Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Amy Roloff interview - she discusses Jeremy's National Enquirer article about racist and homophobic language

Part two of the podcast with Amy Roloff is now available. You might remember a couple of weeks ago there was a podcast on another site. This is the last half of the podcast. Let's be honest, this is what people really wanted to discuss.

I wanted to quickly recap the interview for those that don't have time to listen to the entire interview or people who can't get the podcast working, but there was one major topic that over-shadowed the interview.

The first clip she discusses the filming schedule. They film 5 days a week. Most of the filming is done on weekends in the summer. Amy says they haven't done as much filming as usual because they did so much during the summer. They also get the Thanksgiving week off and 3 week to a month break during Christmas. Traditionally, they have the entire month of April off.

The other interesting item is that Amy alludes to Jeremy being on television outside of their show in the future. On her website, Amy also makes a comment about Jeremy that "You might be seeing more of him". When she is talking about the messy house she says:

"If you ever get to see Jeremy in TV outside of our show or later in life, he will probably have the most spotless house ever because his closet, all his shirts are lined up on hangers..." (hmm...is she blaming the state of the twins room all on Zach? Their new room after the remodel was looking very cluttered...what color was that leather couch again if you can see it from underneath the pile of clothes...just saying! ;-)

The second segment and part of the third segment is what people are really interested in. For the first time, Amy finally discusses the National Enquirer article. If you're new to the site, you can check the archives on here to find the details - the quick version is Jeremy made racial and homophobic comments on the internet talking to his friends (and his friends made them to him as well), including using the N word several times, the gay slur "f*gg*t, Jeremy called Mexico the place where the beaners live, and endless mocking of gay people. His friends also made derogatory comments/jokes about deaf kids, Down Syndrome, Jewish people, Asian people, and Muslims.

Jeremy's comments went on for a span of over 3 years, when Jeremy was 15 - 17, until Jeremy (as per Jeremy himself) stopped using the internet to communicate with his friends. Jeremy's friends, including best friend Jacob Mueller, were still making the same type of racial and homophobic slurs as recently as May 2008, a couple of weeks before the Roloffs took him on their summer vacation. The National Enquirer in their September 2008 issue published an article about Jeremy called "A Big Bigot in the Land of the Little People".

Of course in this interview, Amy doesn't name it or get into specifics, but she states there was "an incident". Later in the third segment, she also seems to be referring to it.

Amy Roloff:

"One of the hardest things about being in the media, how we are in the media, because this is about our personal life. Sure, occasionally things won't be said right, sometimes my kids won't say the right thing. Sometimes when they're having conversations with their friends and the camera picks it up. Or some of their friends make an off beat comment and it goes on the internet and it gets all blown out of proportion.

I think the thing that probably hurts the most for me is when people will criticize us to the point that we're not good parents or we're hypocrites.

You have to remember you're taking one moment and over analyzing and making a huge judgment on my life and I think it is unfair because you have the opportunity to over analyze it and criticize it, but often I don't know who these people are, I don't know anything about their life, until you can look in the mirror and in your own closet, don't be so critical that we haven't dealt with it, that we haven't tried to consistently and constantly remind our kids that you know what, maybe some of the things you say are hurtful, you may not think they're hurtful, you may think it's all in fun or just because the other person laughs at it themselves, doesn't mean it won't hurt them inside. But be careful of your words, be careful of your language, not because I'm telling you, but because it's the right thing. Is that how you want to be treated and looked upon.

I mean I know there is an incident that happened, geez, about 3 years ago or 2 years ago, but it made it like it happened now, when my boys are 18 years old. Media and people can twist and turn things around, but you're stuck in a hard spot because you're in a catch 22, because no matter what you say the statement in itself will be over analyzed, over criticized, she didn't cover this topic or things like that.

So I will admit that's probably the toughest part because I don't ask everyone to agree with it in fact I don't ask everyone to like everything I do. One thing that has been over-criticized is the messy house......"

"It's hard as a parent especially when things are said about your children. To me, they don't deserve that kind of raking over the coals from strangers, from people they don't even know, from people that have the opportunity, glimpse into their life.

I never wanted their personality or their reaction or thoughts or how they think to be so guarded because we have tv in our life. When things come up, we may not discuss it on tv, we may not deal with it on tv, in some ways I'm disappointed people think Matt and I wouldn't deal with it at all. We take those opportunities and we've sat down with their friends or Jeremy or Zach or Molly or Jacob. It's not a one time event. I try to do that from day one. It's a matter of consistency, talking with them and approaching them and sometimes even disciplining them, but just because something is done wrong, doesn't always require discipline. If they got it from talking with them and their eyes say 'oh yeah geez, why did I do that, what was I thinking, what was I feeling?'...to me if they understand it and get it at the point, then the next time think about what you're doing. Think about how you're treating your friends. Think about how you talk with your friends about other things, other people.

