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Netflix’s ‘Queer Eyes’ Dance Teacher, Terri White, Accused of Alleging Racism and Homophobia

Everyone’s favorite fun reality show Queer Eye returns for a sixth season on New Year’s Eve, this time with the Fab Five on their way to Texas, looking for a new batch of worthy candidates to transform their lives for the better.

One of those lucky participants was Terri White, who kicked off the new season when Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, and Bobby Berk visited her at her family’s Broken Spoke, an institution in Austin that has been regular by the likes of Dolly Parton, Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson and Clint Eastwood.

White is the venue’s resident two-step instructor, teaching weekly classes on mastering traditional Southern dance, as well as Cotton-Eyed Joe and Western Swing dances. “Everybody needs to drop bitchin’ together and have a good time,” she told the first person on the show.

The plot of the fiery 58-year-old grandmother focuses on mending her relationship with daughter Ashley. But perhaps Netflix should do a more thorough vetting process before allowing White to attract attention and unwittingly advertise her family business to a nationwide audience; as Gawker recently pointed out, Broken Spoke’s Yelp reviews are flooded with accusations of homophobia and discrimination.

White herself has been directly named in numerous reviews, as past clients affirm that the business’s longtime (and seemingly only) dance coach has appreciated her lessons racist remarks, taunts tripping newcomers, and making derogatory comments about people’s physical appearance.

Netflix did not return The Daily Beast’s repeated request for comment. Porowski, Brown, Van Ness, France, and Berk also did not respond to requests for comment.

Through a statement provided to The Daily Beast by Ginny White-Peacock, Broken Spoke’s general manager and White’s sister White denied the claims against her. White-Peacock also stated that White is not an employee of Broken Spoke and does not own any parts of the business, adding that White is in a contractor-type position where customers pay her directly. it for classes.

“We have been in business for 57 years and we do not discriminate against anyone because of their race, gender or sexual orientation,” added White-Peacock. “We have people visit Broken Spoke from all over the world and they all love it and have a great time founding us. We have and will always take real claims of discrimination seriously.”

But past customers, Austin locals, and more than a dozen Yelp reviews over the past few years tell another side of the story.

“Watching that is no fun,” Portland-based writer and photographer Karla Margeson told The Daily Beast after seeing the latest season of the series. Queer Eye and saw White, of everyone, on her TV screen.

Margeson, who uses the pronoun she/they, flew to Austin in February 2020 for the sole purpose of taking two-step lessons and signed up for White’s class at Broken Spoke.

But shortly after the lesson began, Margeson said they felt White had targeted them because of their looks, and that White had picked them out in front of the whole class. Margeson explained in a recent TikTok: “She calls for random people to be examples. “I’m always in the spotlight — I’m 6 feet tall, I have all these tattoos, like I stand out a little bit.”

“They partnered with me with a guy, we were dancing, and I sucked because this was my first lesson. That’s why I’m here and she’s literally roasting me in front of a crowd talking about how I can’t navigate, I don’t have a rhythm, look how ugly this girl is, don’t be like she. At one point, she literally yelled into the microphone, “Her next tattoo should be ‘loser’ on her forehead because she’s so bad at this.”

Margeson immediately left when class ended, and unfortunately, the bad experience was their last big outing before the pandemic hit the following month. So when Margeson adjusted the new part of Queer Eye On New Year’s Eve, she was surprised to see White front and center.

“It was hard for me to get to know her because I know she is very abusive to excitable and excitable people, I have no excuse for that,” Margeson said. “Learn anything” [or] Being new in anything is a vulnerable position, especially something you’re excited about. To have someone choose you for it — it’s just a terrible thing to do. ”

“I think that’s really unfortunate because so many people will never take another dance lesson or never try something new again after such a situation,” they said. added.

Margeson’s experience isn’t an isolated one, and it even seems to lean toward the purist when sifting through the rest of the reviews on Broken Spoke’s Yelp sites, where people often accuse White of insulting the sites. class members, making racist and misleading comments and other inappropriate behavior.

“The instructor, Terri, is the most inappropriate, classless excuse for a human,” commented Kat M., Yelp user, in November. “The instructor spent the first 40 minutes. of ‘dance classes’ to make obscene remarks about the appearance and race of different people. I fell victim to verbal assault due to my choice of outfit. She called me a ‘thin slut’ whose mother should ‘beat me up’ for wearing Jean shorts. She then went on to make racist comments towards an Asian woman next to me… I would not recommend this class to anyone visiting the Austin area.”

