What a strange experience it is when one realizes that your site is obviously being mentioned in a very derogatory manner by Matt Roloff, especially when you don't even feel that your site is derogatory!
Matt Roloff answered some questions with his official site message board administrator. As we mentioned in our article about the Roloff and fan interaction, approximately 4 times a year on mattroloff.com, Matt Roloff's employee, his web forum moderator takes screened questions from his web forum users. It is not really simply fan questions because to ask a question a person must have a certain number of posts. In other words, a message board regular. Matt's board members who Matt has praised makes it clear that the only people who are welcome are those that agree with all things the Roloffs have done. As a result there is a core group of 5 or 6 people, very similar to a high school clique who love all things about the Roloffs, call virtually anbody who has disagreed with the Roloffs about any subject a "hater". So basically, Matt is fielding questions from his fan club that always agrees with him and Matt Roloff's web administrator relays Matt's answers.
Matt Roloff answered some questions this week:
One of them quite pointedly is seemingly directed towards this site. This is the question and answer that I'll focus on here.
For starters, I think it is safe to assume that the primary blog in question is this site that you're reading right now. Without being a braggart, as far as I'm aware we are the most popular and most active Roloff blog on the internet. I think Google searches will confirm that. Also, as I will get into detail in a moment, Matt's comments about not declining a "challenge" appear to be some kind of a response to our offer to Jeremy Roloff many months ago for an interview to have his say on what people discuss about him. He never took us up on it. I don't know of any other "challenges" that were made towards the Roloffs or any other reason why Matt would possibly answer as he did.
Lets begin with the "question" posed to Matt?
21. You and your family are out in the open all the time, on television, online, in the public, etc. There is nothing you, Amy, and the kids hide from in the media. Do you think blogs (the internet) allows bloggers the ability to hide behind a curtain of anonimity rather than have an open dialouge?
Ok, I'm already skeptical! :) That's a very carefully well-crafted question for a normal fan question. I wonder who asked that question? :) It also appears to be a bit biased. Afterall honestly speaking, if there was nothing that Matt, Amy and the kids tried to hide from the media or the public, the National Enquirer wouldn't have shocked anyone when they informed the public that Jeremy Roloff had referred to Mike Detjen as "pretty sweet like a N-word", or calling people fagg*t-holes, or that he referred to Mexico as "that beaner place". If they truly weren't hiding anything Matt and Amy Roloff wouldn't speak in code and drop intentionally vague references; such as "one of our children" or Amy in an interview referring to "an incident" without ever directly mentioning what happened. Most people know it is about Jeremy Roloff's racist and homophobic language used on his Myspace account for several years. Why not directly refer to it? In my opinion, with instances like this, they are trying to hide it from anyone who might not be aware and they're trying not to draw attention to it, thus the vague references.
Matt's Answer: I think the internet allows all of us some anonymity which is good. That said some blogs and users who render personal opinions do at times hide who they are to protect themselves and their opinions from scrutiny, unlike us. Do I think that is fair? No especially not when bloggers' opinions are guised as personal attacks on me, my family, and our program. I would rather have an open conversation with someone who has a difference of opinion with me rather than be attacked by a nameless faceless entity.
We are here and always have been. We are open and engage any challenge that comes our way. It is hard to have a discussion when the other person isn't confident enough in their opinion or argument to back that up with who they are and why they have said opinion.
You have to put something on the line when you broadcast it to the world, your name and reputation. That is the risk you take. And that is a risk my family and I take everyday. To use an old adage, unless you are willing to "put your money where your mouth is" I think that speaks volumes about the value of what you say.
It could be a good thing when bloggers don't share their name and identity with their commentary because historically most successful movements have always had a name and a face behind their voice; I guess maybe we don't have to worry about the strength and validity of these comments and blogs after all.
Matt makes this statement: "We are open and engage any challenge that comes our way."
