Did ABC get more than they bargained for with the Fowler/Stephens Swap?

Did ABC get more than they bargained for with the Fowler/Stephens Swap?

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Our thanks to guest blogger Elizabeth Prata:

Stephen Fowler will live in Wife Swap infamy as the most boorish and abusive of husbands ever to host a swapped wife. The day after this infamous episode the internet is howling. Why? Let me count the ways.

 Liberal, upper crust, environmentally conscious, highly educated, weight appropriate San Franciscans were to swap wives with the Missouri small town ATV riding, paintball playing, overweight Middle Americans in the January 30th episode. The show in and of itself pairs couples that hold diametrically opposing views on just about everything from religion to politics to fish sticks; a recipe for conflict and emotional challenge in any situation. Nothing new there. However, the pairing on January 30th for the first time, added abuse to the mix. And that crossed line has gotten the audience into a stark raving tizzy.

 Regular watchers know that most husbands on the show hold dearly to their viewpoints. Occasionally they are bombastic about it, but usually the audience member by the show’s conclusion is treated to a release, in that each pair learned something and all’s well that ends well.

 In the case of the Fowler-Long swap, husband Stephen Fowler, a Briton, immediately trumpeted his education and intelligence as a license to demean all others he estimates as below him. “I never answer a question that has been asked of me twice.” And to him, just about everyone is below him. He bragged about his wealth, his degrees, his position in the world, his maid, his trophy children. And that was just the intro.

When Gayla Long arrived she was respectful and eager, at least as far as one could tell from the editing. However almost immediately Mr Fowler called her obese and uneducated, which shortly devolved into just calling her fat and stupid and mercilessly mocked her vocabulary. “Oh, you used the word agenda, that’s a big word for you,” Mr Fowler said at one point in front of his children. In another moment, he pointed to Mrs. Long and said to his children, “This is what happens if you don’t get your education.” Humiliated, Mrs. Long cried in the back yard, yet Mr. Fowler continued his attacks. Worse, he looked like he enjoyed them. The verbal abuse continued throughout the show, but Mrs. Long was restrained and to her credit kept trying to reach him, mostly for his children’s sakes.

 When it came time for Mrs. Long to lay down her rules, Mr.  Fowler reared up and exhibited even more deliberate cruelty than ever before seen on the five year history of the show. But wait, there’s more.

 Mr Fowler stopped the taping. He insisted on a meeting with the producers because he deemed Mrs. Long’s rules unnecessary and as a result refused to go along with them. The show had never seen participant out and out renege on their show obligations, but there you have it. Subsequently, Mr Fowler then ordered his children not to talk with Mrs Long, and to ignore her completely. They would pass her in the hall and never look back as she tried to covnerse with them. Mr Fowler did the same, at one point ordering her out of his room and slamming the door in her face as she was talking. Crushed, she packed and went to a hotel. It must have been a long, lonely night for her.

 Mr Fowler’s derision of our military, of small-town America, of those with a different educational path, of overweight people, were all grating in the extreme and were enough in themselves to galvanize an audience to ire. Mr Fowler’s intentionally negative and cruel focus on Mrs Long’s weight is an ultimate irony: Mr Fowler’s own wife is a weight coach for obese people and is associated with Weight Watchers.

 There has not been a person so cruel, so pompous, so arrogant, so infuriating on Wife Swap in its five-year history. Still, why the severe outrage?

 A moral line has been crossed. A show participant was needlessly and constantly cruel. There was no intervention from show producers. Other show participants have had their displays of temper but there is an enormous difference between being challenged to stretch your worldview and becoming irritated because of it, and what happened on the Fowler-Long episode. Mrs Long was purposely debased, Mr Fowler reneged on his obligations, and yet ABC continued with the pairing. Allowing cruelty for the sake of ratings is unconscionable, and the ABC audience viewing the mess that was last night’s episode is heartbroken and outraged over it.

Elizabeth Prata is a writer living in Georgia. She is the author of  “The Quiet Life” blog.

59 COMMENTS

  1. From Iowa (fix’d);
    The Midwest’s gift for the West Coast:

    http://www.blogger.com/profile/07239305714543351279
    http://www.fulcrumfund.com/manage/
    http://pacificenvironment.org/article.php?id=280
    http://terranovabio.blogspot.com/

    Terranova Bioenergy
    900 Larkspur Landing Circle, #205
    Larkspur. CA 94939

    Stephen Fowler
    sfowler@terranovabio.com
    415.648.0808
    415.648.4811

    stephenfowler@yahoo.com
    415.229.4665

    Renée is an inspiring motivational speaker, seminar leader, and coach whose focus is on creating positive and lasting change, from the boardroom to the beach. She can be contacted at renee@personallifemedia.com or at 206.350.5333.
    http://www.facebook.com/people/Renee-Stephens/758773364

  2. The real reason he upsets people is that he is the biggest BIGOT ever. He derides anyone who he feels is not his intellectual equal, of which I am sure he has never met such a person.
    I watched his wife roll her eyes whenever he opened his piehole. I only hope his wife sees the stuff I am sure that was unairable, to use in the divorce/child endangerment proceedings. Those parents who named their children after their “nazi heroes” are on par for scarring their children with that “man” Fowler. He chose to demean and attack her incessantly for her “lack of education”, when it seemed to me he was the one lacking wisdom. Knowledge without wisdom is like owning every candle and having no match. Pointless, useless and flagrantly foolish.