“I think the teacher is completely inappropriate, I believe her name is Terri,” another reviewer wrote in October. “She grabbed my breasts and called me a bitch bitch. subject. I believe it is meant to be a cute funny routine. If you think it’s funny, this is the class for you. Personally, I won’t be back.”

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ILANA PANICH-LINSMAN / NETFLIX

Another claimed that White was “aggressively joking” with paying customers, “calling women “delicious bitches”, telling us how stupid we looked, asked if we were “skulls, etc.”

“They should rename their 2-step lesson ‘Misogyny 101,’ a review from 2017 reads. “At one point she asked all the women to turn around so the men could see our curves, and this was the only time she showed steps ahead of the ladies.”

Another wrote: “We received no instructions from the teachers of the bad breath women. “She spent time insulting and sexually abusing both men and women. That’s right — when she’s spouting profanity at her regular intervals, she’s harassing and insulting men and women. “

“The dance instructor was unforgivably racist and sexist,” another Yelper summed up his 2015 experience. “Come to dance, but don’t pay for lessons.”

The harsh reviews also targeted Broken Spoke in general, as several students from the University of Austin claimed that when they visited in late October 2021, management referred to their team members as “theirs” little brown girls” and “little brown boys”.

Other patrons said they’ve heard staff and bartenders make offensive and racist remarks towards guests of color, with one employee complaining about people who don’t speak English. Brother.

A local Austin resident, who was chosen not to be named by The Daily Beast, has interacted with the White family for more than two decades and admitted they have witnessed White make disparate comments.

“I definitely heard [things],” they explained, “I remember rolling my eyes and stuff like that when I heard her say, like, ‘Did she really just say that?”

“It may not be as pervasive as some might say, but it’s definitely a thing,” they added. “They are a long-standing conservative family in the tradition of Texas. Honestly, I think it’s more homophobia than racism. At least that’s what I’ve observed. People will tell little jokes and it’s a bit racist, but not so much, you know, it’s enough to have a legitimate denial. But homophobic — they’ll slap someone on the shoulder and tell them they can’t do it, if it’s like two women dancing or if they’re sitting too close. ”

Austin locals explained that Broken Spoke didn’t always have such a reputation, adding that White and her mother, co-owner Annetta White, appear to be the main perpetrators of the offences. They added that things started going downhill about a decade ago, when founder and owner James White became less active in the day-to-day dealings of the venue. James White passed away in January 2021.

But according to local reports from 2016, Broken Spoke was previously set on fire when two women claimed they were berated and asked to stop kissing by Annetta while visiting the venue. One of the women said they were approached “after I leaned over the counter to kiss my partner and yelled at us that we could do it outside or somewhere else, but couldn’t.” in her bar”.

At the time, James White denied the claims were homophobic, insisting that they told all couples the same things, regardless of sexual orientation. “We tell them the same way,” said James White Austin 360 after the 2016 incident, “We don’t mind a peck on the cheek; we just don’t like it when it becomes passionate. ”

Unfortunately that Queer Eye chose to support an establishment with a number of homophobia and racism-related charges against it, not to mention White himself, who has been accused of being one of the masterminds behind the claims. insult review. (However, it is possible that some of the background of White and Broken Spoke was missed during the program’s screening of potential candidates.)

Perhaps more importantly, it was a missed opportunity for the show to accomplish what it originally set out to do: break down barriers and stigmas when it comes to sex and race, while broadening the perspectives of those who don’t. who may not have interacted closely with a person of color or a peculiar person.

“I’m not surprised they choose people who are a bit grumpy, angry at the world, and maybe rude,” says Margeson. “I’ve seen enough [of the show] but I guess they’re trying to change people’s minds. I understand that’s what they’re recruiting for. But God, this has crossed the line of ‘rough around the edge’, this is a very problematic person and has caused a lot of hurt… I just think the way she acts towards other people is inexcusable. curable. “

https://www.thedailybeast.com/netflixs-queer-eye-dance-teacher-terri-white-is-dogged-by-accusations-of-racism-and-homophobia?source=articles&via=rss Netflix’s ‘Queer Eyes’ Dance Teacher, Terri White, Accused of Alleging Racism and Homophobia

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