Jeff Schroeder’s bizarre defense of his anti-gay rant on Big Brother

In an exit interview published at the end of August that I completely missed, Jeff Schroeder offered a defense of his Harry Potter-inspired homophobic rant, and it’s only fair to let him defend his comments that were widely condemned, even by people who’d defended Jeff’s previous bigoted comments.

Jeff’s defense is confusing, but it appears to me to he says he wasn’t making comments about a gay person’s ability to be in charge of kids, but instead arguing that it’s impossible to send an actual child to Hogwarts because it’s not real–as if anyone would argue that it’s possible to send a kid to a fictional place.

This seems like total revisionist history, because although Jeff’s original comments weren’t exactly articulate, he did start the conversation by making a joke about molestation of a teenager by a gay male adult (“Hey, Harry, let me feel your balls”) and also said during that conversation, “I can see your PC view, but I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.” Political correctness has nothing to do, of course, with sending real children to fictional places, so Jeff probably knew what he was talking about.

The full transcript of Jeff’s comments seems pretty clear even though his sentences aren’t well-composed. For example, of Dumbledore, Jeff said, “He’s in a school of little kids; you don’t want make that guy gay,” and that’s because “I don’t think it’s the right thing to have a little kids’ book.”

In an interview with EW’s Dalton Ross conducted in late August after Jeff was evicted, Jeff was asked about his comments, and here’s what he said, in its entirety.

The question was asked in a podcast, so I transcribed the entire segment. Jef was first asked if he stood by his statements, which Dalton read back to him, in part. Jeff said:

“I cannot believe what you guys pull out of certain conversations. I went through this last time. If you want me to apologize for it right now, I’ll apologize for it.”

Dalton said he doesn’t want to force anything, but wants to give Jeff “a chance to clear the air.” Jeff replied,

“This thing always goes back time to last time I said a derogatory word–wasn’t derogatory, but I said it. I said you cannot send a 8-year-old kid to a fantasy camp that doesn’t exist with a gay headmaster or whatever you want, to another fantasy land. This wasn’t even a real place, it was a magical land that the headmaster was gay. And I said, ‘You cannot send your kid there.’ Then Kalia went on this whole thing, ‘Well, my sister is gay.’ Well, that has nothing to do with sending a kid to a magical land with a gay headmaster.

And um. This is ridiculous. I can’t believe this is happening.”

Dalton cites confusion over “the magic and the gayness” and said, “I’m just a little lost.” You and the rest of the world, my friend. Anyway, Jeff said,

“That doesn’t even exist. A magical land that doesn’t have to do with magic, it’s just a land that doesn’t exist. And I guess I was wrong. I shouldn’t have said that. I guess you could send your kid to a magical land with a gay headmaster or mistress or whatever it is. I guess you can send them there. I was speaking in a magical term; it wasn’t even reality. And, uh, I don’t know. I apologize for that comment.”

Dalton Ross asked Jeff to clarify, saying, in part, “it seemed like you had a problem with someone being gay being around children.” Jeff said,

“It wasn’t–it was the whole point of the thing. I felt like I was being cornered. And it’s one of those things where your answer doesn’t, your answer, you can’t answer it. you know what I mean? After I answered it, I kinda just stopped the whole conversation because it was a no-win situation. There are other topics that you cannot win. You know what I mean? If you bring up a topic and you’re on TV like that 24 hours and try to talk about it, there’s going to be people who people who agree with you and there’s going to be people who don’t agree with you.

I have no problem with gay people, whatsoever, again. I don’t know. I can’t believe that stuck; I totally forgot about it. But it was a made-up question about a fantasy land that doesn’t exist and I answered, whatever, incorrectly.”

Dalton Ross and his co-host joked about Dumbledore, and Jeff concludes his comments about this by saying,

“Even in Harry Potter land it was a fantasy camp. I don’t know. It was a made-up question and I guess I answered the magical question wrong.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.