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Posted at 8:50 AM ET, 10/21/2010

After 'Glee' GQ photos cause controversy, cast member responds

By Lisa de Moraes

[This story has been updated with a statement from actress Dianna Agron.]

Seven months after singing live for the kiddies at the White House Easter Egg Roll, some of the cast members of Fox's "Glee" have donned Pout-by-Victoria's Secret bras, American Apparel panties and, weirdly, Christian Louboutin pumps for a photo spread in the November issue of GQ.


The "Glee" kids landed in a controversy with GQ's November issue. (Terry Richardson/GQ)

Fox, its high school musical "Glee," self-appointed TV watchdog group the Parents Television Council and GQ each hit the publicity mother lode Wednesday when the photos somehow leaked (GQ had planned to release them later in the week, in what we're sure would have been an unquestionably dignified fashion) and PTC lept to action.

The photo gallery destined for GQ's November issue (on newsstands Oct. 26!) shows "Glee" cast members Lea Michele and Dianna Agron prancing about what GQ tells us is Hollywood High School in their undies and a few scraps of clothing they're having one heck of a time keeping on. See them cling to shreds of clothes while straddling benches in the locker room, straddling "Glee" hunk Cory Monteith, licking lollipops in ways Mommy didn't teach them, while checking out books in the school library. Whatever happened to hall monitors?

"How the hell did a show about high school theater geeks come to be the biggest TV show in America?" GQ faux-wonders in the intro to the photo shoot and, we're sure, decidedly less revealing interview with the three cast members.

(In the interest of accuracy, "Glee" is not the biggest TV show in America. ABC's Monday "Dancing With the Stars" performance show is the biggest show in America. We're sure GQ will want to correct that.)

For its part, Parents Television Council got untold amounts of free publicity on Wednesday from The Reporters Trolling for Hot TV Stories With Great Art Elements to Slap on Their Blogs, when the professional tsk-tskers e-mailed their outrage toward the show's producers for having agreed to the "hyper-sexualized GQ photo shoot."

Among PTC's complaints, it says the photo shoot "borders on pedophilia."

"Many children who flocked to 'High School Musical' have grown into 'Glee' fans," PTC President Tim Winter bemoaned in his organization's missive. "They are now being treated to seductive, in-your-face poses of the underwear-clad female characters posing in front of school lockers, one of them opting for a full-frontal crotch shot. By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions on the show's direction. And it isn't good for families."

Over at GQ, Editor in Chief Jim Nelson took a break from dancing the Happy Dance on Wednesday to issue a statement of his own:

"The Parents Television Council must not be watching much TV these days and should learn to divide reality from fantasy. . . . As often happens in Hollywood, these 'kids' are in their twenties. Cory Monteith is almost 30! I think they're old enough to do what they want."

I ask you: Do we need yet another illustration as to why no good can come of having thespians who are staring at "3-0" playing teens on TV shows?

"Glee" is on something of a tear this season, averaging more than 13 million viewers; during the same weeks last year, it averaged only 8.7 million viewers. And yet, Fox primly declined to comment about the sexy GQ "Glee" shoot and story. Ditto "Glee" exec producers. Sigh.

(Update: Agron, who is apparently made of less timid stuff than either the network or the producers, put an apologetic-yet-somehow-defiant statement on her blog:

"In the land of Madonna, Britney, Miley, Gossip Girl, other public figures and shows that have pushed the envelope and challenged the levels of comfort in their viewers and fans...we are not the first. Now, in perpetuating the type of images that evoke these kind of emotions, I am sorry. If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention. And if your eight-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?...Nobody is perfect, and these photos do not represent who I am.")

PTC, on the other hand, was just brimming with comments:

"With a demonstrated market of eager fans for an entertaining, musical-themed program like 'Glee,' we wonder why the show's creators feel the need for such graphic sexualization of women," Winter said.

He added: "Interestingly, the photos of the male character showed him wearing a shirt, tie and vest."

Read more TV Column Glee coverage here.

By Lisa de Moraes  | October 21, 2010; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  Glee  
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Comments

My angel is a centerfold??? I'll never be able to look at high school girls the same way.

