Critic thinks Modern Family’s Mitch and Cam ‘set gay rights back’. He couldn’t be more wrong

Mitch and Cam in Modern Family. (ABC)

An online critic who claimed Modern Family characters Mitch and Cam “set gay rights back to the ‘90s” has been thoroughly educated on why their comment is so wrong.

Adam Ellis tweeted a photo of the sitcom couple, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitch) and Eric Stonestreet (Cam) with his opinion.

He added: “The fact that Eric Stonestreet, a straight man, received two Emmys for performing a toxic caricature of gay men, in a show created by two straight men, certainly does not make me feel great!”
Ferguson, who is gay, was one of many people to comment on the post, replying to say: “Literal example of ‘can’t make everyone happy'”, as others also leapt to the defence of the TV couple. 

When Modern Family first aired in 2009 there were very few examples of stable gay couples on American network television.

A GLAAD representative told IndieWire in 2020: “Modern Family hit the air at the moment it was most needed and became part of the culture change wave that lead to some of the real-world wins we’ve seen.

“[Modern Family] let viewers, particularly ones who may not have been tuning into other inclusive series on cable or streaming, get to know and love a gay couple in all their ups and downs and trials and tribulations.”

People in the comments on Ellis’ tweet echoed these thoughts, with one person writing: “This was one of the first times a gay couple was easily accessible by just tuning into your local network”

While another added: “When I watched this show after few years after I came out it affirmed to me that gays are normal. Gays are mainstream.”

Another agreed: “[It was] one of the first times where I saw gay people represented as exactly the same as everyone else and could watch the show with my family and not have it be about them being gay. [It] gave me lots of confidence to eventually come out.”

Others also began responded to comments that it was exclusively written by straight men, pointing out that two of the major producers and writers on the show, Abraham Higginbotham and Jeffrey Richman, were gay.

Perhaps one of Cam and Mitch’s more powerful moments was when they married in season five, which coincided with a direct positive increase in polling for marriage equality in the US.

The show also received endorsements from the Obamas and Ann Romney on the 2012 presidential campaign trail.

While some accept the couple’s representation may not have always been perfect, they acknowledge the positive strides made by having this couple on primtime television.

“It is the only time by traditional Indian parents watched a gay wedding episode,” one person wrote. 

Another added: “This show was a big deal in my family growing up and seeing how receptive my parents were of a gay couple in a show we loved so much gave me the courage to explore my sexuality and be more open with them.”

In a poll run by Hollywood Reporter in 2012 they found that 27% of people said gay TV such as Modern Family and Glee made them more pro-gay marriage, a notable increase from previous polls.