I didn't want my kids to so self guard them and to be so worried about this happening, but yet we now do have to let them know that unfortunately, the things you do and say, like normal people, but it's totally magnified, people will take it out of context and construe to the point where this wasn't really meant the way they had hoped it turned out to be.... I think there is a lot more (good?) in the tv show than certain things that may have happened because it's like, we're not perfect."

The interviewer goes on to say everybody needs to remember not to judge and tells Amy she has raised wonderful children.

Amy says: "A lot of it has to do with my faith, we have a faith, that's our belief, the Christian faith. I ask the kids, where was your heart? What are you thinking? Where is our head at? What are we thinking about the tv show and what we want to get out. When you look at it and weigh in and talk to the kids about it, you know we're doing a lot more good and where our heart is and what we want to do is what I tell the kids to look at. Not do it out of greed, gain, maliciousness, meanness, sometimes things just happen."

You can listen to all 3 clips here under Part 2.


There is a lot to discuss there! I'll post some of my personal thoughts on Amy's response at a later date, but I look forward to hearing your comments on Amy's first response to "the Jeremy scandal".


Jason said...

The media didn't twist anything. Jeremy made the racist comments. Jeremy made fun of gay people.

I don't think Amy is putting any responsibility on Jeremy for what he did.

Rap541 said...

Boo hoo cry me a river.

I know, I know, thats pretty cold but you know what? The Roloffs choose to put their children and their parenting on display. They don't have to. No one is forcing these people to be celebrities. They are making a LOT of money off this show.

SO guess what? I am not all sympathetic that her kids have to mind what they say... particularly when she and her husband make a point of explaining in excrutiating detail at times how all us average height folks need to mind what we say. And remmeber too, Amy and Matt Roloff are now bankable public speakers on diversity. If her kids are "normally" using the racist hatespeech I saw on Jeremy's blog....then there's a problem anyways.

Meanwhile, if you don't want the public attention, stop putting your kids on display for money, Amy.

And on an aside, Amy seems like a nice person but she's raising her kids to think that they can snow anyone.

Brokenwing said...

I'm very impressed with Amy's response. I think she is right on all counts. In my opinion, she made it clear that Jeremy knows he was wrong for saying those things, but she kept in the proper context - he was wrong but he didn't mean it to be hurtful. But she still spoke to him about it and she's confident that he realized it.

I think she also made a good point that people that criticize Jeremy so harshly probably have some skeletons in their own closets and something people might take issue with if we could see it all.

In my opinion, she addressed it very well. Jeremy was wrong to use the words even though he didn't intend it like people are taking it. She talked to him about. She believes he understands it now. But it was taken out of context. It was blown out of the proportion. Obviously Amy doesn't think Jeremy his a racist or hate monger so she is justified in saying it was taken out of context when he is called a bigot, racist and gay basher.

Rap, Amy addressed why they do the show. They feel the good they do is worth it.

Greg said...

It sounds to me like Amy is more concerned with Jeremy being caught and taken to task than she is about his use of hate speech words.

Rap541 said...

Brokenwing, if it was about feeling good, they would do it for free. After all is said and done, they are no better than Charla the dwarf who was on Amazing Race.

They get paid a good salary. They are not naive people who never saw a reality show before. They had some idea of what they were getting into.

Amy seems more bothered that her kids got caught than what her kids got caught doing. It wasn't one incident with Jeremy, it was many, spread out over a year, and some of his remarks were such that its unreasonable to suggest that a teenager his age just didn't know it was inappropriate.

I fear for those kids, I really do.

Taylor said...

Rap541 said... I fear for those kids, I really do.

While I don't like what Jeremy said and while I would have handled it differently than Amy did, I don't fear for those kids. Matt and Amy are loving parents. The kids while not perfect, aren't criminals.

Rap541 said...

I fear for them, Taylor, because I think they are growing up without real boundaries and with an inflated sense of their place in the world. .

The kids don't have manners to speak of, the twins don't seem to be particularly bright or even interested in doing much other than fooling around, and they seem to have trouble with the simplest of tasks if there's not a parent or adult around. There's a point where a parent has to be a parent and neither Matt or Amy seem interested in being parents...they want to friends.

Thats great when you have the money to clean up their messes and hush up the talk... but the messes are only going to get bigger. Jeremy and Zach aren't required to do well in school, they face no consequences if they do bad things... and they get bribed to behave. There's something really wrong in the group dynamic when dad buys a car to bribe a kid to get better grades, and the kid does poorly and still gets the car. What does the kid learn? There are no consequences.

Look at Amy's example of looking in their eyes and knowing they've understood. Thats nice... but I think we were all kids once and who doesn't give Mom a good act when you're in trouble? In order to avoid punishment?

