Chaz Bono returns to OWN, blasts "penguin" jibes

LOS ANGELES Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:32pm EDT

Chaz Bono (R) and Jennifer Elia arrive at the 2011 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 10, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Chaz Bono (R) and Jennifer Elia arrive at the 2011 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok


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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Chaz Bono may have been booted off "Dancing With the Stars" this week, but he will be back on television next month in a second documentary on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) about his life as a transgender man.

Bono, the only child of singer Cher and her late husband Sonny Bono, is the subject of a one-hour special called "Being Chaz", which looks at his life with girlfriend Jennifer Elia following his female-to-male sex change, OWN said on Wednesday.

The November 27 documentary, a follow-up to the 2011 film "Becoming Chaz", will also chronicle Bono's preparation for his controversial debut as the first transgender celebrity on the TV ballroom contest "Dancing with the Stars".

Viewers voted Bono off the TV show on Tuesday after six weeks following a bashing by judges of his "Phantom of the Opera" tango. Judge Bruno Tonioli called Bono "a cute penguin."

Bono, 42, whose inclusion on the dance show triggered a call for a boycott by a conservative Christian group, fired back on Wednesday.

"I got a lot of references from him (Tonioli) about things that would indicate the fact that I'm overweight, you know, a roundness. I was called a basketball, a penguin, an Ewok, and I just didn't appreciate it," Bono said on TV talk show "Good Morning America."

"If you want to critique my dancing and give me some constructive advice so I can try to improve the next time that I'm there, that would be great. But I don't really know how to be less penguinish, and so I kind of took offense to that," he said.

Gay and lesbian rights group GLAAD said in a statement that Bono "has helped countless people better understand what it means to be transgender. He should be commended for both his courage and determination."

When "Becoming Chaz" was first broadcast on OWN in May, it was watched by more than 705,000 viewers, giving the fledgling cable channel one of its biggest audiences since its January launch.

OWN said that it would also broadcast "I am Jazz: A Family in Transition" -- about an 11 year-old transgender girl and her family on November 27.

(This version corrects the 2nd paragraph to clarify Chaz Bono only child of Cher and Sonny Bono)

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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Comments (3)
Lidflipper wrote:
Love Chaz!

Oct 27, 2011 4:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Lidflipper wrote:
Chaz is such a dear. Nobody deserves to be called an ewok or penguin when they’ve just tried their guts out to perform a difficult dance. I guess those DWTS judges just want to make headlines by being mean to contestants.

Oct 27, 2011 5:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BUCKSR wrote:
For starters Chaz did not get “voted off” DWTHS. He simply did not get as many votes as the other dancing teams. Thousands of people (myself included) did not vote to have him removed from the competition. Secondly, Bruno was as cruel as any person can get, a bully beyond measure. His comments were mean, demeaning and totally out of line! Whether it be Chaz or anyone else, comments like that have no place in any competition or even grown up conversation at all. I felt so bad for Chaz, my heart ached. He did not deserve to be called names, that was the opposite of constructive it was cruel. Third, I will not watch DWTS again after that display of cruelness from Bruno week after week to Chaz. Done…

Lastly, I am very proud of you Chaz. You did great and I wish for you all the happiness life has to offer and each tomorrow better than your yesterday! Can’t wait to see your next documentary in November.

Oct 29, 2011 4:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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