    PS I give the other husband so much credit for being open to the experience enough to beable to see anothers point of view and learn from it. I also give him credit for not reaching across the table at the “face to face” ripping the “Mr” Fowler’s tongue out and beating him half to death with it when he insulted his wife and family, after I am sure his wife had told him how awful the experience had been for her.

  3. I’ve never posted regarding a television show before but the absolute hatred that spewed out of Stephen Fowler was absolutely disgusting. He incited feeling of rage that were surprising to myself.

    As a result of this man’s “brains” I’m certain that both his and his wife’s services will be boycotted. He’ll receive negative mailings to both his home address, business, e-mail, and his wife’s business and email. He’s already threatened to sue realityrollcall for a posting of his address. Sadly for him his address is easily found in San Fran and I’m sure he will hear about this for years. I would hope he could change but have the feeling his hatred will only intensify.
    Pacific Environment, Mind For Body, Sunlink, Terranova Bioenergy, ForestEthics, are sadly going to see very quickly the power of a negative person and the power of the internet and the fast network of boycotters that develops. After his family vocalized their unpatriotic attitudes in a time of 2 wars how could he not realize his ignorant thoughts would be broadcasted nationally. Too bad for him. Hopefully he changes his views!

  4. Excellent. I truly think at some point the line gets crossed. People MUST tell ABC — you people are publicly shaming our country and its values by giving a forum to these awful human beings — and supplying them money as a reward for their pomposity!

  5. As a British ex-pat living in Canada, I am truly mortified, embarrassed and horrified by Stephen Fowler’s behaviour on Wife Swap.

    For all his arrogance and pomposity, he demonstrated that – contrary to his own belief – he has absolutely no class at all. He seems to believe that class comes with money, education and the ability to intimidate.

    He’s wrong. Gayla Long has more class in her little finger than Stephen Fowler will ever have.

    He is nothing but a low-class, emotionally-disconnected, ego-maniac who feeds his self-esteem by controlling and demeaning others.

    What a poor, sad, little man.

    Gayla Long should be suing him for mental cruelty and libel.

    As far as Renee is concerned, we should feel sorry for her. I wonder what kind of emotional baggage she is carrying to even want to be around a man like that.

    I can’t even comment on their children except to feel terribly sorry for them. They had so much fun paintballing and having their friends over, but were too frightened even to admit it.

    Bravo, Gayla, for your dignity and integrity. You showed the world how classy and real middle-Americans really are.

    Sorry, must end this. I’m having corn-dogs for dinner and heading off to the paintball centre!

    PS: I bet he’s lousy in the sack!!

  6. Bravo Elizabeth you hit the nail on the head with your review. This weasel and his wife who is marginally better are now reaping the whirlwind and it is well deserved. Pacific Environment, Mind For Body, Sunlink, Terranova Bioenergy, ForestEthics, and Weight Watchers International should all be contacted to express your feelings about their ongoing association with these people. ABC has sunk to a new low and the fallout of this show will not be pretty either.

  7. Let me add my kudos to Elizabeth for such a well-written and insightful piece. That’s it, exactly.

    And on her blog, the Fowlers’ friend, Hollis Something-or-other, dismissed the public reaction as “mob mentality.” I, for one, am proud of those that refused to laugh and ridicule along with Stephen. And why does Hollis have to defend Stephen? Where is he? He certainly was big and brave and mouthy enough when he was bullying and eviscerating Gayla.

    I watched that entire episode with my heart in my throat. And now Stephen is whining? He deserves everything he’s getting.

  8. I found the show enlightening. Should be a lesson for all. Just remember the next time you see someone less fortunate than yourselves and react appropriately.

  9. “Just remember the next time you see someone less fortunate than yourselves and react appropriately.”

    i see this everywhere…

    Less fortunate? 6 ATVs, 15k’s worth of paintball equipment, a big house, some space-age looking laundry equipment and restaurant food almost every night… Lets please not pretend that Gayla’s family is somehow in a bad economic situation. I think its safe to say their method of living and priorities are personal choices and not the result of any financial problems.

    Stephen is a jerk, yeah. There’s comment after comment parroting this over and over. Congratulations on stating the obvious. Get over it. There are jerks everywhere, this one just happened to be on TV for an hour. He has become the official jerk mascot. That guy who cut in line in front of you yesterday? that’s Stephen. That guy who bullied you in high school: Stephen. The traffic cop who gave you an unjust ticket? Stephen again. So now he’s the ultimate target for everyone’s revenge fantasy against all jerks everywhere.

    I think its too bad that Stephen “stole the show” in this way, because there are a lot of other more important issues in the show than “omg hes such a jerk!”.
    Namely that a well-off family from Missouri are raising their children to be hedonists and gluttons, with no outlook on their futures or even on their present unless it involves immediate gratification. And additionally that questioning this type of lifestyle seems strangely to be not just unpopular, but outright blasphemous.

    I wish Stephen hadnt been on the show, because i think he overshadows issues that touch a nerve in the US. A nerve that should be touched much more often.

  10. Anonymous: You said: “I think its too bad that Stephen ‘stole the show’ in this way, because there are a lot of other more important issues in the show than ‘omg hes such a jerk!’ Namely that a well-off family from Missouri are raising their children to be hedonists and gluttons, with no outlook on their futures or even on their present unless it involves immediate gratification. And additionally that questioning this type of lifestyle seems strangely to be not just unpopular, but outright blasphemous.”

    There may be people in the viewing audience, and online, expressing their opinions that find the issues that you’ve raised to be no big deal, but I’m sure they’re in the minority.

    The problem here is not that the Longs are the poster family for what’s good and right and decent and healthy and uplifting in America. It’s that Stephen’s idea of helping someone is to berate and insult and ridicule them.

