This year’s annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade caused controversy due to a dance number from Broadway musical “The Prom” that featured two women kissing — the first time a same-sex kiss has ever been broadcast during coverage of the family-friendly NYC parade.
Naturally, the kiss was deemed to be offensive by right-wing groups such as ForAmerica, which shared their horrified reactions and lamented how children throughout America had been traumatized.
Enter William Shatner. A social media powerhouse with a track record for suffering neither fools nor bigots who turn up on his Twitter feed, the 87-year-old Montreal native found himself dragged into the debate.
That offhand remark was met with ire by a Twitter user who took issue with the notion that airing a same-sex kiss on TV is “forward-thinking,” and earned a firm rebuke from the former “Star Trek” captain.
“Kissing is kissing no matter who is doing it,” responded Shatner. “If you think it damages a child to show public affection; you are the one who needs help.”
With that, the floodgates were unleashed, with more Twitter users coming forward to disagree, including one offering the dubious claim that “psychiatrists of all backgrounds are seeing the emotional damage learning those lifestyles have done to kids” — which Shatner quickly shot down by setting his phasers to “logic.”
Shatner, by the way, is no stranger to controversy resulting from a televised kiss; in a historic 1968 episode of “Star Trek”, Shatner’s Captain Kirk kissed black Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) in what was television’s first interracial kiss, with NBC brass so nervous about the impact the scene would have on viewers in the still-segregated deep South that a plan was put in place to film two versions: one in which they kissed, another in which they simply embrace.
According to reports, when Shatner found out what was going on, he deliberately botched the take of the embrace by crossing his eyes, forcing NBC to air the only usable footage, which featured the kiss.
Meanwhile, this year also marks the 50th anniversary of Shatner’s debut in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, when he rode atop a float in 1968 in full “Star Trek” regalia.