Posted by: JoStalin | October 21, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Who gives a rat's patootie.

Posted by: folder9633 | October 21, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I hope this doesn't send PTC into a hissy fit, but Lea Michael has appeared topless in a Broadway production.

Posted by: buffysummers | October 21, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Um, to the folks at PTC, GQ is a magazine targeted at heterosexual men. Yes, the women in their photo spreads are going to be more sexualized than the men.

Posted by: jrzwrld | October 21, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that a secondary difference in how Cory Monteith is dressed compared to the women has to do with the selling subtext of the piece -- note that every page lists source and price for every item of clothing. GQ is made for men. What do men like to buy for women -- lingerie (rugby shirts...not so much). How much effort do those same men put into choosing their own undergarments, compared to finding the right jeans jacket?

Posted by: kidvidkid | October 21, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Contradiction:kiddies @ the White House Easter Egg Roll are not getting this issue of GQ and if they are then their "parents" think the contents are ok for their kiddies viewing. High school issues are what the show deals with realistically and the characters are not trying to be roll models. Its up to our parents to influence us. We should not let professionally done photographs dictate this influence. And again, if a "kiddie" has a copy of this GQ issue then the parents are aware of it and its contents and if the parent are not then its not "Glee's" fault or Gq. Do you think the dnacing, signing, and acting was something these actors just did on a whim? It took time and lots of commiment to get to the professional level that almost all of the actors on Glee have reached. The actors of Glee show me what focus and smart/hard work does for ones self. They are living life to its fullest. Glee is art and at the same time it can/does expose the reality most students in schools face everyday. Then the grown up actors/actresses did professionaly done photos for a grown up magazine. They are acting with thoughtfull/realistic scripts on the show Glee 1st and then other professionals are interrupting what they think Glee means with photos or other media outlets.

Posted by: pbrewer2 | October 21, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the show is for kids either. There are very few shows out there for kids and teens to watch that aren't a little perverted. My 10 yr old daughter begged to watch Glee because when she with other family members she is allowed to watch it. I understand that a parent is supposed to parent but there are times when a parent has no control over what their children are exposed to and when you set the ground rules with other adults they are with. Most adults I encounter have no respect for your wishes in regards to your children. GQ is on public stands for you children to look through at many stores. Even at book stores. For me the bottom line is when is too much sex in tv shows and movies too much? I don't even enjoy tv with my kids any more because most story lines are muddled with so much sex. My daughter said to me this morning, "Mom I thought those actors were playing teens. I thought that show was supposed to be okay for kids. Why would they do that...I mean what do they represent and why not just not expose their bodies like that? I don't want to see them naked. I just want to watch a fun show. It's like they want kids to do adult things and see adult stuff. Do I have to do that stuff now? I mean...I'm only ten but I feel like I should show my crotch and take my clothes off to fit in as a pretty girl. Is that what I'm supposed to do? I don't look or read stuff you say are for adults but when I'm at school or with a friend some times I see things in regular magazines or just on regular tv. I feel upset and I don't know why or what to do about it."

Posted by: myopinioncounts1 | October 21, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for the PTC. It must be painful to have one's undies permanently in a twist.

Posted by: dataflunky | October 21, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

When was the last time any TV Series or Movie held high ratings without sex, violence, nudity and/or colorful language?

What is truly sad though is that these (and other) actors on Glee are truly gifted artisans, who for some reason (unknown to me) feel the need to dumb down their image to land a cover shot on the controversial GQ's November issue.

Kinda makes you wonder where their priorities lie.

Posted by: asmith1 | October 21, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Sex sells and the religions know how to channel angst about sex to sell seats in church. Bible thumpers and their muslim brothers need to pay taxes on every asset and dollar of revenue they receive.
Why would I not want to enjoy God's beautiful young people?

Posted by: citizen625 | October 21, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The show is morally and ethically bankrupt. I almost puked when I watched before turning it off...glorifying homosexuality, under-age sex...yuck.

Posted by: Smarg | October 21, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Christians are such losers. Leave us alone and just wait for God to beam you up to Heaven. This show blows they're just drawing attentions this show.