    Just imagine, for a moment, if Stephen had felt some human compassion for Gayla and her family, and opened doors to a different and perhaps better lifestyle. It might have actually done some good.

    You say that “questioning” their lifestyle is the problem. “Questioning?” Really? Is that really what he was doing? Is that really the cause of the outrage?

    Are you really that dense?

  11. “Namely that a well off family from Missouri are raisig their family to be hedonists and gluttons…” Obviously you don’t get it either. Being fortunate is not about just the money. Its belief systems, character and values.

    The Longs for their part learned something. The fowlers (and you) did not.

    Fowler is a whipping boy? Hell yes!

  12. I kept Waiting and WAITING for someone to tell him off on the show…nobody did. Gayla was too nice. She didn’t tell him what we all wish she would have told him. NOBODY did. That’s why we all came online. We’re hoping he and his friends read all of this.

  13. I kept Waiting and WAITING for someone to tell him off on the show…nobody did. Gayla was too nice. She didn’t tell him what we all wish she would have told him. NOBODY did. That’s why we all came online. We’re hoping he and his friends read all of this.

  14. Thank you, Elizabeth for your perfect piece about that atrocity of a show. Glad to hear that Mrs. Long was able to go to a hotel to escape at some of the hostilities. My hunch is that S. Fowler is in serious need of psychological help for the worst case of narcissism that I have ever witnessed. I pity his poor children. Imagine the abuse they must suffer from that self-hating lunatic.

  15. Next time you hear someone slagging Sarah Palin, think of this Fowler clown. These are the kind of hateful filth who elected Obama.

  16. Actually, Fowler, being a Brit, doesn’t vote in the USA and threfore didn’t elect Obama. I know it is great fun for John Snookum to make pretend this is all about conservative vs. liberal, to feel like another “victim” of the scary old liberals. The truth of the matter is Fowler is just a jerk and nothing but a jerk, and that transcends politics.

  17. We are not amused!

    I have written my personal disgusts to the right honourable Gordon Brown, PM, to discharge forthwith my most blighted disgust for this one, Stephen Fowler, whose antics have shamed and sullied the Union Jack and its adherents.

    It is my sincere and fervent prayer than this man should continually swallow a chalice full of pure hellbroth, on account of his noxious mouth!

    rstephens@mindforbody.com.

  18. While there are plenty of decent people who voted for Barack Obama, Fowler seems to represent the sort of overeducated elitist well represented among the online left. While they claim to be compassionate, what they really feel for those less educated or successful than they are is more accurately sympathy over top of contempt. Just look at the comments directed at Sarah Palin’s daughter by people who claim to have compassion for single mothers and high school dropouts. It’s like watching a person who claims that they like black people go an an n-word filled rant that draws on every vile stereotype imaginable against a black person they don’t like. Oh, wait. They do that, too, against black conservatives like Clarence Thomas and Condoleezza Rice.

  19. I am so saddened to concede that this Fowler/Long contrast has been distilled to the Palin/Obama dichotomy.

    I think this country dodged a bullet when they elected Obama over McCain-Palin. I shudder to think of this country guided by a team that included Sarah Palin…a passionate individual who is apparently incapable of complex thought.

    If Stephen Fowler is supposed to epitomize the left-coast “liberal”, then I understand the hurt and anger of the midwest folks, that fueled the passion of the Republican rallies.

    If any good can become of this, I only hope that the deserved skewering of Fowler (and his ilk) by liberal and conservative alike shows that people of any political label recognize blind hate in any form.

    Seeing Stephen Fowler consciously taint his children in this manner, is no less disturbing than seeing footage of neo-nazi child-rearing in this country.

    Beyone ideology, I hope that ALL of American sees Fowler as the sad freak that he is. He truly defies political labels; he is a pathology

  20. Years ago I was asked to be interviewed for an article in a major magazine. It was about a project that I was working on. I thought it exciting and both my friend and I sat down with the writer and answered all his questions. A couple of months later it was published and I was completely beside myself to find that the so called quotes from my friend and I were completely twisted. They were not what we said. I, up to then, thought that journalism had some greater truth that was suppose to come through not simply the story that the writer was trying to sell. Well “Wife Swap” is not even close to journalism. The rather odd thing is about what I have read on this blog and others is a compete faith in ABC. Well I can tell you that they have one thing in mind – ratings and all of you are very nicely feeding write out of their corporate hands. Think for one moment if Stephen Fowler was half as bad as most have made him out to be why on earth would he be spending so much of his energy trying to fix this planet. He has multiple degrees and clearly a brilliant person but from all that the bloggers have dug up is that he works for non-profits that are looking out for all of you. Give me a week two camera crews, 24 hour access and some of the best editors and producers money can buy with anyone on this blog and I’ll make you look like the Idi Amin of which ever town you are from.

  21. Anonymous ~ You also appear to be an a__ by defending a personality so putrid. Perhaps you are defending your own shadow? Intelligent people use their brilliance to create wars and tools to kill people as well as to “fix this planet”. Who was it that said, ‘The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth and Shall Delight Themselves in the Abundance of Peace’? I remember… do you?

  22. TO ANON:

    Wrong! I AM a reality show Producer/Editor and, while I could (likely) make a person look like an ass or dimwit on natl television, I would have one hell of a time trying to make a self-hating psychopathic, ”well-educated- idiot”, with a Narcistic Personality Syndrome look – in any way authentically – other than what he truly is.

    With or without a camera pointing at us, most all of us strive to ”not look bad”. Stephen Fowler must have come from a place in his early life which created tremendous self-loathing and insecurity.