That statement, I'm sorry to say, is false. Several months ago, out of courtesy and fairness, we extended an offer to Jeremy Roloff to have his say on what has been said about him. That's the respectable and fair thing to do. This site extended the offer to Jeremy and the Roloff family. It isn't unheard of since members of the Roloff family have done interviews with other (sometimes less active than ours) blogs and websites.
A lot of people have spoken for Jeremy Roloff and offer their opinion on what they think is Jeremy Roloff's opinion and the meaning of his words and actions.
*Some of Jeremy's Christian fans have said Jeremy's "f*ggot" language and mocking gay behavior is Jeremy's way of showing his love of God and he is standing up for the Bible because homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.
*Some of Jeremy's fans say he did nothing wrong and Jeremy has never discussed it because Jeremy doesn't think he did anything wrong at all because he didn't do anything wrong by using the slurs he used.
*Some people say Jeremy was just ignorant of the words he was using and didn't know that "f*g" was a derogatory word for gay people or that the N word is highly offensive in most circles (there is a reason why the "N word" cannot even be typed in its entirety on most websites). Some people claim Jeremy was oblivious to what the words meant.
*Some people claim Jeremy didn't say any of it and it was all lies and Jeremy is completely innocent (though this sentiment pretty much stopped after Matt confirmed it as "one of his children's inappropriate language online").
*Some people say Jeremy is a full blown racist and gay basher and that he has hatred flowing through his veins and that's why he said what he said.
That's a lot of people speaking for Jeremy. In 9 days Jeremy is going to be 19 years old. What does Jeremy Roloff think? That is why we extended the offer for an interview --for Jeremy to have his say with an independent yet civil source (this site). Matt Roloff's employee quoted Jeremy as saying he wanted to answer all questions about himself for himself. I don't think that statement has truth to it.
Matt Roloff's website administrator is Jeremy Roloff's father's employee. It is comparable to a professional athlete such as Alex Rodriguez or Roger Clemens declaring that they are going to answer the tough questions. They conduct the interview and the interviewer, lo and behold, is their own agent or their father or their mother. At the end they declare 'I answered the questions!' In most opinions, I don't think that is the definition of an honest or unbiased interview or being open to questions. They would be laughed at.
Also, to clarify, when we extended the offer to Jeremy it was to represent all fans and all the buzz that people talk and wonder about. According to our site statistics, Jeremy is consistently the most searched about Roloff (which is basically a combination of two main subjects - the racist gay bashing inquiries and "Jeremy is cute" related searches). It wouldn't just be about "the scandal". I do think any interview is incomplete if the 'elephant in the room' issue is not broached. We would do our best to represent all fans - we have a great deal of loyal visitors who think Jeremy is the coolest and nicest person in the world, we want to ask their questions too. They're not all serious heavy subjects. There are soccer fans of Jeremy who would like to know why he waited until the last possible maximum age (16) to try out of ODP and don't understand why he didn't try out earlier. There are other soccer fans who are interested in Jeremy's advice for kids trying out for programs like ODP since he has the experience of the try out.
I wouldn't personally call it a "challenge". I don't think it is nearly that hostile, but if that is the word Matt is using, Jeremy Roloff did not take us up on that "challenge".
When Matt writes "we engage any challenge that comes our way" -- I take that to mean by "we" he means the entire Roloff family which includes Jeremy -- his statement is simply not true.
The Roloff family is well aware of our site. I can confirm that. I can confirm that several of Jeremy's friends know about this site. Obviously by Matt's answer here, he is aware -- as it seems to be almost a direct response to this blog. Jeremy chose not to accept the interview request. That is alright. If he doesn't feel he needs to justify his behavior, he has that right. I'm not going to harass Jeremy to do an interview. He obviously has his reasons for not accepting.
That's fine, however, it is not "engaging" in all challenges as Matt Roloff is stating. We did also do a piece on a letter that a woman who was concerned about Jeremy's behavior wrote to Amy Roloff, complete with the woman's name, telephone number and IP email. She did not receive a response from Amy directed at her concerns.
