As the first episode of MTV’s new reality series, The Real Friends of WeHo, aired over the weekend, it was met with a tide of negative reviews and a 1/10 rating on IMDb. The show, which follows six influential LGBTQ+ friends living in West Hollywood, has come under fire from the LGBTQ+ community for its lack of representation and for being a step backwards in terms of onscreen representation for the community.
The controversy surrounding the show began when it was announced that it would air in the same time slot as RuPaul’s Drag Race, resulting in shorter episodes of the beloved drag competition show. The Real Friends of WeHo’s stars Bard Goreski, Curtis Hamilton, Jaymes Vaughan, and Joey Zauzig have spoken out against the Drag Race outrage, but it was co-star Todrick Hall who received the most backlash for his response to the negative reviews.
In a lengthy handwritten letter uploaded to Instagram, Hall addressed the “insane influx of hate” he’d received and expressed frustration that pushback to the show was coming from the LGBTQ+ community. He wrote, “When our LGBTQ+ show was announced, you’d think any pushback would’ve come from the church or conservatives upset with three hours of queer programming. But a closer look would show you that the call was coming from inside the house.”
Fans have since shared their reasons for disliking the show online and called out Hall for blaming the queer community for critiquing the onscreen representation. One person wrote, “What Todrick Hall doesn’t understand, is Real Friends of WeHo isn’t LGBTQ+ at all. There’s not one lesbian or trans person on the cast. It’s just about a bunch of rich, classist, cis gay men. That does not speak to our community as a whole, so why are you upset we don’t support?”
It is not just the lack of representation that is causing upset among fans, but also Hall’s problematic past. For many years, the entertainer has been followed by allegations of not paying employees, lying, and behaving rudely towards fans. This, combined with his tone-deaf response to the backlash, has led many to call for a boycott of the show.
It is disappointing to see a show like The Real Friends of WeHo being hailed as a representation of the LGBTQ+ community when it fails to accurately depict the diversity of the community. As a society, we must strive for more inclusive and accurate representation of marginalized groups in media, and shows like this are a step in the wrong direction.