    In his vain attempt to hide this (and ”not look bad”), he came across as the small person he tries to hide. I’ll wager, from my experience, that Stephen Fowler likely (obviously unsuccessfully) pursued some editorial control after shooting (since the idiot stick tried also to control actual production and format of the show). I’ll also wager Stephen Fowler is living in a hell and depression of his own making right now – as this Narcissist’s worst fear has been revealed (”bad/unlikeable/dim person”).

    (By the way, Renee deserves him. She, too, is ultimately ashamed and embarrassed of herself for whatever reason. She has a strong need for validation from others. I could have brought out MORE of that – as a reality show Producer/Editor).

  23. Anyone who didnt why we are so upset because it reminds us of Hitler and his beliefs of master race. I HOPE SOMETHING IS DONE FOR THOSE POOR CHILDREN THEY LOOKED SO UNHAPPY.What he showed us that he is a sadist,and really enjoyed his cruelty. If he so verbally abusevive on camera can you imagine behind closed doors. mabye now you can understand.

  24. Anon @248- stephen is that one of your multiple personalities? You miss the point as well. How you treat your fellow man is just as important as saving the environment, getting multiple degrees, makin important discoveries etc. We’re just restating the obvious because you just don’t get it.

  25. OK – enough said about Mr. Fowler. Most agree he is a horrible person. But, as another opined, it’s too bad he stole the show. What about this Missouri family? Are they “less fortunate” or are they some sort of “salt of the earth?” Are we even sure they vote Republican (That comment about Fowler being the kind of “filth” that elected Obama was very – er – Fowlerish, was it not?)

    Truth is, horrible people come from all political viewpoints, economic backgrounds, weight classes, educational levels, etc. We all know this.

    The question I want asked is: Are either/both of these sets of parents being abusive, and is anyone/ABC doing anything to remedy this discovery? I believe that this is the only real issue. Otherwise, the adults here – all four – knew what they were involving themselves in, signed the contracts, and got paid nicely.

    The children are the only innocents, and I think both families need intervention. The California kids are obviously being psychologically abused. But those poor Missouri kids are being raised to be so unhealthy that I can’t help but wonder – Is this abusive too?? I’m just asking, not diagnosing – But, seriously, would you want YOUR children raised by either of these families? Or, frankly, by any of the families you’ve seen on this show??

    BTW, If the Fowlers have all this money and class, why in the heck are they displaying their disfunction on a low-brow reality show? For a few bucks? For the exposure? Maybe they are in way over their heads financially and needed the money to stave off a forclosure on that beautiful house. That would explain a lot of his twisted emotions…

  26. Elisabeth, Thank you for a well written and on the mark blog about this episode. Most of the viewers are up in arms because many of us have some of the issues that Mr. FOULer was spewing all over. It hits close to home! We are a country of underdogs we wrestled this nation away from the British Empire when that nation was at it’s peak. We are a country that will help any other nation in need whether they want to kill us all or not. For Mr. FOULer to degrade our military was completely unacceptable,especially since the man worked to become a citizen and showed that he is not even appreciative of that fact. How many other immigrants would be honored and proud to be able to say they are Americans? And here we are giving citizen ship to someone who thinks he is going to come here and “change” America for the better, outraged yes and rightly so…

  27. What I find interesting, which in this case has been instigated by Ms.Prata here, is that there is a street mob mentality about this guy Stephen Fowler. If the circumstances were different, say if this was a small town in the south fifty years ago you would have had him hung by now. When in fact it is based on maybe 15 minutes of carefully edited real time. You mean you can see Adolf Hitler in 15 minutes of TV. That is incredible.

    Back to the original question. Clearly the producers are very happy with what they got in this program. In fact they scripted most of it. They exploited the personalities they had to produce it. I would not be surprised to find out that many of the comments on this and other blogs are the work of no not regular concerned citizens but marketing managers working to get the ratings higher.

    One last note: when you see the show again watch the part carefully where Stephen Fowler, with the help of legal counsel, reads a prepared statement regarding the change of rules. Among other things; he is clear why he is here in America he chose to be here and like T. Jefferson himself wrote you need to challenge the status quo every day.

  28. Please dont stoop down to the level of that piece of drek named Fowler…

    Take the guys personal information off your site please as he does have young children who are in the home.

    Please for the sake of the children delete the post.

  29. Okay I admit it! I am responsible for all antifowler the posts on the internet(s). In fact I also go by the pseudonym elizabeth prata, loraleelooneytunes, ariana huffington and matt drudge.

    I must apologize for abc as I told the producer this wouldn’t work for ratings since the ep has already aired but alas she wouldn’t have it.

    Also this was all a conspiracy from the start. Fowler is not real and is actually an actor from louisiana. I must say his voice acting coach was great! Mrs long is actually a model from ny in a fat suit. Mrs fowler is really a military ultraconservative christian mom from idaho and mr long is a canadian hare krishna. As for the kids, they are all midgets over the age of 21.

    Sound absurd anon 248? My thoughts exactly!

  30. Renee is using her Yahoo group to cry crocodile tears about how unfairly her husband has been treated:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/insideoutweightloss/

    You need to have your application approved. But it’s easy. Leave a message telling Renee how much you admire her work, how you’re struggling with weight issues, and how you’re using the “law of attraction” to change your life.

    In short, act like a simpering asshole who quotes from “The Secret”: Renee will likely identity with you.

    See ABC Message Boards for Wife Swap–“New Info From Renee” topic–for her posts.

