Entertainment

MTV’s New Series ‘Ghosted’ Sparks Discussion About Consent In The Age Of Reality TV

MTV announced a new show called Ghosted: Love Gone Missing, a docuseries much like MTV’s Catfish, where contestants track down the romantic partners who up and ghosted them. If you’re a woman I am sure you’re thinking: this sounds creepy as hell. Yeah, it is. The reaction on social media was nothing short of wary. 

What woman hasn’t darted into a bodega to get away from a man following her? What woman doesn’t know that if she sees another girl in public uncomfortable around a man, that she ought to pretend to know that girl and scoop her away before things take a bad turn? And this isn’t even genuine stalking, it’s just regular street harassment. To be strategically watched and followed at all times by some creep — to be stalked — that’s an entirely new level of harassment.

 None of which should be glamourized or encouraged. However, MTV seems to feel differently.  

So what is “Ghosting”? 

In the digital age of dating apps, ghosting refers to the act of suddenly, and without explanation, cutting off all communication with a romantic partner. This kind of behavior isn’t new or shocking. When everyone you are dating only exists in your phone, you’re bound to be dating multiple people, and you’re bound to lose interest in some of them. 

It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time where people didn’t have portable phones. They would go to meet dates at restaurants and hope they didn’t get stood up. There was no way to reliably reach people, so your great grandparents probably got ghosted too. MTV is now broadening the definition beyond romance for their new reality series to family and friends. 

Why is MTV’s Ghosted: Love Gone Missing problematic?

Ghosted: Love Gone Missing is hosted by The Bachelorette veteran Rachel Lindsay and artist Travis Mills. The hosts will help contestants track down and confront the lovers, friends, and family members who abruptly cut off ties. The obvious problem here is that there is no way for the people, who clearly don’t want to be found, to consent to what essentially amounts to stalking. 

Tracking down someone who consciously made the decision to break away from an individual, seems like a huge violation of their privacy and wishes. The show assumes that the ghosted party is by default the victim, when in reality maybe people don’t want to see these folks for a reason. I’ve ghosted many creepy dudes and toxic people in my day. I don’t need them finding me and putting me on blast on television. 

Get the facts on stalking.

Stalking disproportionately affects women. In the United States, while 1 in 6 women (1 in 7 Latinx women) will deal with stalking in in her lifetime, only 1 in 19 men will, according to the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. About two-thirds of women are typically stalked by former or current romantic partners. Stalking is linked to other forms of intimate partner violence against women, with 81 percent experiencing physical assault, and 31% experiencing sexual assault. 

Even if this show is harmless, what if it triggers someone’s past negative experiences? 

People on social media were not happy with the premise.

One social media user equated the premise with stalking, harassment, and intimidation. It’s hard not to see why they feel this way. Unless the show is completely fake, the premise essentially requires a person’s privacy to be violated. 

If you get ghosted, maybe it’s time for you to move on.

Other users felt it is unfair for a person to be forced to engage with someone they clearly want nothing to do with. That totally makes sense. Would you want that toxic person randomly showing up at your house with cameras ready to air out your dirty laundry? Arguably, for someone to be a contestant on the show they would have to share a one-sided version of somebody else’s personal history without their consent. Would you want your toxic ex telling only their version of the story to millions of people? Would you want them tracking your movements to find you? Would you want to talk to them about it on national television? 

Things can easily go bad. 

It goes without saying that the United States has a gun problem, a toxic masculinity problem, and violence against women problem. If the series were to confront the wrong person, it could genuinely put lives in danger. While I am all for not judging art until I see it, I have to agree with these Twitter users: a bad idea is a bad idea. 

‘Love, Victor’ Is The Feel Good LGBTQ Vibe We Need Right Now And It’s Finally Available To Stream

Entertainment

‘Love, Victor’ Is The Feel Good LGBTQ Vibe We Need Right Now And It’s Finally Available To Stream

Love, Victor / Hulu

Even though shelter-in-place orders are slowly being lifted across the United States, should we really be going out with cases reaching record new levels? Thankfully, there are tons of new TV shows coming our way to keep us entertained.

Although we may be missing some of our longtime favorites because of production delays in Hollywood, the summer promises plenty of binge-worthy shows to tide us over. One of those TV shows I’m most excited about – and you should be too! – is Love, Victor.

Hulu’s Love, Victor is finally available for us to binge watch in all of it’s LGBTQ glory.

