Buddy Valastro, Cousin Anthony apologize for reaction to transgender person on Cake Boss

Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro and his co-star Anthony Bellifemine, aka Cousin Anthony, have apologized to RuPaul’s Drag Race finalist Carmen Carrera for their comments on Monday’s episode of his TLC series about the transgender person.

During the episode, Anthony flirted with Carmen before Buddy revealed that Carmen was born male, an awkward joke/prank that Carmen was in on. The Daily Beast’s Maria Elena Fernandez breaks down the whole incident and reaction, which included Buddy saying during an interview, “Anthony right now is on top of the world. You don’t know what’s coming baby! I call him over because it’s time to bring him back down to Chinatown. I tell him, ‘That’s a man, baby!’”

On Facebook, Carmen wrote, “I was lied to. I dont promote misleading someone or putting down the trans community. I am a beautiful transgendered woman and if a guy hits on me at a bar, ITS OK! That was the message.” In an earlier post, she wrote, “Im so upset right now, I cant stop crying. My heart truly hurts. I need people to understand that I KNOW I was born male and not ashamed of it. … I made it VERY clear to the producers on how to use the correct wording before agreeing to filming this but instead they chose to poke fun and be disrespectful.”

Although Buddy’s comment not exactly sensitive, and I understand her points about the inappropriate language that was used, I’m not quite clear on how exactly this prank could have ended well. The whole point of the punchline seems to have been to embarrass a straight man by revealing he’s been flirting with a female who was born male. How could that have possibly promoted acceptance and understanding?

That said, Cousin Anthony’s response was ignorant and stupid: He called Carmen “it” on Twitter. He has since deleted that tweet and apologized, writing, “I appologize for my ignorance. @carmen_carrera is a beautiful woman & i respect her greatly. no harm intended. My apologies.” Buddy similarly apologized via a statement from TLC:

“It was absolutely not my intention to upset or offend her, or anyone within the community, and I was wrong to use the words I did. I am a supporter of gay rights and equality, and while I regret this situation and my choice of words, I am thankful to have received this feedback and the opportunity to learn from this mistake. I hope that Carmen accepts my sincere regrets.”

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.