  31. Received tonight in response to complaint left with Pacific Environment about the very public and abusive behavior of one of their employees:

    I would like to follow up to the message you sent in which you raised concerns about Stephen Fowler’s behavior on the show “Wife Swap.”

    Stephen Fowler has resigned from Pacific Environment’s Board of Directors and is no longer associated with the organization in any way. Please note that he was never an employee of the organization; rather, he was a volunteer.

    We would like to reiterate that Pacific Environment was in no way involved in the taping of the show. Pacific Environment does not condone Mr. Fowler’s behavior on the show, and the behavior represented on the show absolutely does not reflect the values and ideals of Pacific Environment.

    Pacific Environment works to protect the living environment of the Pacific Rim. We support local communities to have a larger voice on environmental issues. We partner with fishermen, indigenous communities, scientists, housewives, students, retired citizens, environmentalists, and others who are striving against great odds to protect their communities. We hope that you will learn about Pacific Environment and judge our work based on our long history of successfully supporting environmental heroes around the Pacific Rim.

    Thank you again for your message and raising these concerns.

    Sincerely,

    David Gordon
    http://www.pacificenvironment.org

  32. A man or entrepreneur of any real intelligence would have considered his own SUSTAINABILITY. As they put it so well on the Simpsons, “HA HA!

  33. Link to a youtube clip of the final meeting. See it before it gets pulled after requests by Stephen Fowler & Co. screaming “copyright violation”.

    —Highlights—
    The brainwashing of the Stephen-Fowler children (@ least the daughter).
    The difference in the amount of emotion & affection between the two couples when they unite.
    Stephen @ 2:38 stating, “don’t send any of your kids after me with shotguns” and then apparently showing the “double-bird”. And Stephen’s closing words of ‘humor’ (showing no sympathy), “I think she was out of her league, not every day she’s gonna come across somebody like me.”

    -We Are Legion, For We Are Many

  34. Hold on, old son. The Long children may not be eating the best diet; but I don’t see them as being raised to be hedonistic; and they do seem to defer gratification until after the chores are done and they have been raised to be polite, considerate, and hardworking. The Long family even aspires to university for their children despite their own lack of educational opportunities.

    I’m actually far more concerned about the Fowler children who are being raised like good little Klansmen to hate those their parents consider inferior and who are being taught that it is acceptable to take out their anger and frustrations on others. Would people feel so warm and fuzzy to Mr. Fowler had he kicked a dog when he got upset instead of abusing Mrs. Long? The mentality that permits taking out one’s frustrations on pets is the exactly the same as the one that permits taking one’s frustrations out on human beings. This form of displacement is a red flag warning for troubles ahead.

    What I also noticed was that Mr. Fowler seemed to be constantly imbibing alcohol; and I can assure you that one can be an alcoholic on organic wine as well as on Mad Dog 20-20 or Night Train Express. I hope that some of his friends will suggest he consider his drinking because the longer I watched, the more it looked to me that the more he drank, the more abusive he became. Alcohol definitely impairs judgement; but I suspect that there might be more going on there than just drinking.

  35. As a mother of a soldier who has served in Iraq, I am offended by Fowler’s demeaning remarks concerning those who bravely serve their country in the armed services. This pompous jerk needs to be deported and sent back to England; he is fouling the air of our country with his presence.

  36. http://www.stephenfowlersucks.comIf Mrs. Long had been black and he had called her a n***er, this thing would be all over the media like Imus. If Stephen was gay and Mrs. Long called him a fa**ot, then this would have the ACLU in an uproar. But because he called her fat and redneck, it seems that it’s not *as bad* and that there is some kind of time table as to when our outrage should be “let go”.
    This lame attempt at “Damage Control” is so transparent, Renee. Again, you are placing the blame, ultimately, on the Director who asked you “direct” and “probing” questions as to what level of education you thought the people in the home had. And YOU responded in a judgemental and elitist way with giggle and, “I’m betting they don’t have ‘advanced’ degrees.” (Like YOU do? Come on, a few cheap as dirt ‘certifications’ in neurolinguistic psycho-babble and “life coaching”. Please.)
    Then, you go on to place the blame on the editors. Those unfair editors who made it look like you said what you said, the way you said it.
    We can see right through you, dear. You and your husband are reptilian elitists who use wordy prose to deceive and manipulate well-meaning people. According to your own friends, you were all “laughing hysterically” when the calls started coming in the night of the airing of the show with people wanting to know why Stephen was so mean. You’re just sorry you got caught.

  37. Does anyone have the episode on tape or TIVO? I would like a list posted of the advertisers. Voting with one’s wallet, as well as well written letters, is the way to go, in my humble opinion.

