U.K. Reality Stars Gay Bashed in Real Life - Although They’re Straight
Homophobic viewers of a U.K. reality show have begun to subject two men who appear in the most recent season of the program--apparently not realizing that the men are not, in fact, gay.
The confusion might be forgivable, even if the anti-gay harassment and violence the men, who live in Bristol, have suffered is not. A site dedicated to local news, thisisbristol.co.uk, reported on April 21 that the TV series, titled Coach Trip, often features couples competing against other couples during a bus trip to various European destinations. Each week, one couple is voted off the bus. The two men, Romane Hole and Nathan Evans, are both straight and are just friends, but they jokingly held hands when they boarded the bus at the start of the journey, which commenced in Athens.
"We had no idea how gay we were going to look by holding hands," said Evans. "Then all the way through the series, the [episodes] seem to have been edited to make us look as if we are a homosexual couple, rather than a pair of straight friends."
Though the men were on the bus through to the end of the current season, that also means that they are in every episode--and viewers see them, week to week. Some viewers not only have gotten the wrong idea about the men, but have allegedly acted in violently homophobic ways based on that impression.
"Ever since that first episode appeared on the television, we have suffered name-calling and constant verbal abuse in the streets--mostly from gangs of teenagers, who seem to think it’s funny to call us gay," said Hole, adding that, "at its worst, the abuse has included physical attacks. I had a bottle thrown at me as I was walking down Park Street last week, while the attackers shouted homophobic abuse at me."
Some gay men have also gotten the wrong idea. Said Hole, "The other side of the coin, is that we have also become sort of gay icons. I’ve been inundated by homosexual men who have contacted me via Facebook, to ask for casual sex and to make other indecent proposals."