If Matt Roloff wants to do an interview, this site would welcome it. The contact information is here.
firstname.lastname@example.org The Roloffs can initiate contact through that if they accept all "challenges". I hate that this sounds so hostile, because from my perspective, it's not.
The Roloffs know of this site. Matt is welcome to accept our invitation and discuss with us. Quite honestly though, I think it is disrespectful to all involved especially Jeremy, to ask a 19 year old's father to speak for him and explain what the 19 year old thinks and was thinking and how he feels now. Jeremy Roloff is 9 days away from his 19th birthday. In all honesty, I think it's ridiculous that Jeremy Roloff at 19 years old has not spoken for himself about his own actions and opinions. He's not a child. He's not mentally challenged. He's a television star of a series. He's a co-author of a book about values. According to Matt Roloff, the entire family including Jeremy is available for public speaking engagements about diversity issues.
The only reason I can think why Matt Roloff still speaks for his soon to be 19 year old son, is because TLC, Discovery, GRP (Gay Rosenthal Productions - producers of LPBW) and Matt and Amy are terrified of allowing Jeremy to open his mouth on his own again publicly without the environment being controlled by TLC or Matt. If that's how they feel, I understand that. There are many wonderful and talented people who are associated with Little People, Big World. I'm sure there are many with great moral values who do not condone what Jeremy said and were disappointed to learn about it. I'm sure there are several individuals in the production of LPBW that dislike that their wonderful work and message that they present through the show is dilluted when one of the stars was caught with such distasteful behavior. I think the last thing they want is Jeremy once again undermining all their hard work and positive message by bringing more negativity towards the show by possibly saying something offensive again. I don't know that to be a fact - that is my guess. We know all too well what happened the last time Jeremy spoke uncensored-- Jeremy landed himself in the National Enquirer with the headline "Big Bigot - Racist, gay-basher."
However, if Matt Roloff wants to again speak for Jeremy, I would welcome the opportunity. I will try to represent all of our large following to the best of my ability. I would love to have the chance to do a series of interviews with Jeremy, with Matt, with Amy, with Zach, and even in the last several months Jacob Mueller is a hot topic of inquiries, add Jacob Mueller to the list.
If Matt welcomes a "challenge", he is welcome to do an interview and field questions from someone other than his hand-picked employee. Is that what Matt is trying to address by his answer? That he is stating that he would? The contact information is here. email@example.com
The Roloff family and interviews or even fielding questions is an interesting subject. When the Roloffs are interviewed by national media programs, talk shows with an audience of millions or even well established newspapers throughout the world, the goal is to introduce the Roloffs to people who probably aren't very familiar with them. The questions and subjects are very basic. 'Tell me what it's like to be a little person?' or 'So, you have this show, now what happens, cameras follow you around?' Even the local Portland interviews Matt and Amy have done are not really designed for regular viewers of the show. They aren't done by or for people that know the finer details of the show or the Roloff's facts and history.
With all due respect to the recent 5 audio questions Matt answered on TLC's website, the only the interviews or questions Matt answers are done on his official website. Matt's employee selects filtered questions, she discusses them with Matt in private and relays his answers. Since Matt Roloff is the boss of the employee interviewing him, I think it is fair to say Matt Roloff is essentially interviewing himself.
Again, if the Roloff family do not want to answer any questions in an environment not controlled by them that is their right. I am simply confused why Matt would state with his answer that they "engage all challenges" when that is simply not the case.
The next piece in Matt's answer and the crux of his issue seems to be that he wants personal information made public in order to voice opinions on his family.
The first thing about that is to point out the irony that I don't think Matt's real issue is that people use screen names or "handles" instead of their real names and personal information while posting opinions on the internet. The piece of irony here is that Matt was doing this interview which he answered this question with an individual who publicly identifies herself as "Disruptive Spirit" (not to be confused with Spirits Wander!!) - which I don't believe is her birth name ;-) Obviously Matt understands why people on the internet are reluctant to use their personal information - as long as that person never questions a Roloff's actions or statements and does not ever really disagree with anything a Roloff has said or done, and even publicly declares that Jeremy has a "right" to say the N word and should not be corrected.