  38. SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
    Like many of you, I was outraged by Stephen Fowler’s behavior on Wife Swap on 1/30/09. As a result, I have e-mailed anyone who would listen, and blogged as much as I can stand. So here’s my question: Clearly we have gotten Stephen and Renee’s attention. They are well aware of our complaints and have been forced to pay some heed. Now what? Quite frankly, if our objective was to make the Fowlers as miserable as possible, for as long as possible, well, then I think we’re being as bad as him. Personally, I don’t think that was the goal of the thousands of people who have responded, like myself, with e-mails to employers, blog entries, and word of mouth. My impression is that all of us who were outraged, reacted in that way because of our sense of empathy for Gayla Long and her family, our sense of pride in our country and our military, and our general disgust and indignation with the arrogant, pompous, holier-than-thou attitude of a real jackass. All of those emotions and reactions were rolled into one tidal wave of response, triggered by Stephen “Butthead” Fowler. Again, my question is, now that we’ve caught his attention, where do we go from here?
    Here’s my idea: We make three demands (which can be arrived at by open discussion and a vote) which demands are then posted on this blog (StephenFowlerSucks.com). All other known blogs which have addressed this issue will contain a link to this blog, so that this particular blog will be a sort of “central registry” of input. We can even snail mail a hard copy of the 3 demands to Fowler in case he’s not reviewing this blog. Once we communicate our set of 3 demands to Fowler, if he agrees to them, and complies with them, we call a truce. If not, the war of words rages on. My suggestion is that we open the floor to suggestions for 3 demands until Midnight, Friday, Feb 13th (the two week anniversary of the famous show). Then, some designated individual (perhaps the webmaster of this sight, if she/he agrees) reviews the various proposals, and gleans the top three. Those three are then communicated to Fowler. He then has 3 days to reject or accept. Once an accord has been reached, we suspend the “attack”. In 30 days, on March 13, we confirm that he has followed through. If yes, it’s all over. If not, we strike up the band again. If this procedure seems reasonable (or unreasonable) to the masses out there, please voice your opinions here. Here are MY three proposed demands: (1) Fowler issues a WRITTEN apology addressed to Gayla Long, her family, the U.S. Military, the inhabitants of Missouri, the U.S. as a whole, and his own two kids. (2) Stephen Fowler make a verbal apology to Gayla and her family, in person, which is video taped and distributed. His own family should also be present. (3) He seeks professional counseling to address his attitudes regarding the treatment of others whom he considers “lesser beings.”

    Feedback on the procedure or the 3 demands?
    Sincerely,
    jjcul

  39. I saw this show too and I was very surprised and angered at Mr. Fowler’s behavior. I have never seen anything like that on the show. In fact, I wondered if there would be some sort of backlash. I’m glad he has been called to the carpet.

    On the other hand, I’m glad ABC aired the show. It was really interesting look at the cultural divide that seems to be growing in this country. This is one of the few reality shows on television that actually has some value. I think there was a lesson to be learned from this show, and that is the importance of being accepting of other people’s views and backgrounds.

    The best among us probably has stereotypes about the people on the other side of the fence. But it’s important to be sensitive, not jingoistic like Mr. Fowler. Sometimes we might need a reminder.

  40. The thing I find objectionable about Stephen Fowler is not how he chooses to live his life, in a sustainable environmental fashion with a wide world view, but they way he treats other people and holds the country he lives in with such contempt. I live in the SF bay area, but grew up in the midwest before I went to college and graduate school. No one in my family has gone on to higher education, but I certainly don’t look down on them with disdain, they are hard working and caring people who could teach Stephen Fowler about what it is to be a positive force in your community. Treating someone who has less education than you poorly not only shows bad taste, but also shows that you don’t really understand that some people out there in blue collar jobs may be more intelligent than you, but might not have had the same opportunities to get an education as you did.

    I am proud to be American. This country serves as the greatest launchig pad for new ideas and personal growth in the world and I feel extremely blessed to have been born here. There are no other countries where a boy growing up in a trailer could end up in Oxford and no country in Europe that has had an african president. Sure only 10% of us may have passports (my wife and I do), but that’s probably just as much because other than Mexico and Canada there are thousands and thousands of miles between us and other countries, whereas all of the EU is about the size of our country. If we all had to have passports to go to Nevada, the rate would be much higher.

    As someone in the high tech field in the bay area, I would never take venture capital money from someone like Stephen Fowler. He’s proved himself an absolute boor and regardless of what his score might have been on the GRE 4 years ago, he’s surrounded by people in this area that make him look like a moron…there’s always someone smarter, especially here. It’s my hope that when those people run into Stephen, they recognize him for what he is, a insecure little man, and avoid doing business with him.

  41. Do you think Gayla would be treated any better at Nancy Pelosi’s or Barbara Boxer’s house?

    Michelle Obama said straight up that she wasn’t proud of America just like Stephen Fowler. I bet a large percentage of the folks irritated by Mr. Fowler’s attitude voted to put his favorite politicians in charge of their country.

    He’s got a point; Americans now days aren’t too bright.

  42. In order to consider oneself truly superior, genuine beauty or brilliance is a must:

    Does Mr. Fowler have any creative accomplishments in the arts or sciences under his belt, for he certainly isn’t aesthetically appealing!
    If he is not Milton, Picasso, Babbage, Newton, or Melville, then he is certainly far from warranting such hyper-inflated feelings of self worth.

    Genius or beauty, Mr. Fowler. Otherwise, you are one of the many.
    Sorry to be the one to break that to you.

  43. Stephen Fowler, you made yourself popular in a bad way. Nobody is going to forget you. Hope you won’t be in a situation where you are in an accident. People will just ignore you and WILL NOT CALL 911. I fell sorry for your kids. They probably pick up your bad sorry ass attitude. People will not respect them either, unless they come to their senses and change.

  44. I was so upset watching the show, it was just appalling to see a human being treated that way. He is a very good example that multiple degrees don’t necessarily make you a good person.
    I don’t think he ever intended to abide by the rules of the show, and so I think they should forfeit whatever money they got to the other family. He can afford it, after all, he earns just as much in a week as Gayla does in a year! Being so “smart”, did he honestly believe that they would send a Harvard professor with whom he could discuss philosophy and quantum physics? Get real. He had to have known that they would probably send a blue-collar person and he right away passed judgment on her and decided that she didn’t have anything worth teaching. Gayla certainly has her faults, but she was a nice person and really cared for the children, and next to Stephen’s behavior, she came off as an absolute saint! I don’t think anybody would have blamed her if she had walked off the show.
    I don’t think any apology he makes will be real. The very fact that he knew that he was being filmed on national TV (usually puts people on their best behavior) and behaved in that despicable way shows that it’s so deeply ingrained that he sees nothing wrong with it. His children are learning his attitude so well, I’m sure he was proud of them for ignoring Gayla and treating her with the same contempt. Scary to think of them in the next generation, devoid of compassion and empathy.
    Phew! Good to get that off my chest.

