One of Discovery Channel’s biggest stars is Homestead Rescue’s Marty Raney, who got his reality TV start on Ultimate Survival Alaska. He’s now starring in a new spin-off, Homestead Rescue: Raney Ranch.
Long before he was on reality TV, he wrote and sang an anti-gay, homophobic song on a 1997 album that he continued to promote, including in connection with his Discovery Channel show, and that’s still available now, more than six weeks after the network and production company pathetically attempted to distance themselves from it without actually doing anything.
The album, Strummit from the Summit, is available on Spotify and YouTube, and its last track is titled “Adam & Steve,” which has lyrics including “I don’t believe in Adam and Steve” and “since the ’90s, we say, Is that a him or a her-maphrodite?“. (The full lyrics are below.)
More than a month ago, Deadline reported on the song’s existence, and reported that “it was removed from the music-streaming services this week after Deadline approached Discovery, Raney and the producers for comment.”
Update: The song was removed from YouTube and YouTube Music after this story was published. Earlier: But the song remains on the world’s most popular video platform, YouTube, and on YouTube Music. It has been removed from Amazon, Apple Music, and Google Play. While it’s not searchable on Spotify, it’s still there.
While the album is 23 years old—and certainly, societal attitudes toward gay and trans people have changed since then—Marty has mentioned the album several times in the past few years, including in a 2017 Facebook post promoting a new episode of the show.
More importantly, Marty Raney has not yet said anything that would suggest his own feelings or beliefs are different today than what he wrote in the song back then. If he’s now embarrassed by the song’s contents, why not just say that?
Raney didn’t reply to Deadline’s request for comment. All3Media America, which now produces Homestead Rescue, told Deadline, “We were not aware of this song and absolutely do not share the views and sentiments that are expressed.” And Discovery refused to say anything more than this: “This song which was written over 20 years ago does not reflect the show or the values of the network in any way.”
Discovery, of course, is the network whose strong values led them to put a convicted rapist at the center of this year’s Shark Week. I wouldn’t expect or want them to cancel a show over a 23-year-old song, and one song does not indicate a pattern of behavior.
But the song’s lyrics are so vile that I would expect them to maybe stand up for what they say they believe in by doing more publicly than releasing a dismissive sentence that sidesteps the actual content of the song. By trying not to offend their viewers, they’re sending a message that this kind of hateful message is just fine with them, since it’s not like they played the song on the TV show.
I’ve interviewed Marty Raney in the past, and have also reported on the show, which I’ve enjoyed. I’ve not seen every episode, but in those that I have, I’ve never seen Marty—or his co-stars, his children Misty and Matt—say anything homophobic or transphobic. I also don’t remember ever seeing an out gay person on the show, and certainly not a same-sex couple.
But the song certainly has emboldened homophobic people, and given them affirmation for their bigotry. One YouTube commenter wrote, “For a 25 year old song it still rings true for me.” Another wrote, “we are forced in seeing gay day everywhere, at the amusement parks, towns shut down for because they don’t want to be labeled as anti so they surrender to it.” Another acted as if being gay or straight was a choice: “If i choose to be gay and talk about it, i am ok in ‘modern’ society. But if i choose to not be gay and voice it like Marty did here, now i am a hater, prejudiced and homophobic. Huh.” (And just to be clear, YouTube commenter: yes, yes you are.)
The song contains several references to gay people being unable to be parents; mocks the idea of people coming out of the closet; and has at least two references to trans people, using offensive terms.
The song, which is titled “Adam & Steve,” also suggests straight people such as Marty creating their own “straight pride” parade, though it doesn’t use that exact phrase: “Maybe we should march in our own parade/And march with women by our sides/Chanting, Women make much better brides/And then do something they can’t do/Hold up our children as our proof.”
Of course, the reason there are gay pride parades is because straight people have oppressed gay people. And if children are proof of heterosexuality, what does that mean for infertile straight couples?
The chorus’s lyrics attempt erase gay people: “I don’t believe in Adam and Steve,” Marty sings. And while not believing in LGBTQIA people won’t make them disappear, it does dehumanize them, leading to behavior and policies that cause actual harm.
Here are the lyrics, which I transcribed from the version on YouTube:
(Chorus) I believe in Adam and Eve
I don’t believe in Adam and Steve
I believe in mom and dad
I don’t believe in dad and Brad
I believe and she and me
I don’t believe in me and he
I believe in boy meets girl
I don’t believe boy meets Merl
And I can’t see myself coming home at 6:30
Saying Vern what’s for dinner
And you sure look purdy
Then we’re off to The Nutcracker
His hand’s in mine
And you can come too if you’re Calvin ‘n Klein
Some would say have an open mind
Some would say it takes all kinds
Some would say to each his own
But I always say testosterone
I’d never thought I’d apologize
But I like girls instead of guys
So forgive me please as I now say
I like girls but I was born that way
Whatever happened to the American dream
When we treat a lady not a guy as a queen
Now Webster is tossed onto waves without sail
Because it’s not an oxymoron when you say she-male
I’m an unsung hetero, but then again
Only in circles where men are men
But that circle gets smaller—yes—every day
Hey, maybe we should march in our own parade
And march with women by our sides
Chanting, Women make much better brides
And then do something they can’t do
Hold up our children as our proof
We used to say is that a him or a her
But since the ’90s, we say, Is that a him or a her-maphrodite
And now it’s a fine time to come out of the closet
Walk right into the prime-time as the whole world applauds it