The New York Mets, bowing to pressure from fans who accused them of homophobia for showing two opposing players on their “Kiss Cam,” decided to end the practice.
The team plans to continue to focus cameras on unsuspecting couples, as Turner Field last night did with the former First Couple. But they promise to avert the cameraman’s gaze from teammates.
The Mets released a statement to HuffPost Live asserting they have given up the joke:
We have, on occasion, included players from opposing teams in our popular in-game Kiss Cam feature. While intended to be lighthearted, we unintentionally offended some. We apologize for doing so and no longer will include players in the feature. Our organization is wholly supportive of fostering an inclusive and respectful environment at games.
The Jumbotron at Citi Field had featured heterosexual couples in the crowd kissing, then shifted to two players from the opposing team, which offended Mets fan Etan Bednarsh. In April, Bednarsh tweeted his request that the Mets stop the practice:
.@Mets Putting two men together on the kiss cam isn’t a punch line. I want to keep coming to games. Please stop doing this.
— Etan Bednarsh (@EBednarsh) April 15, 2015
Bednarsh stimulated other fans to join the chorus demanding the Mets stop the joke. The Mets were accused of being homophobic, imbecilic, and told to “grow the f*** up.” Bednarsh kept hammering away, tweeting on September 1:
.@Mets Hoping this will be an easy answer: Will you commit to not showing two men on the kiss cam in order to get laughs?
— Etan Bednarsh (@EBednarsh) September 1, 2015
On Thursday, Bednarsh appeared on HuffPost Live’s “Queerview,” where host Josh Zepps told him the Mets had capitulated.
Criticism of showing two men kissing had surfaced long before 2015. In 2012. Oakland A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy blasted the practice, tweeting, “They put two guys on the ‘Kiss Cam’ tonight. What hilarity!! (by hilarity I mean offensive homophobia). Enough with this stupid trend.”