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May 31, 2012  | by: Natalia Weiner

TLC's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, a show from England that follows the secret lives of Roma Gypsies and Irish Travelers, dominates the world of “Glamazons” as they deck out their daughters in bling and marry them off before they reach the age of 18. On April 30 at 10 pm, TLC revealed that Gypsies not only reside in Europe, but also Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and West Virginia. The girls on My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding are just as dolled up and twice as wild as their European counterparts and their parties rival those from across the pond.

From a look the TLC comment page, it looks as if there has been some controversy concerning the portrayal of Gypsies in the show. God mother of some of the younger girls on the show, Sabrina Harrison Jones, comments, “I want to let everyone know the kids in the picture are my god kids not my kids. tlc and firecracker studios have this all backwards were not prparing a six yr old for a husbadn or lookin for one we was lookin to get them baptised and don’t put words in our mouth we don’t like it.”

Lisa Marie Ashley, a woman claiming to be a “real” Romani Gypsy, reached out to Jones: “Sabrina, the young girls in these pictures look lovely. It seems as though TLC enjoys making us look bad. I have also heard that some families were lied to about the title of the show. They make our men look like pigs & are women look like we have no goals in life. It is a true shame.”

People have also been reporting controversies on other reality shows involving over-the-top antics and crazy characters. For example, a source states that on Lifetime’s Dance Moms, young dancer Chloe did not “forget her dance” on stage. Instead, she was told to pretend that she forgot and run off. Would TLC, a TV network that prides itself on its quality documentaries, be purposefully portraying Gypsies in a bad light?

In another comment, Ashley states: “TLC is taking advantage of the fact that Americans know very little or absolutely nothing about the Romani people. There would never be a ‘My Big Fat Jewish Deli’ show. There would never be a show about Puerto Rican people stealing cars. It’s outright wrong. They are modifying our culture and claiming these are our customs & traditions.”

Ashley states that she plans to take action by writing a letter to TLC. For now, it looks as if the real lives of Roma Gypsies will remain a secret.

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