Posted by: YourDaddy1 | October 21, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The issue for me here is not that actors who play high school students in a T.V. show posed for GQ. Here's what I find did cross the line, however: the theme, costumes and setting of the shoot. It is true that GQ is a magazine for adults and no parent should be letting their kids read it. It is true that those actors are all in their twenties and free to do what they want as adults. However, I think both the actors and the magazine should have shown more respect, maturity and common decency and chosen a different setting for the shoot – one that did not mirror a high school – and different accoutrements – not those meant to conjure up thoughts of scantily clad teenage girls. If GQ wanted to feature these women, it could have easily been done in way more respectful, tasteful and appropriate for adults that would still have easily appealed to the magazine’s audience.

Posted by: mags044 | October 21, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't change the fact that war is just a country's periodic pms...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | October 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't change the fact that war is just a country's periodic pms... and projection of power is a bull elk in rut...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | October 21, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

So twentysomethings pretending to be teenyboppers should act what age now?

Posted by: ozpunk | October 21, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Please!!!excuses for whats going on around us in the world. we (parents/family) influence our children. influence your child to handle/understand the differences around us and how you (parent) would handle the different situations. Listen to your kids and help them try to understand what is going on around them and what it means. most all of the comments here make good points but its not Glee's fault for how the world turns. its our fault if we do not listen and influence our children.

Posted by: pbrewer2 | October 21, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Saw the pictures on-line. The girls looked hot. Mission accomplished.
End of story.

Posted by: oldno7 | October 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

You are what you do.

Posted by: SarahBB | October 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I think they are acting foolish.

Posted by: gtinla | October 21, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Goodness knows, when I was a callow high school student back in the early 1960s (graduated 1964), I certainly never had any impure thoughts about about my (under-age) fellow students of the opposite persuasion. Nope. Not a one. Never looked at any racy magazines. Why, I was even saving my "purity" (if you know what I mean) for my wedding day. Uh-huh. Sure. Okay. Right.

And no, I was completely unaware and oblivious to what was happening to Annette Funicello's chest.

By all means, magazines should only show people in "respectful, tasteful" ways. Yeah, great idea. Good luck with that one. Here I am, weeping crocodile tears over the death of Bob Guccione, and people are suggesting magazines should show nubile 20-somethings (because they are, yanno; the idea they are underage is purely a plot point. You guys CAN separate truth from TV fiction, right?) in respect ways is absurd.

As for the person who thinks Glee is "morally and ethically bankrupt" because it "glorifies homosexuality,"... well, I just don't quite know what to say, other than suggest you write an angry e-mail to Ken Mehlman with a cc: to Andrew Sullivan.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

PTC get a grip. Have you even seen the show? Lets see, there is a gay characters, a teen pregnancy, a teen in jail, and a week or so ago two girls kissing! Oh my god! Lesbians! Considering that, you are clearly just reacting to something that just now caught your attention. Are you now going to have all your old church lady supporters fill out the form letter and send it to Fox? I am sure Rupert will take it in consideration. PTC you are irrelevant when are you going to realize it?

Posted by: Gazoo1 | October 21, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Here's an example if what I would consider respectful and tasteful in GQ: take a look at Jessica Alba's recent photo shoot.

Was she scantily dressed? Yep.
Would the pictures be ok for children to see? I would say not.
Was it sexy? You bet.
Was she depicting a teenage CHILD? Nope.

She posed as a woman. Tasteful and respectful is completely possible.

Posted by: mags044 | October 21, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Had Agron not forgotten that GQ is not for gentlemen, perhaps now she would not have to insist that the photos do not represent who she is.

www.ihurtiaminfashion.com

Posted by: ihurtiaminfashion | October 22, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh....my.....god. It's just a television show people. There are wars in the world. If groups such as the PTC were to get so inflamed and activated over things that matter....wow, that could be useful!

Posted by: gdwplantz | October 27, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh....my.....god. It's just a television show people. There are wars in the world. If groups such as the PTC were to get so inflamed and activated over things that matter....wow, that could be useful!

Posted by: gdwplantz | October 27, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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