|Rocket Science Laboratories|
Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay was a two-hour FOX special where two very straight men tried to convince everyone they know that they are actually gay in order to win a cash prize of $50,000. The show was pulled at the last minute before it went on the air.
Two straight guys move to West Hollywood and immerse themselves in the "gay lifestyle" and try to convince their peers that they are actually "gay" in order to win $50,000 prize based on their ability to pass as gay for a week, including convincing their friends and family.
At its conclusion, the two would be judged by a panel of gay men, including Jared Sullivan, who had been told one of them is gay. The contestant selected by the panel as gay would win the money.
The show drew the condemnation of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which called the special "an exercise in systematic humiliation" Among the objectionable content, GLAAD noted the contestants' description of their experience as "their worst nightmare" and being "trapped in gay hell". One contestant had to tell a former wrestling teammate that his participation in the sport was based on his desire for "close contact with sweaty boys" and later had to trick an unsuspecting gay man on a blind date with him to agree to a second date. GLAAD scheduled a meeting with the network to discuss its concerns.
On May 26, within hours of setting up the meetings, Fox announced that the special had been pulled from the schedule. Fox publicly attributed the decision to "creative issues", but an anonymous source inside Fox said that GLAAD's intervention was welcomed following the failure of the network's earlier gay-themed reality program Playing it Straight.
In addition to the program content, Fox also received criticism for its promotional material, including describing the gay judges as a "jury of the queers". The network later apologized for its "failed attempt at humor" that was "ill-chosen and inappropriate".
Several of the gay men involved with the production of the special sharply criticized GLAAD for its response to the special. "It's unfortunate that a group as well-intentioned as GLAAD is going to set themselves up to censors and judge what other people should be allowed to air or see. Our primary purpose was to be funny. but if people actually got to see the show, they would probably be more tolerant of gay people in the future", said creative consultant Christian McLaughlin, Executive Producer Ray Giuliani concurred saying "I am gay, I have a boyfriend, I live in West Hollywood, I have gay friends. The idea that I would do something I would consider homophobic is crazy. [The contestants] walked away learning something about what it feels like to be a gay man in the middle of a straight world". Jackie Beat, a drag performer who appeared on the series in his male identity as a "mantor" (adviser) to the contestants said "GLAAD should have no problem with the show because gay people do not come across negatively in any way. What they don't see is that it's obviously poking fun at other straight dudes". One of those "straight dudes", Larry Anderson, who was at the time of filming a 28-year-old salesman from Massachusetts, credited the special with helping him conquer his own homophobia and believed it would have shown that stereotypes about gay men are not accurate.
On August 30, 2005, the special was one of several programs cited in a class-action lawsuit filed by the Writers Guild of America seeking to force the television industry to recognize television writers, editors and producers as a collective bargaining unit. The suit, Shiver v. Rocket Science Laboratories was settled in 2009 for $2.57 million.