The Great British Baking Show rainbow bagel controversy

The Great British Baking Show - Collection 6. Image Courtesy Netflix
The Great British Baking Show - Collection 6. Image Courtesy Netflix /

The Great British Baking Show controversy is about more than baked goods

On last week’s episode of The Great British Baking Show, the bakers were tasked with making rainbow bagels for the technical challenge. While the bakers did a decent job recreating the colorful bagels with little to no help from the recipe, that’s not what people are talking about days after the episode aired.

A bit of a backlash came about when Paul Hollywood talked about what the rainbow represents. Mr. Hollywood said the rainbow represented the British National Health Service or the NHS.

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While he did mention that the rainbow symbol started in the United States, he said nothing about it being the symbol for LGBTQ+ people everywhere. This made a lot of people, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, rightly upset.

The British broadcast regulator received 18 separate complaints due to the lack of acknowledgment of the rainbow being a symbol for the gay community, but it’s deeper than just Paul Hollywood and rainbow bagels.

Hollywood’s comment on The Great British Baking Show has caused lots of upset

In the UK, some people have begun flying the rainbow flag to support the NHS and do not acknowledge the origins of the symbol. With how hard the LGBTQ+ community has worked to gain equal rights, people trying to reclaim the rainbow for their own purposes feels like yet another betrayal.  Especially when some of these people don’t support rights for gay people.

These people seem to feel they can now fly the rainbow flag proudly when before the pandemic, they might have been fine with LGBTQ+ people or anyone wearing a rainbow in solidarity being thrown to the wolves. It’s a slap in the face.

The rainbow is used to show pride. Pride in being who you were meant to be. Pride in being out. Pride in not having to hide anymore. This repurposing is trying to take away and erase all of that and all the work LGBTQ+ activists have done.

Why do people who support the NHS need to take a symbol that’s already in use? Find something else. Why not a flag with a caduceus on it? It would make a lot more sense.

This moment of The Great British Baking Show hurt even more because it happened on a show that has had gay contestants in the past and present. It hurt even more because the show has a gay host, Matt Lucas.

Trying to make the rainbow anything but a symbol of gay rights and equality is just wrong and Paul Hollywood should make a public apology.

It’s not just about a bagel. At this point, the bagel doesn’t even matter. It’s about making sure no one is taking something from an already marginalized community. They’ve fought tooth and nail for everything they have already. Why try to take the rainbow away?

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What’s your take on the rainbow bagel controversy on The Great British Baking Show? Let us know in the comments below.