Matt appears to be boasting here that his family is out in the open and are public figures. That is true. They chose to be public figures. They chose, by signing up five times for more seasons of their program. They've reaped the rewards and some of the cons of their choices. That's a choice the Roloffs have personally made and they've seen their lifestyle change because of it and LP awareness has definitely been helped by it as well. The decision to be public figures is not a choice that all people would make. There is a reason why these times are called the information age. With a name and location, a lot of people would not feel comfortable with the public knowing their home address or what school their children attend and such. I don't think this is a bragging tool Matt should be using -- if you voice a disagreement with the Roloffs such as Jeremy was wrong to say the N word and f*ggot, people should know where you live? I don't agree. I haven't been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by a television network. Companies have not offered me free services in exchange for publicity. This is true of all users on the internet who voice opinions on public figures whether their opinion is positive or negative. The Roloffs put themselves out in the open through their show, through their books and through their public speaking events. People are going to discuss what they do. Hopefully viewers do it with intergrity and maturity (more on that later!).
The Roloffs are the public figures being rewarded for their decisions financially and I don't hold that against them. Matt has the means to hire security for his family when the Roloffs allow the public on their farm. Nobody makes any money on our blog (except maybe the Roloffs and TLC from our promotion which we are happy to provide) and it actually costs some money to maintain it. This site is purely for recreation, to be informative and fun. We hear from people from all walks of life, from all different countries - who thank us for providing the site and that is good enough for everyone involved. This blog is for people who are interested in the Roloff family and Little People, Big World. We aim to be a place for Roloff fans and followers to come and know that they're going to hear the honest news about things that involve these celebrities. They'll hear the good, the bad, anything we feel will be remotely interesting to viewers of the shows. We try to present things of interest and offer an opinion and you as a reader will form your own opinion. There are several people that contribute information to this site with their ears and eyes in several different places. If they see or know something interesting, they pass it on, we pass it on to you. Apparently people seem to appreciate our honest and open style of providing good and bad and all things Roloff and LPBW related because we've quickly generated a very large and loyal following.
The last point about Matt's issue of anonymity- if I was interviewing the Roloffs - on the condition of privacy - I would not mind sharing my name. I however do not have interest in posting personal information on the internet. We receive hate mail as well -- both from people who are upset at us for promoting the Roloffs and their endeavors as well as from people similar to Matt Roloff's rabid core supporters who feel any criticism of a Roloff is "hating" the family.
I don't want to provide my personal information publicly. What is the purpose? So people who send us hatemail via this site can harass us at home? Look our numbers up on the internet and crank call us all day or leave obscene messages? For all Matt has talked about being a Faith-based family, some of his rabid supporters he is fond of and says he is planning on quoting in a book, were banned numerous times on several different message board sites for their rude conduct, crude comments and harassment of people who did not always agree with everything the Roloffs have done.
Speaking on that subject for a second -- regarding Matt Roloff's "rabid" fans that hang out on his message board (not to be confused with all Roloff fans because we have tons of Roloff fans that follow our site, some of our contributors love everything about the Roloffs themselves) This is just speaking of a very small segment of people on Matt Roloff's official website message board - who do not represent all fans, fortunately.
This is almost embarassing to talk about and I'm not embarrased for our site. Some of Matt Roloff's official website message board users refer to our site - the name spiritswander as "spit-wadder", complete with smiley faces and tee-hee giggles.....to quote a Roloff kid "Are you freaking kidding me?" Spiritswander = Spit-wadder. Wow. That is the maturity level of a third grader, but perhaps that might not be giving third graders enough credit. These are adults. Adults that Matt Roloff has praised. Adults that Matt Roloff has said he is planning on quoting when he writes another book?? I'm speechless. Matt Roloff is a serious businessman with several professional business relationships. He is the former President of a respected organization such as the LPA. I'm stunned that Matt Roloff has any connection (allows this conduct on his official website) with this, praises some of these people and states he is planning on quoting some of these individuals in a future book. Spit-wadder to reference a site called Spirits Wander...I don't know what to say! This is not one of the Big Values the Roloffs wrote about in their family book. Just to clarify, my feelings are not hurt...if I was a 7 year old, I might be hurt...because this behavior is expected of 7 year old children. It truly is embarrassing.