Love, Victor is the follow up to the successful gay romcom Love, Simon. However, unlike it’s predecessor, Love, Victor is a series, which means it’s literally bingeable. And with Love, Victor we get a young, Latino lead who is struggling to discover his sexuality and what that means for his friendships, relationships, and family.

This sequel offers a touching extension of that story, with a new teen — having transferred to the same high school — experiencing his own coming-out story. Diverted to Hulu from Disney+, it’s a well-crafted teen soap, with a winning cast.

Victor (Michael Cimino) — the oldest of three kids — has moved to Creekwood High in Georgia, which feels positively progressive compared to his hometown in Texas.

He makes contact with Simon (Nick Robinson) via email, using him as a sounding board as he comes to grips with who is — and more to the point, who he loves. Of course, Victor isn’t the only one with secrets, including issues pertaining to his parents responsible for the family’s relocation.

Coming from a less accepting background, Victor struggles with the prospect of being anything but straight and sharing that with his family, exacerbated by a visit from his bigoted grandpa, who is judgmental about Victor’s little brother playing with the wrong kind of toys.

Love, Victor is the highly-anticipated sequel to the film, Love, Simon.

Credit: Love, Victor / Hulu

2018’s Love, Simon was a milestone in young, queer representation on the big screen. But it was also overwhelmingly white and seemed made for a straight audience. Sure, its protagonist, Simon, struggled with his sexual identity, but he did so from inside thick layers of privilege that kept him safe. He was white, he lived in a fancy Atlanta suburb with his liberal, warm parents — he could and did easily pass for straight.

That’s why, though it was packaged as a chance for LGBTQ+ kids to finally see themselves on screen in a mainstream love story, the movie played it a little too safe for many queer viewers.

Enter: Love, Victor, where in the pilot’s opening minutes, the series espouses a mission statement that engages with the film’s limitations in a way that seems promising.

The series is now available (finally!) to stream on Hulu!

Every episode of Love, Victor is now available for streaming on Hulu. So if you’re looking for Latinx LGBTQ representation on TV, definitely tune in to Love, Victor.

The Long-Running Series ‘Cops’ Has Been Canceled Amid George Floyd Protests

Entertainment

The Long-Running Series ‘Cops’ Has Been Canceled Amid George Floyd Protests

Paramount Pictures

It’s over bad boys.

“Cops” the long-running series that premiered on Fox in 1989 has come to an end. Paramount Network, which took up the series six-years ago was dropped from the network last week in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

According to Deadline, the series will not be returning.

Last month’s death of George Floyd has catalyzed a movement in recent weeks setting off hundreds of protests and efforts to change racial injustice across the country and globe.

“Cops,” which was meant to premiere its 33rd season earlier this week, was wiped from broadcasting on June 1. According to the New York Times, the decision was long in the making. In 2013 the civil rights group Color of Change began to campaign against the show and urge Fox to renew the unscripted law-enforcement show. The group called on advertisers to withdraw support after the show’s producers and the advertisers “built a profit model around distorted and dehumanizing portrayals of black Americans and the criminal justice system.”

The group underlined that the unscripted series “offers a highly filtered version of crime and the criminal justice system — a ‘reality’ where the police are always competent, crime-solving heroes, and where the bad boys always get caught.”

At the time, Fox removed the series from its prime-time lineup. But it proved to be a small and very brief victory, Spike TV picked up the show that May and six years ago it was picked up by Paramount.

According to a report by Broadcasting & Cable in 2005, most police departments screened video from the series before they were broadcast to use as a recruiting tool.

The network’s decision to remove the series from its slots is being applauded by Color of Change and other organizations against the show’s content and messages.

“This is the right move and I want to give Paramount credit for being one of the first,” Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color of Change told New York Times. “We want to see more. These cop reality shows that glorify police but will never show the deep level of police violence are not reality, they are P.R. arms for law enforcement. Law enforcement doesn’t need P.R. They need accountability in this country.”

The decision to remove the series from its slots is a pretty big move for Paramount considering it has provided “subpar if stable ratings.” According to Nielsen data, the show had about 470,000 total viewers per episode in mid-May.

Fortunately, it seems Paramount isn’t the only one shutting down glorification of the police. On June 5, A&E removed last weekend’s episodes of its hit docuseries Live PD. According to the New York Times, the network is still assessing when or if to bring the series back.