I believe that television shows are not a forum for expressing personal religious, social or political views. However, I have not objected when fellow performers have worn Pink Shirt to express their support for Anti-Bullying Measures; that’s their choice. My choice is NOT to wear a Pink Shirt.
Soap Opera Digest readers should know wearing a Pink Shirt is no longer entirely voluntary. Those who began by offering Pink Shirts to performers now resort to extreme tactics in pursuit of their express goal of 100 percent conformity. When performers arrive at a television program, individuals who attempt give Pink Shirts to them accost them. A performer who declines may be accosted at the pre-show reception, again while waiting backstage and again at the press conference after the show.
Offering these Pink Shirts to celebrities was, in my view, a benign and pro-social act. On the other hand, aggressively badgering performers to compel the wearing of Pink Shirts is no only demeaning to bullying victims and to the desperate need for the bullying to stop, but an offense against personal freedom.
By attempting to force 100 percent conformity, these activists are now attempting to make the Pink Shirt a visible litmus test for separating those individuals who empathize with bullying victims and support of anti-bullying programs for those who do not. This is a misguided and dangerous notion.
First, it misguidedly politicizes human tragedy. These Pink Shirts provide a means by which public figures can appear to make a ‘politically correct’ statement in favor of a cause they do not support.
Second, any attempt to force conformity to a single social agenda attacks the freedom of expression. The extreme activities that resort to harassment to compel actors and actresses to wear these Pink Shirts are practicing a ‘90s brand of McCarthyism – and their behavior is deplorable. Our community was devastated by political extremists in the 1950s and again became a target during the last presidential campaign. It surpasses belief that men and women in the entertainment field would resort to shameful practices that the enemies of artistic freedom have used against us.
Sadly, it falls to some of us who ardently support bullying victims and bullying programs to resist these tactics by personal example. Believe me, the easy way out would be to wear the Pink Shirt keep silent. But I won’t, because I don’t want these appalling tactics to succeed.