Controversy erupted on the Fox reality series “Stars on Mars” featuring Lance Armstrong and Ronda Rousey in the last episode.
The disgraced cyclist shared his views on transgender athletes in sports, leaving the cast surprised at his outspoken attitiude.
The show, which features celebrities and athletes placed in unfamiliar scenarios, took an unexpected turn as Armstrong addressed former UFC champion Ronda Rousey, questioning the fairness of creating a separate category for trans women in sports.
Rousey is an MMA veteran and was quite outspoken at the time about her disdain for Fallon Fox.
Rousey then told the New York Post that while she personally had no problem competing against hermaphrodites in the Olympics, someone who made the decision to change gender like Fox is a completely different story:
“It’s not something that happened to [Fox]. It was a decision she made. She should be aware in her career after that, it’s going to be an arduous path. I don’t know why she’s surprised by that. It’s going to draw a lot of emotions.”
“What if she became UFC champion and we had a transgender women’s champion? It’s a very socially difficult situation.”
This time Rousey took a back seat to Lance Armstrong who took the brunt of the backlash.
Former Modern Family star Ariel Winter rolled her eyes in response, while singer Tinashe emphasized the importance of not otherizing people. Real Housewife Porsha Williams pointed out the inappropriateness of discussing such controversial topics in a reality show setting.
Figure skater Adam Rippon, who overheard the conversation from across the living quarters, shared his thoughts on the uncomfortable exchange. Rippon, an openly gay former Olympian, expressed his disappointment, stating, “It was just so inappropriate… Especially on this cute little reality show where we all had to live together for weeks on end.”
Armstrong continued to discuss the topic at a subsequent dinner, claiming that America lacks willingness to engage in uncomfortable conversations. Rippon, while not afraid of difficult discussions, highlighted the need for a comprehensive conversation that includes trans athletes, researchers, and genuine advocates for women’s sports. He expressed his disinterest in hearing the opinions of someone who is known for cheating in the world of sports.
Following the incident, Armstrong doubled down on his position on Twitter and promoted his new series, “The Forward,” which features conversations with Caitlyn Jenner about trans inclusion in sports.
Rippon contemplated whether to continue on the show as an ally and LGBTQ+ icon. Ultimately, he decided to stay, encouraged by his husband and a close friend. However, he admitted feeling uncomfortable due to the personal nature of the conversation and its impact on the transgender community.
The tension between the cast members persisted even after the topic was seemingly resolved. Winter confronted Armstrong off-camera, reminding him of his scandal and the PED abuse ring he was involved in. This confrontation caused a shift in the dynamics among the cast.