  45. Throughout the show, he purported four basic characteristics about himself that he assumed made him better than other people and therefore “entitled” to treat them as if they weren’t even human: his high level of intelligence, his high level of education, his income, and his more enlightened world view.

    He objected to taking a college exam because it was “designed to humiliate.” What would be so humiliating if he’s so intelligent? If the fact that he’s being made to take it is the thing that’s so humiliating, then he’s just implying that he can continue throwing his “higher intelligence” in Gayla’s face without actually proving it. He bases his higher level of intelligence on a previous GRE score. So we’re just supposed to take his word for it? Does the GRE really show how “intelligent” you are? And how does he equate this supposed GRE score as having an IQ of 158? I don’t think he’s as intelligent as be tries to pass himself off to be, but even if he were, that doesn’t give him the license to lack any sort of human decency that even an idiot can possess.

    So he has a higher level of education. I’m not really sure what this is supposed to prove. Obviously, he’s trying to prove something. Having a higher level of education, getting advanced degrees… are these things supposed to make someone a better person? Does it give them an excuse to belittle others? He’s asserts he’s intelligent and highly educated, yet he makes gross generalizations about a large mass of people, verbally abuses a woman ON NATIONAL TELEVISION, insults Americans in general, insults the military… he just insulted everyone with his foul presence on their tv screens. Yeah, that was really a smart move. Way to show your “intelligence”… I’m not really sure how your education benefitted you in the long run, except to give you a “reason” to degrade other people and contribute to your inflated paycheck.

    He was like a broken record. He kept saying that he made in a week and much as Gayla makes in a year. And…? Does this mean Bill Gates can go up to Fowler and verbally abuse him too? His line of logic would permit anyone who made more than him have a legitimate reason to berate him. I’ll have to remember that – another valuable Fowlerism: the more money you make, the less of a person you have to be. I can treat you like crap because I make more money than you!

    Oh, and I totally loved how he and his ridiculous wife considered themselves citizens of the world and how they wanted to raise their children to be worldly and aware of world affairs etc. etc. What exactly does he know about the “world” ? Just because someone travels to different countries doesn’t mean he is “worldly” and has knowledge about the places he’s visited. How can someone address any world issues without the ability to have some compassion or decency?

    What are they teaching their children. Those kids are at such an impressionable age. Their young minds are so malleable. What kind of preposterous filth are these two unfit parents filling them with? I cannot believe Renee said that she can’t spend too much time with her kids because it doesn’t suit her personality and she starts to get grumpy. I’m surprised her uterus was able to house life at all.

    I cannot believe such people live so close to me. I just hope Fowler learns his lesson and amends his horribly skewed way of thinking. Ugh.

  46. Well, there’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said, however, I feel compelled to add my voice, as well. Despicable! I sincerely hope the company he works for realizes that he’s not the type of employee they want to represent ANYTHING that they make/distribute/endorse/advertise/sell, etc. I think this man needs to leave the country that he berates. Unfortunately for their children, if Renee has any intelligence, herself, she’ll disassociate herself from this horrible excuse for a human being. YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF, Stephen Fowler!!!!!!!!

  47. I don’t watch wife swap and now I know why. I came across this video on the internet. I think the producers of Wife Swap should make an apology on their program for the disrespect they showed to the American audience that watches them and to the businesses that paid good money to be associated with their program. This was awful; and he walked out on the program why did they keep filming when he walked off the program? It is pitiful that this kind of entertainment is on tv. I don’t watch reality shows, I guess they are not really interested in what I have to say.

  48. This man is seriously ill. I don’t mean that as an insult, and I’m not qualified as a psychiatrist or psychologist to make such a diagnosis, but his symptoms of mental illness are obvious.

    He has Narcissitic Personality Disorder.

    The Diagnostic Standard Manual (DSM-IV) lists the symptoms of NPD as follows:

    DSM criteria

    A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

    1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
    2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
    3. believes that he or she is “special” and unique
    4. requires excessive admiration
    5. has a sense of entitlement
    6. is interpersonally exploitative
    7. lacks empathy
    8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
    9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

    “To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others’ needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen. They may also demand certain behavior from their children because they see the children as extensions of themselves, and need the children to represent them in the world in ways that meet the parents’ emotional needs”

    The behaviour exhibited goes beyond mere boorishness or arrogance. Someone who was sane would realise the consequences of publicly exhibiting such behaviour, in their personal and in particular their business life.

    Unfortunately for all concerned – the patient, his wife, and especially his children, there is no effective therapy for NPD, and the cure rate is very low.

  49. The golden rule, Stephen. That is all you need to learn. Kindness and tolerance will save us all, and you were as violent as any terrorist. Be careful what your children see and hear from you, as it will all come around in the end.
    I am also from the Bay Area, highly educated, a parent, an organic gardener and in very good physical shape, and I sincerely believe you are part of the biggest problem we face on this planet: Hate. I am so thoroughly disgusted by your performance.

  50. Fowler… you are a disgrace to the British people. You have cut off the hand that feeds you with your nasty snide, demoralizing & degrading remarks.

