbian parents are,” she said. “Study after study shows that young people raised by gay parents are as happy and healthy as other young people.”
CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.