Finally on the point about anonymity - I don't see the relevance. If the opinion is that Jeremy Roloff was wrong to use hate speech words, was further wrong to not apologize or express any regret, and if a person feels that Matt and Amy Roloff are hypocrites on this issue because they convey the attitude that they aren't really that bothered by Jeremy's use of hate words, but they're more upset at people who talk about it and don't pat Jeremy on the head and say he's a good Christian boy for saying what he did. The entire platform of the show and of their speaking careers as Matt has said several times - is that they speak "for all people of difference" - that includes black people, Mexicans, gay people, people with down syndrome, and hearing disabilities - Jeremy and his inseparable best friend, Jacob Mueller, who all the Roloffs have described as a great kid, have used words that are very hurtful and made jokes insulting to all those groups. It doesn't matter if it is Ozzy Osbourne, Oprah Winfrey, Charles Manson or a homeless man on the street corner stating that opinion - it has no bearing on the validity of the opinion that it is wrong for the Roloffs whose platform is we represent "all people of difference" to have a son who have used such hateful words without an apology or an acknowledgment from the son that he was wrong.
True, if it was the KKK founder speaking out against Jeremy's language, that would make him a hypocrite. It would not change anything about the Roloffs.
In fairness, I will say one thing for Matt on his issue of anonymity. I do think sometimes a few critics - perhaps with the "messy house" issue at times and more so with personal criticisms such as ridiculing the Roloffs for an occasional mispronounced word or mannerisms while speaking - criticisms that nobody with this blog has ever leveled against the Roloffs - could be frustrating because most people have something similar of their own that would show if they were in front of television cameras. So on that note, I can agree with Matt that people pretending to be perfect with the comfort of anonymity on the internet while criticizing them can be frustrating -- although it does come with the territory when you sign a contract to be on television and to be public figures. It becomes more of an issue with the Roloffs when they make certain claims publicly - such as Jeremy's quote in the Roloff family book stating that unlike a lot of teenagers, he does not drink alcohol or experiment with drugs because he only has fun in ways that please God. When people then see Jeremy reminsce with a friend about how at age 15 they stole Matt's vodka, replaced it with Sprite and proceeded to almost burn down the barn - that is going to garner some attention. Honestly, I think it's fair to say that a lot of people have some story similar to that in their teenage years. It would not get the same type of attention from people if Jeremy did not make the claim in a published book that he, unlike some teenagers, do not do that stuff and it is due to his love of God that he resists. He did make that claim in that book. He is portrayed that way on the show. As a result, many people praise the Roloffs for raising such good, innocent kids who don't drink like all those others bad teenagers. When Jeremy is found to be talking about drunk stories with friends, people can't be expected to just ignore it and not take notice of the discrepancies.
However, when it pertains to an issue such as, what I believe are some of the ugliest words in the english language and when their entire message is about diversity and respect, that's not pretending to be perfect. Thankfully a lot of people know it is wrong and is not acceptable and they should speak out against it. The Roloffs own close family friend - Jen Montzingo, is one of these people.
If people watch and admired the Roloffs because they truly care about their message that nobody should be ridiculed or mocked or have hate words said about them because they are "different" than those people should be disappointed when they discover that a kid that they thought was better than that has been using hateful words and mocking behavior - even if that kid is a Roloff. If they excuse it - then they didn't really understand the professed message of the show - they are simply starstruck by celebrities on television. That's not supposed to be the message of the show.