Those kids aren't criminals now. I hope, for their sake, that I am wrong, and that they don't smoke and joke their way into serious trouble that Mom and Dad can't buy away.

Andrea said...

I think the Roloffs are a great family. People should do like Amy said and lay off Jeremy. They are only kids.

Tina said...

Like Amy said, Jeremy was JOKING!!!! He wasn't being hateful. Nobody would care if he wasn't on tv because millions of other teens are saying the same stuff.

I'm glad Amy sort of stood up for Jeremy and said he doesn't deserved to be hung up over the coals.

Rap541, Amy knows Jeremy better than you do. If she can tell he learned his lesson from looking in his eyes, I believe her.

Rap541 said...

Tina, as I said, I would be happy to be wrong. But I don't think I am.

Jeremy's "joking" was calling Mexico a racist name. Would I be "joking" and no one would care if I was here refering to the Roloffs as "The midgets on the midget show"?

The point is that Matt and Amy make a point of telling us how words like "midget" hurt them and how we shouldn't use them. A point I agree with btw. But their son is just doing whats normal when he's refering to minorities with offensive names? I'm being hateful if I use midget - no matter what the context,joking or not, but Jeremy can refer to Mike Detjen as his n-word and many many more examples and we're all supposed to smile and think its cute?

Brokenwing said...

[But their son is just doing whats normal when he's refering to minorities with offensive names?]

Rap, Amy didn't say what Jeremy said was ok. Perhaps you missed this part of the interview?

"consistently and constantly remind our kids that you know what, maybe some of the things you say are hurtful, you may not think they're hurtful, you may think it's all in fun or just because the other person laughs at it themselves, doesn't mean it won't hurt them inside. But be careful of your words, be careful of your language, not because I'm telling you, but because it's the right thing. Is that how you want to be treated and looked upon."

AM said...

The whole 'look into your own closet' really smacks of 'I know you are but what am I?'

Rap541 said...

Brokenwing, if there are no consequences to the pretty little speeches, what impetus do the kids have to stop? The incident with Jeremy's myspace was multiple occurences over 3 years. SO each time she gave this speech, and saw in his eyes he understood he was wrong and therefore didn't punish him...and then did it again. So regardless of whether she feels its wrong, and she says this by the way:

"but yet we now do have to let them know that unfortunately, the things you do and say, like normal people, but it's totally magnified, people will take it out of context and construe to the point where this wasn't really meant the way they had hoped it turned out to be.... " which can be construed as Amy considering Jeremy's comments normal for the Roloff family, so if she doesn't punish him, if she doesn't care as long as its not in public, it must not bother her very much that her son uses racist hatespeech in his daily life.

Look, I'm pretty reasonable. Amy and Matt want to be treated with respect. Thats fine. I expect them, and their children, to treat others with the same respect they demand. Jeremy calling Mexico "that beaner place" is falling far short of that and I know my children would be held accountable if they went to the Roloff Farms and started with "Look at the midgets!" Per Amy, I could stand in front of her and tell her " I am looking in my kids eyes and he gets it now so quit complaining. Nope, not punishing, sure he just called you a midget again.... but I looked in his eyes and know, so you need to get past it."

That's what Amy is telling the fans to do. Somehow I doubt she and Matt would be ok with sucking it up from someone else's kids.

Justin said...

Well said Rap. How does Amy not see the hypocrisy?

Cindy said...


I think what Amy is actually saying is that she is not bothered by Jeremy saying the N word, f*ggot, d*ke, beaner and so on as long as SHE doesn't feel he means it in a racist or bigoted way.

I think that is the meaning of this --

"but yet we now do have to let them know that unfortunately, the things you do and say, like normal people, but it's totally magnified, people will take it out of context and construe to the point where this wasn't really meant the way they had hoped it turned out to be.... "

My take on it is Amy is not shocked that Jeremy is saying those words. She doesn't feel using those words as Jeremy did is being prejudiced or hateful and that's why she talks about the words being twisted and taken out of context.

I don't think she understands that people are upset that Jeremy uses those words period. It's like she is saying "Oh no, he didn't mean it like that".

Paula said...

I can see both sides. I think Amy needs to expect some criticism. That's what happens to any public figure. She should understand why Jeremy's language draws the fire it has.

Anonymous said...

