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Daytime Emmys bid for social-media appeal draws criticism for rape, race jokes

Sharon Osbourne arrives at the Daytime Emmy Awards Afterparty at The Beverly Hilton on Sunday, June 22, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)

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Sharon Osbourne arrives at the Daytime Emmy Awards Afterparty at The Beverly Hilton on Sunday, June 22, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - When four social media divas were handed red-carpet and backstage interviewing duties for the Daytime Emmys, the result was anything but Hollywood magic.

The women who hosted the Emmy pre-show Sunday appeared largely ignorant about the actors and series that were being honoured, instead unleashing attempts at bawdy humour that made sport of topics including rape and an actor's race.

Their efforts made the usual red-carpet banter look scholarly by contrast.

The aftermath included harsh criticism for hosts Brittany Furlan, Lauren Elizabeth, Jessica Harlow and Meghan Rosette, who were described by Emmy organizers before the ceremony as "well-respected social media gurus" with big followings.

The show's producer and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences likely saw them as a chance to put a more youthful face on Emmys that were streamed, not televised, when they failed to find a network or cable home in the face of dwindling interest.

Instead, as one website devoted to daytime serials said in a headline, the hosts created a "Red Carpet Train Wreck."

They "know nothing about daytime television, came unprepared to the red carpet, conducted themselves in a very unprofessional manner, spewed profanity, a rape joke and a racist remark," said soaps.com.

Here Media, the show's producer, didn't respond Monday to requests for comment from the company and from the four hosts it featured. NATAS officials were en route back to New York from the Beverly Hills ceremony and not immediately available for comment, a spokesman said.

"General Hospital" star Ryan Paevey, making his first red carpet appearance, said Monday that he had expected to encounter questions about daytime TV and good wishes for the evening. Instead, he got misfired humour from Furlan and Elizabeth that ended with Furlan saying, "We're going to get you away from us before we rape you."

Such remarks "kind of derailed the spirit of the evening," Paevey said.

But the actor, while condemning any joke about sexual assault as unacceptable, said he was taken aback by angry "crusades" against Furlan on social media and even by the amount of sympathy he was getting.

If an apology is due, Paevey said, it is a general one for hosts' red-carpet and backstage behaviour, especially the comments made to "Bold and the Beautiful" star Lawrence Saint-Victor.

The African-American actor was asked, "What's it like to be a black man on a soap opera these days?" and called "a beautiful chocolate man."

While such comments remained outside the ceremony ballroom, the unfettered effects of being away from TV showed inside as well. Some, including presenter Sharon Osbourne, let expletives fly onstage, and there were winners who rambled on without pressure from a network clock.

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Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.

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Online:

http://emmyonline.org

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