The showrunners for “The Real O’Neals” have responded to Sara Ramirez’s criticisms of biphobia

Following accusations of biphobia, the showrunners of ABC sitcom The Real O’Neals have spoken out the controversies, saying that the “joke was not meant to be offensive at all.” 

In case you missed it, The Real O’Neals, which airs on ABC, was met with a barrage of criticism after an episode aired in which bisexual individuals were likened to having “webbed toes” or “money problems.” 

After seeing the episode and a petition, Sara Ramirez, who played Callie Torres on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and who recently publicly came out as bisexual herself, also joined the criticisms of her former employer, saying that she was “disheartened & disappointed” by the joke.

At the time, ABC had yet to comment on the charges of biphobia, but now the showrunners for The Real O’Neals, Casey Johnson and David Windsorhave responded.

In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Johnson and Windsor said that they did not mean to cause offence.

"That joke was not meant to be offensive at all, Johnson said. “It was from the perspective of a 16-year-old kid. Kenny’s got his first boyfriend, and his biggest worry is that he might like girls too, so it wasn’t meant to be offensive at all, but we are always trying to broaden out our characters that we bring into our world.

Echoing this, Windsor said, “From the beginning, our goal was always to be inclusive and to, if nothing else, start a dialogue with people. For parents who have gay kids that they don’t support, we didn’t want to hit anyone over the head with a message, but we were very aware of the impact that we have on the community.”

“That’s how change happens,” he added. “Even if we have differing opinions, as long as we’re talking and communicating those opinions with each other, that’s really what’s important to us, so we’re going to continue to try to be as inclusive as we can and keep these dialogues going.”

The pair continued, saying that they wanted to “keep growing and evolving” to make the show as inclusive as possible.

In a tweet, however, Sara Ramirez said that she was dissatisfied with both Casey Johnson and David Windsor’s responses, claiming that they hadn’t addressed the issues raised by the petition.

"Why this specific joke was harmful to our bisexual youth has not been addressed," Ramirez argued. "They do not appear to realize that grouping bisexuality with webbed toes and money problems implies that it is something abnormal or to be feared. They do no seem to understand that the joke feeds biases — some unconscious, some outward, some internalized — against bisexuality from within and outside the LGBTQ community. "Showrunners have a responsibility for how their media impacts various communities."

Ramirez continued to suggest that the showrunners of The Real O’Neals response was “an attempt to end the conversation by not having it, or, at worst, it is a way to get press that might help the show be renewed.”

She then called out for solidarity.

“If we don’t have true solidarity and equality within, how can we accomplish anything together in the world at large?” she asked.

Johnson, Windsor, or ABC have yet to reply to Sara Ramirez’s latest comments.

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