During a panel discussion on Tuesday’s No Bias, No Bull program, Jane Velez-Mitchell, the Headline News anchor who replaced Glenn Beck after he switched over to the Fox News Channel, vehemently defended Perez Hilton’s crude remarks against Miss California USA Carrie Prejean. After TruTV’s Lisa Bloom blasted Hilton’s use of “the ‘B’ word and the ‘C’ word, that rhymes with ‘rich and runt,’” Velez-Mitchell replied, “Why is it that people should be very polite when they’re told that they’re second-class citizens?...If someone said to you...I don’t think you should have the right to get married, wouldn’t you be ticked off?”
The panel discussed the controversy between Prejean and Hilton, and besides Bloom and Velez-Mitchell, included CNN correspondents Erica Hill and Jessica Yellin, and anchor Roland Martin. Despite her criticism of Hilton, the TruTV anchor twice expressed her support for gay marriage. Velez-Mitchell herself is not an uninterested party on the wider issue of same-sex “marriage,” as she is an open lesbian who defended anti-Proposition 8 protesters during her Headline News program in November 2008: “I believe that gay marriage should be a right for all Americans. In other words, this should be ok across the country” [video available here; her remarks start 5:25 in].
The Headline News anchor came right out of the gate against Prejean at the beginning of the segment, after Martin asked, “If she had said she supported same-sex marriage, would there be a debate?” She replied, “Yeah. There would be people who are not in favor of same-sex marriage who would have been upset. I think the reason why she didn’t win is her answer was dumb. She referred to heterosexual marriage as opposite marriage, which is funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.”
Bloom then expressed her displeasure with Hilton: “I think Perez Hilton is the one who’s got egg on his face in this controversy after the misogynous language he used referring to her, the ‘B’ word and the ‘C’ word, that rhymes with ‘rich and runt’ ....I mean, he’s got a lot of nerve. I think he’s the one who should be apologizing. And by the way, I agree with him on gay marriage.” Velez-Mitchell answered back, “Why is it that people should be very polite when they’re told that they’re second-class citizens? Why should people sit there and be oh so very polite? If someone said to you, Roland, I don’t think you should have the right to get married, wouldn’t you be ticked off?”
Martin hinted that he agreed with Bloom: “Here’s the deal though. He makes this comment about her -- ‘C’ word, the ‘B’ word. What if she uses the ‘F’ word to him? Then what happens?...I mean, he’s been very rude with his comments.” He would later say Hilton’s use of the two crude terms was “not a smart move” and criticized the fact that he asked the question in the first place: “If you don’t want the answer, don’t ask the question.”
Though she didn’t defend Hilton directly, Yellin twice snarked against Prejean during the segment. Responding to the beauty queen’s remark on the Today Show that she was trying to be “biblically-correct” with her answer, the correspondent replied, “How can she be talking about biblically correct when she is prancing around in a teeny-weeny bikini?” Yellin also later criticized her answer to the marriage question: “She wants to be a spokesmodel, she should know enough not to make news, to avoid the sticky issue.”
Velez-Mitchell took criticism of the Prejean’s answer to another level. Earlier in the program, when Martin and Bloom seemed to brush aside the seriousness of an “intelligence component” to beauty pageants, the Headline News anchor bluntly replied, “I don’t think it’s just -- oh, it’s her opinion. What if she expressed a racist opinion or an anti-Semitic opinion or a sexist opinion? That would be okay? No. Your opinion isn’t always okay, especially when you want to be the winner of this kind of pageant.”
Near the end of the segment, Erica Hill took up Bloom’s argument against Hilton’s remark and added to it: “As we’re talking about Perez Hilton, one of the things that has come up, especially today, was his treatment of her afterwards. And the fact that if he is, in fact, trying to advance his cause and to gain support...for same-sex marriage, and to get people to understand hey, I’m just like you -- that going out and calling her a ‘B’ and a ‘C,’ and saying I take my apology back, may not be the best way to go about it.” Velez-Mitchell shot back, “The war to end slavery -- women didn’t get the right to vote by being polite. They got shamed. They were arrested, they were suffragettes. Getting polite doesn’t get you anywhere.”