Glee actor Mark Salling doesn’t understand the hype over the racy GQ photospread of Glee stars Lea Michele, Dianna Agron and Corey Monteith, saying the situation is being blown out of proportion.
“Personally, I think it’s not a big deal,” Salling, 28, said Oct. 21, 2010 on a radio interview with L.A.’s 102.7 KIIS FM.
“Lea is 23 years old and has every right to do that. I mean, come on! We’re obviously not in high school. It’s tongue-in-cheek that we’re in high school,” said the actor, who plays Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the show.
“People are starving, [Dallas] Cowboys are losing — there’s more important things to worry about in the world.”
Salling was responding to inflammatory criticism from the Parents Television Council, which slammed the sexy GQ photos as “near-pornographic pedophilia.”
‘BORDERS ON PEDOPHILIA’
In a statement released Oct. 20, the PTC expressed outrage at the over-sexualized photos of Glee’s 24-year-old stars Lea Michele and Dianna Agron:
“It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on Glee in this way. It borders on pedophilia.
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.”
KATIE COURIC: ‘I’M DISAPPOINTED’
CBS News anchor Katie Couric, who watches Glee with her two daughters, ages 19 and 14, joined the chorus of people bashing GQ’s racy photo shoot. In an opinion piece on CBS Evening News Oct. 20, Couric, 53, said:
“As Seth Meyers might say on Weekend Update, ‘Really?!’ These very adult photos of young women who perform in a family show just seem so un-‘Glee’-like. The program is already edgy in the right ways, these images don’t really — in my humble opinion — fit the ‘Glee’ gestalt.
I know there are a lot of bigger problems in the world right now, but still, as Mr. Schuester might say to the club, I’m really disappointed.”
DIANNA AGRON: ‘PARENTS SHOULD SUPERVISE’
While Michele and Monteith have not yet responded to the criticism, Dianna Agron offered a tepid apology in a blog post Oct. 21, saying that while she’s sorry to anyone she has offended, she also called on parents to supervise their children’s activities:
“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.
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?
I understand that in today’s world of advanced technology, the internet, our kids can be subject to very adult material at the click of a button. But there are parental locks, and ways to get around this.”
Similarly, GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson fired back at critics, saying: “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’s almost 30! I think they’re old enough to do what they want.”
Samantha Chang is the executive editor of TheImproper and a celebrity writer at Examiner.