My final point on this entire subject is to express some disappointment. It is disappointing that Matt Roloff apparently has such negative feelings towards our site. I would expect that from his rabid group of 4 or 5 rabid supporters that feel comfortable on his message board. However, Matt is a professional. I think it is childish to declare something as an "attack" or label as a "hater" because one disagrees with something the family has done and voices that disagreement.
I ask what is the most distasteful thing about the Roloffs? If you had to choose? Personally, I would say discovering that Jeremy used such nasty hateful slurs and mocking behavior for so long and even more so that he didn't have the moral values to say he was wrong and apologize - in addition to the whole way the Roloffs have failed to address it appropriately (more venom towards people that say was wrong than towards Jeremy for using the words). I think the second most distasteful thing about the Roloffs was discovering that Jeremy, Zach and their friends were so nasty to adoring fans on the internet. It's all been said before - Zach and Jeremy saying they wanted to tell fans to F off at their TLC organized beach party, their friends calling Jeremy's fans losers, b*tches, f*ggots - Jeremy and his friends mocking a Puerto Rican girl who had a fan page in honor of him and his family and perhaps she was not the prettiest girl in the world. Once you know this about them, yet they are portrayed on the show and in the books, as sweet innocent Christian boys -- it's hard to ignore and dismiss. As Matt says, viewers only see a small segment of the real them. When you know things such as that (the language, the insults coming directly from Jeremy and his friends uncensored) it's disappointing and makes certain aspects of the show and the image the Roloffs portray less believable.
Those are the two biggest issues I personally am disappointed with about the Roloffs. This does not equate to hating the Roloffs. Nor does expressing skeptism over certain things - such as Jeremy's quote in the book discussed above or Matt's down-playing of how the family has benefited financially from the television show. This is not in any way, shape or form -- "hate".
If you can't be disappointed in the family on the show with the platform "we represent all issues of difference", when the son says such ugly words, what seriously can you disagree with them about? Let that go, but you can disagree with them that they don't drink skimmed milk??
Furthermore this is not a "hate" blog. The only people I would expect to have that opinion of this site is the 4 or 5 rabid fans of Matt Roloff on his official website. I think calling this site a "hate blog" is ridiculous, narrow-minded, childish and completely inaccurate. There is absolutely no hatred on our site. It is ludicrous to suggest such. Even in the public comments from readers - we strive to allow freedom of expression, but we don't tolerate any vicious personal attacks on any person Roloff or not - you will never see anybody be ridiculed or mocked for their appearance, etc. There is no hatred involved in anything on this site. It is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard -- but consider the source -- Matt's 4 or 5 rabid fans on his offical message board.
There are many things I personally admire about Matt and Amy Roloff. Jeremy's language and behavior with his friends and their treatment of people online is not one of the things I admire. The Roloffs handling of the issue is another thing that I do not admire.
There are many things that I like and respect about the Roloffs and they actually out-number the bad. The site prides itself on being balanced and honest. The site has praised Matt for his work in Iraq. We've relayed positive personal reviews of Amy and the kids helping out with Habitat for Humanity. We've discussed how the Mike Detjen memorial show was tastefully well done and emotional. Personally, I agree with a lot of the values the Roloffs present about life and the way they live their lives as was stated during the recap article following the episode regarding Mike Detjen's passing. All you need to do is browse the site archives. It's our goal to make the blog enjoyable and interesting to people with all different and varying opinions about the Roloffs. All attitudes and infomation is presented with that in mind.
Regarding the issue of their son's language, which is indeed consistently the single-most inquired about topic - we do disagree with the Roloffs.
I'll also inform you that we've had several pleasant exchanges with TLC staff - even perhaps a few compliments. It's nice to see that some understand that even if you don't like a decision or something that a family does which pertains to their very message, that you don't have a hatred for them. I find it insulting and shocking that any rational person would consider this blog to be a "hate" blog.
If Matt Roloff honestly believes that if you don't like what Jeremy said and you think it's hypocritical given their whole platform, you are automatically a hater that is hatefully attacking the family -- that is very disappointing and unfortunate.