Oh Bali, did you really just disappoint a member of the Fab Five?
One of the stars of hit Netflix show Queer Eye, Bobby Berk, visited the island of the Gods recently. Sadly, he may have left Bali with a sour taste, as he took to Twitter yesterday to express his disappointment upon reading news that local authorities were looking into allegations of villas that may be exclusively catering to the gay community.
“Well this is very disappointing to read on my last day visiting,” Bobby tweeted.
“Won’t be recommending or coming back if this is now how the government here is going to act.”
Well this is very disappointing to read on my last day visiting. Won’t be recommending or coming back if this is now how the government here is going to act. “Bali villas investigated for ‘catering to gays’ and ‘tainting’ island’s reputation” #Bali #LGBTQ https://t.co/KnbWdHZr7J
— Bobby Berk (@bobbyberk) January 14, 2020
In case you missed it: a villa in Seminyak went viral last week and prompted authorities to look into allegations that it was exclusive for the gay community. The news has sparked concerning responses from authorities on the island, including a comment from the head of Badung’s cultural agency, I Made Badra, who said the existence of such villa is tainting Bali tourism’s reputation.
And, if it just so happens that you don’t know who Bobby Berk or the Fab Five are, and even what Queer Eye is… Well, hunny, you’re in for a treat.
Bobby is a Fab Five member of Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot, a show where five gay men provide makeovers for people in need. Bobby, for his part, is an interior design expert, and along with the other cast members they’ve pretty much become a cultural phenomenon in recent years, much beloved for their positivity, cheer for self-love and being absolute sweethearts. If you’ve now decided to join the chorus and watch an episode, let us warn you – you might need some tissues.
As for this alarming news in Bali, we can’t really argue against Bobby there, though we here at Coconuts Bali would just love it if he comes to visit again. Maybe he’ll have the other Fab Five members come along next time? (Not that we’d get to meet ‘em or anything, but one can dream.)
We’ve reached out to Bobby for comments, and will update this story as soon as we get a response.
It might also be worth noting that anti-LGBT sentiment unfortunately run high across Indonesia and the country has witnessed a disturbing rise in persecution against LGBT individuals in recent years.
Bali has long held a reputation of being a generally more tolerant region, and gay establishments (though perhaps not always marketed as such) have long coexisted on the island, providing good times for many queer individuals from around the world.
For what it’s worth, authorities on the island are pretty much obsessed with reputation and recent events may indicate yet another attempt to keep that reputation a certain way. At the very least, our experience here tells us that the people of Bali are some of the most welcoming, chill and tolerant people you’ve ever met, and we hope the government will continue to embody those same qualities.
Aside from being disturbed by the rightly concerning news, Bobby seems to have had quite a fun vacation with his surgeon husband, Dewey Do, as seen on his Instagram. Let’s hope that means he’ll come back sometime.
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