As a family counselor, there are a few things that stand out to me in the situation dealing with the Roloff family. First off, I have to say I grew up in the same rural neighborhood as the Roloffs, and I had several similar acquaintances as the family.
First, I believe it is quite clear that Jeremy is himself struggling with his sexuality. He is only 18, (soon to be 19) so it is most likely that he has not fully accepted his own sexuality and sexual preference, whatever it may be. As a young person growing up in Hillsboro, Oregon, I can personally testify that homosexuality is something that is simply not okay, especially for a local "television celebrity." Having all other kids around you, most of them being ones that you consider your friends, constantly using gay slurs in a negative way would obviously contribute to Jeremy surpressing his natural desires. This does not justify the remarks that Jeremy made, but I do believe it lends to help us all understand the situation better.
The second VERY clear point that must be made is that Jeremy's father Matt is attempting to vicariously live through his son Jeremy. As a little person, there were many things that Matt never got to do because he was discriminated against as a young person. He is attempting to instill in Jeremy a desire to do all the things that he desired to do as a teenager and young adult. This is the most disturbing thing to observe with this family. Because of this, Jeremy is attempting to be the Ultra-Alpha-Male his father always wished to be, and is hence so very confused about his own personal life.
Amy is taking a very fair approach to the situation, stating basically that while kids will be kids, she is doing a pretty good job of letting them know they need to just be themselves. But she's not doing a good enough job...
I urge the entire Roloff family to watch "Milk." This movie will help all of them realize what it truly means to be someone who puts themselves in the spotlight of media attraction with the desire to better others. And will hopefully also help Jeremy Roloff the importance of "coming out, coming out, wherever you are."

Ashley said...

Oh knock it off. Jeremy isn't gay. He's just an insensitive teenager who thinks being gay is funny because they've been taught by their church that being gay is bad. They mock it because that is how most straight teenagers deal with it. Most don't resort to violence. They deal with their dislike for it by ridiculing it.

Tina said...

I don't think Jeremy is gay. But I do agree with you about Matt living through Jeremy and I think part (only part because most of it comes from peer pressure and I think Jeremy is just that type of person that thinks it's funny to make fun of people) of Jeremy's attitude comes from Matt.

Listen to the exchange they had when Jeremy got the earring (which is NOT a sign that is he gay) but Matt clearly thinks it is weak and wrong for a boy to get an earring. It's not, times have changed, but it's obvious Matt has stereotypes.

When Matt keeps on fretting about it, Jeremy turns to him and says "Don't worry dad, it will be gone in no time and I'll be back to good ol Jer that makes fun of them".

That told me a great deal that Jeremy told Matt he will make fun of people and he said it to please Matt. Pretty twisted actually.

I agree with that part of what you said, but not that Jeremy is actually gay himself.

I think Jeremy has a big mouth and never gives a crap about the feelings of anybody else and that's why he does the ridiculing gay mocking and talking.

Robert said...

Jeremy's language and attitude towards homosexuality is common among teenagers, but certainly not right.

For a person to refrain from those attitudes, it takes one who has empathy for others and people with a desire to think about people and the world around them.

That is not Jeremy Roloff. He does not have empathy for others. He does not think 'how does this make someone else feel'. You can see that part of Jeremy's personality on the show come up over and over again if you pay close enough attention.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy is a teenager. thats what teenagers do they make fun of things and try to be sarcastic. go to a high school sometime and just sit and listen to the conversations kids have. it will probably be a lot like what jeremy said. get over it. words do nothing. did he physically do harm to anyone? no. he definitly needs to be punished by his parents without a doubt but stop making a big deal about it. let them deal with it. in the end what jeremy roloff thinks about anyone means absolutely nothing so whats the big deal? quit trying to stir up controversy just because he is on tv and you feel like you are in his life just because you watch every episode. it really does not matter this much.

and as far as hypocracy goes, it sounds as though people calling matt and amy hypocrites are saying that they themselves have never in their lives said or thought something that goes against what they tell people they believe. that in itself is a hypocracy. we all slip up. it is almost impossible to not be a hypocrite at one point in our lives especially when we are young. blaming matt and amy for what jeremy said is ridiculus.

adding on to blaming the parents, are we to believe that everything every kid says or does in their life is going to be something their parents agree with? no. kids rebel against their parents every day. dont say that matt and amy condone this behavior because honestly most parents dont. they will handle it how they see fit and just because we dont see how they do it on tv doesnt mean a punishment wasnt made.

buttom line, jeremy is young and ignorant. his words mean nothing so dont get so worked up over them. if you dont let what people say bother you, then racism and biggotry will have no power. thats the real way to get rid of them. stop giving them power.

Anonymous said...

No the bottom line is that the words jeremy said were hurtful and he needs to apologize for them. He need did not slip those words out, he was wrong and has no excuse.

Anonymous said...

I think the Roloff family are a hateful family. They are "little people" so if calling people "f*ggots", "beaners" and other nasty names is okay by Amy and her family then she should have no problem with me calling her, Matt and Zack "midgets"

I will not watch anymore. My apologies to the rest of the "little people" who are not bigots.

Hey Roloffs, if you dont like the celebirty of being on t.v. stop doing T.V.

Anonymous said...

I think people need to stop being so liberal and check their own lives. I suppose that everyone who said something negative about the Roloff family has NEVER said anything biggoted or resentful or distasteful themselves.
Good Lord, grow the heck up.