Actor Tal Kallai, mostly known by his drag-persona name Talula Bonet, was brought in for an interview on Israel’s Channel 10 Friday morning show, and instead of promoting the children’s show he participates in during  Hanukkah, he had to face homophobic comments from the conservative host of the show.


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Kallai, an acclaimed actor, will participate in the children’s show “Ami Ve’Tami” (Hansel and Gretel) and plays Marina, a funny South-American maid who manages an organic-health farm to which the kids arrive, and where no candy is allowed.


“You are not a man who dresses up as a woman,” said host Emily Amrousy to Kallai in the interview. “I’m aghast at the thought of a drag queen acting in a children's show.”

“I am in a very uncomfortable place in this interview,” Amrousy said. “I wouldn’t take my children to a show with a drag queen. I wouldn’t want to explain issues in sexual identity to my 5 year old kid.”

Tal, who after the interview posted a photo on Instagram with the caption ‘I wish I had stayed in the hair and makeup room,’ faced the transphobic attack very well. “This is not the first show I’ve done for kids,” he answered. “I’ve been performing in front of kids in the past, and I have to say that kids don’t really care who I am after the show. If there are any doubts and fears – they exist only on the parents’ side, but the kids? For them it’s just a fun theater show, they accept the characters and don’t have these questions at all.”

The reaction from the LGBT community has being blowing up on social media since the interview. “Is it possible that the people at Channel 10 understand the size of this shame?” asked famous makeup artist and TV personality Miki Buganim. “I’d like to know who’s the editor of this silly morning show, who is the one whispering these dark questions into the ears of the host, who has not been heard of until now.”

“Watching this interview I shrank from the harsh, arrogant and patronizing attitude of Amrousy,” writes former Mako Pride editor Roy Youldous Rosenzweig. “Beyond the basic politeness towards a guest on her show, Amrousy forgot the meaning of the world of theater, the existence of the world of acting, in which anything can happen. Men are women, women are men, everything is larger than life and possible.”

The Aguda, Israeli National LGBT Task Force, has filed a complaint to Channel 10 and the Israel National TV Ombudsman following the unprofessional behavior of the morning show host. “The gender identity, and/or sexual orientation of an actor are irrelevant for this acclaimed actor, and to think that his work could be prevented because of that  is something that has no place in Israeli society of 2014, especially on the TV screen.”

Oded Fried, the CEO of the Aguda, later posted his personal support of Kallai. “I’m proud of Tal for standing strong against the dark statements of the host on the live broadcast. Unfortunately, we are still witnessing many LGBTphobia incidents, and we should do whatever we can in order to overthrow this phenomenon.”


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