“The Fosters” made history in March when the TV drama aired the youngest ever same-sex kiss on TV. At a panel for the show at ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, co-creator Peter Paige again addressed the controversy surrounding the episode and discussed how the relationship between Jude and Connor will evolve in Season 3.
“That’s never been done on television before, seeing two 13-year-olds navigate young love and they both happen to be boys,” Paige said. “Gay adults start as gay kids. … Now they’ve got to figure out how to be with each other and be with family, friends and the communities at school. So, there’s a lot for them to navigate this season.”
When the kiss was first met with backlash, Paige and co-creator Bradley Bredeweg stood staunchly by their choice. “It was time to see this, time to put this up for the world,” Bredeweg told the The Wrap.
In a sit-down interview with The Huffington Post Saturday, Paige said he was met with no hesitation from the ABC Family network prior to the episode and saw all resulting “controversy” as a small minority of particularly loud people.
“99.5 percent of people [said], ‘Oh my god, it’s so beautiful, I can’t believe it happened! I’m team Jonnor!,'” he said over drinks at the Roaring Fork restaurant. “It was one half of 1 percent of people who were disgusted.”
Paige elaborated at the panel. “The first time we received controversy was with the Jonnor kiss,” he said. “That was the first time we received backlash, and I submit again: How old were you when you had your first kiss?”
One audience member asked when Paige knew Jude would be gay, how the actors dealt with the scene and whether their real-life parents had been okay with it.
“That goes back to before he was cast,” Paige said. “Everyone who came in to test for it, it was made very, very clear where we wanted to take the story. Same with Connor. We knew all along that some version of these stories [was] going to be told and we needed people who were on board with helping us tell them.”
Lauren Duca is currently covering the ATX Television Festival for The Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter @laurenduca and expect much more to come!