    I am British and my husband is a retired American veteran. You are disgusting and will reap what you have sown. Misery and loneliness is your destination. You dont deserve anything that America offers and I hope that any kindly American who befriended you once, realizes now what a classic piece of scum you are.

  51. I was shocked at his behavior, and in front of his children none the less. Doesn’t seem to be as well educated as he claims. I have never seen anyone bullied to the extent that he went to, it was terrible. The name calling, and tantrums he threw in front of the children, unbelieveable. I think Gayla did a good job of holding back her temper, honestly I don’t think I would have been able to be so calm. I would have let loose! Then again, I would have stooped to his level.

  52. Dear Stephen Fowler,
    You are an ass. Right now as America’s appointed 15-minute reality star
    villain, you are probably congratulating yourself behind closed doors
    for saying it “how it is.” You pretend to apologize but I doubt there
    is any real self-reflection going on. After all, those criticisms
    being directed your way are from the very same people you mocked: fat,
    uneducated Americans. Therefore it is easy to brush off their opinion
    of you as the inconsequential puerile whinings of the insipid masses.
    Being called an elitist is hardly an insult for you.

    You see, I know you. You are my father, with a British accent. Let
    me tell you who I am and give you my credentials as a person of
    consequence. I am from the same upper middle class echelon where you
    reside, the San Francisco of the east: New England. I graduated from
    Yale University and even made my way into another Ivy league medical
    school. I am one of those 10 percent of Americans with a passport and
    have even used it with great frequency; I’ve traveled in over 35
    countries and although born on American soil spent the majority of my
    salad days abroad. I can express my large vernacular with the best of
    them. Oh, and as a bonus, I cross my “7’s” and sometimes even spell that color
    which black and white become when mixed as “grey.”
    Now that I’ve whipped out my penis and shown you its impressive
    girth perhaps I’ve caught your attention. So, I repeat, you, Stephen
    Fowler, are an ass. You spew vitriol and snark from your
    self-appointed ivory tower. You think you are better than the
    majority of America because of your degrees and your waist
    circumference. I am here to tell you that you are wrong. You are not
    better than the people you mock; the fact that you mock them reveals
    that you are hiding behind your degrees. In fact, your penis, both literally and figuratively, is tiny. But, in case you are not getting
    it yet, let me break it down into a colloquial you might understand:
    You are a bully. Being as well read as you are, I am sure you are
    familiar with the psychology of bullies. (C’mon, dude, this is pysch
    101, every idiot knows this. Duh!). A bully is someone who is cruel
    to others, through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more
    subtle methods of coercion in order to hide his/her own inadequacies.
    Bullying is often used as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to
    boost self esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser him/herself feels
    empowered.

    Now you may not give one iota about my opinion of you, but let me tell
    you what you are doing to your children. I predict two general
    outcomes. The first, I am sure, you will find quite amenable. In
    this scenario, your offspring suck up your hatred like a sponge and
    become the next generation of Stephen Fowlers: self-satisfied paragons
    of society who look down on their fellow countrymen. The alternative,
    however, is less attractive. In this version, your children pull the
    wool from their eyes and wake up from their black and white upbringing
    to see you as the small man that you are. They might decide to take
    an alternative route, one which doesn’t require them to hide behind
    hate-mongering. Instead they may courageously confront their own
    demons rather than point out the flaws in all who surround them. At
    the end of this pathway, they will discover the rainbow of humanity,
    in all its variegated hues. But the cost in taking this path may be
    steep. As they absorb your sputum but simultaneously reject it, this
    incongruity may lead to self-doubt and depression. Without a healthy
    forum for rebellion, they may turn to drugs, eating disorders,
    self-harm and mutilation…any type of alternative lifestyle that
    gives them the outlet they need from your suffocating purview.

    How do I know this? Because this was the path I chose to take. I know, I know,
    I’m obviously some quack projecting my own father issues onto you. My
    analyses are easy enough to reject. Or maybe, just maybe, you will
    let the judgment of America sink in, get off your cheeky English
    behind and begin the painful, yet ultimately rewarding path towards
    self-discovery, compassion, and true enlightenment. That is, if you
    have the cajones…

    Most sincerely yours,
    A friend

  53. I have just finished watching the episode that this imbicile stars in. I cannot beleive that the husband of the woman that was being treated this way did not get up and knock him on his ass. I have never been so angry that what I was as I watched this man abuse his children the way he did. He forces them to do things that they clearly do not enjoy. Fancy making your children NOT talk to an adult just so you can prove your point. He knew that if this lady was able to spend quality time with these children then she would be able to show them just how fun it is to be a kid and perhap they would then in turn rebel against him.

    I am from Australia but to be 100% honest, I would GLADLY hop on a quantas to come over there to show this man exactly what happens when you treat people the way he does. He education or money would not save him from the beating that I would give him, and I am a female!

    As for his wife, well, even though she did not say half of the mean things that he did she is just as bad. This woman has a business that helps over weight people YET she sits there and allows him to put people down that are over weight? She also allows this man to abuse her children? Now, from where I stand this is not the actions of an educated person, it is clearly the actions of someone who may be educated in school but is certainly NOT educated in life skills. They say the french are rude, this person would have to be one of the most rudest people I have EVER seen. I know that voilence does not solve everything but in this case I think the problem would be solved rather quickly with a quick kick to the head.. It just might straighten his YELLOW teeth for him – When I looked at his teeth all I could think was “I can’t beleive it’s not butter” ..

    What an idiot! You see kiddies, education does not ALWAYS make you SMART, sometimes it can turn you into a smartass!

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