LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26 (UPI)–Sofia Vergara was put on a pedestal during Monday night’s Emmy Awards — allegedly to showcase diversity — as the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences President Bruce Rosenblum gave a speech about the mission and values of American television, but the execution fell flat — failing to cleverly point out sexism in the entertainment industry — and has been harshly criticized on social media.
“This has been a terrific year for American television and our shows continue to have a meaningful impact around the world. So to demonstrate we’d love for you to stand on this revolving platform,” Rosenblum told the actress as the crowd laughed.
Vergara joined in on the joke and said she’d do it even though she found it “a bit unnecessary” and stood up on the revolving platform showing off her curves as Rosenblum continued his speech.
“Our Academy is more diverse than ever before, both in front of and behind the camera,” he continued, alluding to Vergara’s nationality. “Resulting in a greater diversity of storytelling. What truly matters is that we never forget that our success is based on always giving the viewers something compelling to look at.”
Vergara then got off the platform noting that, “That’s why I stopped doing the car shows,” and the crowd erupted in laughter, but the internet didn’t feel the same way.
“I love @SofiaVergara but did anyone find that schtick somewhat offensive?” tweeted Katie Couric.
“What a wonderful time for women on television! Besides Sofia Vergara!!” wrote Hillary Busis.
“Sophia Vergara is the highest paid actress on TV and they just made a joke of her. This show is a fucking disgrace,” noted user @moby_dickhead.
The Modern Family star addressed the criticism backstage at the show and dismissed the backlash that ensued the performance as “ridiculous.”
“I think its absolutely the opposite. It means that somebody can be hot and also be funny and make fun of herself,” Vergara said upon learning about the response to the skit. “I think it’s ridiculous that somebody started this — I know who she was — who has no sense of humour [and should] lighten up a little bit.”