CNN Celebrates Openly Gay 'Miss California' Contestant

CNN has proven itself to be in the tank for gay rights in the past, and a fawning Friday afternoon segment was no exception. CNN's Kareen Wynter aired a gushing portrait of an openly-gay beauty pageant contestant, emphasizing her mission to "make a statement" about her orientation.

"Mollie's on a mission to disprove painful stereotypes out there about gay women," Wynter hailed contestant Mollie Thomas. Wynter hyped her mission to help "others to be themselves" and also highlighted openly-gay actress Amber Heard.

"Heard, who co-starred with Johnny Depp in 'The Rum Diary,' is an inspiration to Mollie," Wynter explained. "The actress who was also named the face of Guess' fall fashion campaign went public with her sexual orientation in 2010."

In 2010, CNN's Soledad O'Brien aired a documentary about two gay men trying to have a biological child of their own, and nailed CNN's beliefs perfectly when she stated that "we don't go out and solicit opinions from those against gay parents." CNN has been repeatedly sympathetic to the GLBT movement in the past, and reluctant to publish opposing viewpoints on the matters of homosexuality and gay rights.

A relevant transcript of the segment, which aired on January 20 at 12:56 p.m. EST, is as follows:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Mollie Thomas is the first openly-gay woman to ever compete for the Miss California Beauty Pageant. Kareen Wynter talked to her about what motivated her to enter the competition.

(Video Clip)

(...)

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN correspondent (voice-over): In just three months, Mollie polished her look, studied up on pageants and joined the race for Miss California, USA. And along with 26-year-old Janelle Hutcherson became the first openly-gay women to compete in the 60-year history of the contest.

MOLLIE THOMAS, gay beauty pageant contestant: I wanted to put out a real person that someone could really say, I can relate to this girl.

WYNTER: Mollie's on a mission to disprove painful stereotypes out there about gay women, like we saw in "Miss Congeniality" when Sandra Bullock's pre-makeover looks and traits led to this question.

(...)

THOMAS: So many people have this image of what a lesbian is. And if you don't fit that, you can't possibly be gay. I grew up with the comment of, you're too pretty to be gay. There's no -- there is no such thing as too pretty to be gay.

WYNTER: So not for the cash or the crown, but to make her point. The 19-year-old student ran openly-gay in her first ever beauty pageant.

THOMAS: It's never been done before and anything new is always scary.

WYNTER: And Mollie tells "Showbiz Tonight" the risk was worth it.

THOMAS: I had my phone out all weekend because it was going nonstop and, just interviews and press and media.

WYNTER (on camera): Mollie just hopes her story inspires others to be themselves. And she admires women who are openly gay in the prime of their career. Women like movie star Amber Heard.

AMBER HEARD, actress, "The Rum Diary": I'm from Connecticut. My boyfriend's making a speech..

WYNTER (voice-over): Heard, who co-starred with Johnny Depp in the "Rum Diary," is an inspiration to Mollie. The actress who was also named the face of Guess' fall fashion campaign went public with her sexual orientation in 2010. She later told the gay pop culture website, After Ellen, "if you hide something, you're inadvertently admitting it's wrong. I don't feel like I'm wrong. I don't feel like millions of people are wrong because they love who they love or they were born how they were born."

Mollie says she's not interested in hiding either and the Miss Universe Organization, which running the Miss USA Pageant, was happy to have her center stage, telling "Showbiz Tonight," "the Miss Universe Organization embraces diversity and we look forward to the day when a woman's sexual orientation, religion or race is no longer newsworthy."

THOMAS: So I just finished my first pageant.

WYNTER: So, while Mollie didn't win the title of Miss California USA her first go-around, she tells "Showbiz Tonight" that she's going to run again next year.

THOMAS: I'm honored to be in the position that I am and to be able to speak up for what I really believe in.

WYNTER: Where she'll continue to wear a sash to make a statement.

 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014