Like many of the smart women I know, I’m a firm believer in the cathartic power of Bravo TV. After a long week at the office, I turn my brain off and watch whatever completely absurd Bravo show is on at that moment.
Last week’s special was a reunion episode for “Shahs of Sunset,” a show that follows the lives of inexplicably wealthy Persians in Los Angeles. If you haven’t had the pleasure, reunion shows are the most ridiculous (-ly amazing) part of every Bravo reality show, when the cast meets to yell at each other about all the things they were offended by over the entire season. The Shahs definitely put on a good show for the reunion, rehashing all their feuds and drama with intensity and amazing Persian-inspired fashion.
So imagine my surprise when a discussion about the cast trip to Israel took a serious turn after Reza Farahan had some harsh words for his homeland. Farahan, a gay Persian-American Jew who was born in Tehran, flippantly said “f-ck Iran” when a cast-mate expressed concern about traveling to Israel (because, in her words, Israel “wants to bomb Iran”).
Understandably, Golnesa “GG” Gharachedaghi, who strongly identifies with her Persian heritage and regularly visits Iran, took offense at this comment, and delivered a heartfelt speech about the beautiful people in the country she still thinks of as home.
‘The KKK Doesn’t Run America!’
Here is where things got interesting. Instead of apologizing for insulting their shared culture, Farahan doubled down, emphatically calling Iran a “terrorist country led by terrorists,” and specifically citing the treatment of gay men in Iran as justification. He repeatedly pushed back against the regime’s violence, discrimination, and terrorism.
When another cast member pressed him to admit that some people in America don’t celebrate the sexual behavior of gay men, Farahan again rejected a false argument. “The KKK doesn’t run America! If the KKK ran America, I would say ‘f-ck America!’”
The whole exchange (starting 12 minutes in) is worth watching. While Farahan admitted he should have specified that his words were meant for the Iranian government, not the people generally, Farahan didn’t take back his statement even under pressure. He stuck to his honest assessment of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its domestic policy, while defending American government.
A Reality Show Steps Up
In a world where many pundits are afraid to say anything that might offend someone, Farahan’s strong statement is refreshing. This reality star is bolder than half the foreign policy experts in Washington, and he’s criticizing his own homeland! There is no pretense, no effort to sugar-coat the regime’s actions, and certainly no nonsense about Iran being justified in sponsoring terror or inciting violence.
Farahan also wasn’t afraid to clearly praise the United States. Are there people in America who might hate or discriminate against him for being gay or Persian (or heck, for being from LA)? Absolutely. But Farahan didn’t allow his friends to equivocate a few bad people with a bad system of government.
These are common sense positions. It’s great to see America’s reality stars stepping up to state the truth when our political elite won’t.