Were Jada Pinkett Smith's Recent Comments at Harvard Too 'Heteronormative'?

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Mar. 8, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Another controversy at Harvard, this one over something called "heteronormative" remarks made by actress Jada Pinkett Smith (search), the wife of Will Smith. We'll define heteronormative in a moment. I can hardly say it.

But, apparently Ms. Smith received an award from Harvard and then told the crowd that women in America can have it all, a good career, family, devoted husband, things like that. According to the Harvard "Crimson" newspaper, some gays objected to Ms. Smith's remarks because they were directed at heterosexuals exclusively, thus "heteronormative."

An editor at the "Crimson" was supposed to be here today. She got scared. However, we are pleased to have Margaret Barusch, the co-chair of Harvard's Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters Alliance.

Wow, that's some business card there, Ms. Barusch.

All right. So Ms. Smith gets up there and gives a speech. She's happy to be at Harvard getting this award, and she says, hey, you know, have that family, the great husband, the job, you can you do it, ba, ba, babuh, and gays got offended?

MARGARET BARUSCH, HARVARD UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Well, let me put this in perspective. First of all, this is at an event called "Cultural Rhythms," which is a fantastic set of student performances. There's like dancers from the Philippines, there's step dancing, all sorts of fantastic performances.

So this is like an absolutely amazing event. People put a ton of time into it. Lots of my friends were in it. It was a fantastic event. So I don't want to take that out of perspective. I think what's been taken out of perspective here is that the "Crimson" and all other national media sources have really only reported about this one small issue and not this fantastic performance.

O'REILLY: OK. Well, let me just break this to you. Nobody cares about the fantastic performance. No one, all right? No one watching me tonight cares about it. It's nice you have it. I'm glad you had a good time. We want to know why some gays were offended by Ms. Smith's remarks. Go ahead.

BARUSCH: I don't think -- I've never used the words offended with regards to these remarks. I just want to like show you essentially what happened after the remarks, was that a few students approached the Harvard Foundation (search) and had a very friendly conversation over a meal in a dining hall -- it's college students. We're very friendly, right? -- and had a conversation about it, and no one went to the media, no one demanded an apology. This was really not a big deal.

O'REILLY: All right. Are you saying that...

BARUSCH: Let me...

O'REILLY: ... gays were offended. But, look, I've only got five minutes. I don't -- I can't get to the dinner and all of that. Are you saying no gays on Harvard's campus were offended by Ms. Smith's remarks because that's 180 degrees opposite what the Crimson reported.

BARUSCH: I think people -- a few people were upset, but let me show you what else was on the front page of the Crimson that day.

O'REILLY: Well, what were they upset about?

BARUSCH: Let me show you what else was on the front page: "Athletes Scarf Down Donuts."

O'REILLY: Ms. Barusch, nobody cares -- nobody cares about what was on the front page.

BARUSCH: No. There was no news that day. This is not news. This was not...

O'REILLY: All right. Why were the few gay people offended by Ms. Smith's remarks? Do you know, madam?

BARUSCH: I can predict why some people might have been upset.

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

BARUSCH: I don't think that this was intentional at all. I think that a few people were upset due to some instructions that she gave men and women on how to -- it was instructions given to them on who they should form relationships with and how, and I think people just felt left out. I don't think anyone was offended.

O'REILLY: So they felt left out.

BARUSCH: Nothing was -- there was nothing homophobic. This was not a big deal at all. This...

O'REILLY: All right. So what Ms. Smith...

BARUSCH: ... is a small, small incident on campus.

O'REILLY: I got it. So what Ms. Smith should have done at Harvard was instead of saying, well, you can -- women can have it all, she should have said and you lesbians can have it all? If she should -- if she threw in "and you lesbians," that would have been OK?

BARUSCH: No, no. That's not...

O'REILLY: She didn't...

BARUSCH: ... what I'm saying at all. I think that Ms. Smith's speech was very, very thoughtful, in fact, like extremely insightful and that the part about women, you can have it all was exactly right on, and I'm really glad that she said that.

It was the instructions she gave to the audience that upset some people, and I think that the portrayal as if the entire gay community agreed on this issue is just not true.

I mean, I think that to think that the "Crimson" could have such an unnuanced approach to reporting the story, and I'm glad that you're bringing in a much more nuanced approach to like...

O'REILLY: Yeah, I can't defend the "Crimson" because they're too afraid to come on, but I can't imagine anybody being offended by a woman getting up there and saying, hey, ladies, you can have it all, and, if she's directing it toward the heterosexual community, which is like 94 percent of the population, maybe she just forgot to include the lesbians.

Ms. Barusch, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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