A Londoner in New York Part 4: The Racist Freak Show

It’s been a funny old week. On Monday, myself and trusty fellow skiver Alice bunked off work to watch a live taping of The Jerry Springer Show, travelling across the States to Connecticut in order to join the jobless of America for an afternoon of harmless fun. Or so I thought. After we’d queued up in the cold for several hours, we were allowed into the lobby of NBC’s studios, and told to wait in one room. The time spent in line had given rise to some serious hunger pangs, so we asked if we were allowed to cross over into the forbidden other room which had the much in demand vending machine. The staff okayed this, but said we had to return to our designated area afterwards because of potential ‘fire hazards.’ So far, so normal enough.

After we returned to our room, Alice pointed out that everyone where we were sat was white, whereas those in the room with the vending machine were all black. I shrugged this off at first, thinking it could be coincidental, as surely a major television network wouldn’t exhibit such a blatant act of racism. But there was clearly no coincidence about it, as when we were finally let into the studio, all of the white people were told to sit in the front rows and middle block of the tiered seating, while the black people stood queuing at the door before being directed to the lesser seating on the sides. I sat there in shock for a while, wondering how on earth such explicit racial segregation was allowed to happen. My malaise quickly intensified as the recording began, as the producers ordered us to shout “WE LOVE LESBIANS!” at random intervals, applaud wildly every time Jerry made some vile comment about his vast earnings and offer a standing ovation whenever the show’s guests, who were clearly actors, started fighting each other.

The whole experience was atrocious, and as I sat there vehemently willing it to end, I did ponder how this kind of televised freak show was allowed to occur in 2012. I have never actually watched a full episode of the show, only five minutes here or there, so perhaps it was naïve of me to think that it would be a silly and light hearted affair. But one that provided an affront to race, gender and sexuality was not something I had accounted for.

Still perturbed by what I had seen, I emailed the show the next day, asking why they had done what they did. Needless to say, I didn’t get a response, but I honestly am still shocked by what went down that day. No one deserves to be treated like a second class citizen, least of all by supercilious cunts with clipboards, and I can only hope that now they know they’ve been found out, they’ll keep their foul racial prejudices under wraps.

In less depressing news, work has been rather more interesting this week, the highlight of which was probably a charity benefit at The Plaza. In between befriending Manhattan socialites with ridiculous names, I met Bow Wow, Nick Cannon and Swizz Beats, all of whom were supporting the Children’s Rights Foundation, celebrating its seventh year. As you can imagine, an event in the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza was pretty fancypants, so I turned up looking my usual dishevelled self with frizzy rain hair and holey flat shoes. I just like keeping it classy, okay?

The evening was small talk a-go-go as these events always are, but I did get invites to a few more things, one of which is a charity event with Demi Moore this week  and a pro-Obama vegan cupcake party. The latter of these things particularly tickled me, as I was trying to think of the British equivalent. A Sunday roast party for Ed Miliband?! Somehow, I don’t think it would take off in quite the same way. I’m also going to some kind of Cointreau party hosted by burlesque lady Dita von Teese and interviewing her in the next few days, so there are definitely some good things in store for the coming week. Until next time…

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One thought on “A Londoner in New York Part 4: The Racist Freak Show

  1. Just want to say I truly enjoy reading your blog especially on the travel diary and the horrifying experience in Istanbul I was there few years back and lost all my travel money on DAY 1! So can imagine 🙂 Anyway, I believe you are a very witty person as can be seen from your writings, don’t loose that, ever 🙂 All the best.

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