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Thursday
Apr242014

Welcome Back, Buell!

It's been a long time since I've updated this website.  Since 2011, in fact.  I know that Facebook has grown in popularity, but to be honest, Facebook just doesn't do it for me.  That doesn't mean I won't still use Facebook.  But I've been longing to return to the blogosphere, where I can communicate with all of you.  This website, along with PRS', is where I'll post news, photos, random blogs, videos and more!  So, if you haven't already subscribed to this website, please do! 

It's good to be back!

-RYAN, April 24th, 2014

Thursday
Jan062011

Time To Say Goodbye!

Dear friends,

This is hard to write, because “Paranormal State” has become a defining adventure for my 20s.  I started PRS when I was 19, and started developing the show when I was 22, and now here I am at the age of 28.  My, how things have changed!  For over three years now, we’ve been in the public eye, and we’ve had the time of our lives.  We’ve met so many great fans and many have become friends.  We’re proud that PS has changed the way the world views the supernatural, and quite honestly you all have changed us.

That is why it is so hard to say goodbye.  After very careful thought, discussion with the team, thinking about my future and where my heart needs to go, I’ve come to the decision that I will not be returning for any more seasons of “Paranormal State.”  So, after the remainder of this season airs sometime in the spring or summer, that will be it. 

We begin filming the last two episodes this weekend, and that is why I am making this announcement.  I wanted closure.  So, when I step on to the haunted grounds this weekend, it will be for the last time through “Paranormal State.”  And yes, my “final director’s log” will truly, indeed be, my final director’s log.

It wasn’t easy coming to this decision.  There are a lot of factors involved.  The main one, of course, is that I’ve become a different person.  I have different goals and views on things.  That doesn’t mean I’m giving up investigating.  I want to make that very clear.  PRS will still remain.  In fact, it means I will be able to put more time in to the things that I’ve had to put on hold for the past 5-6 years, such as private research and investigations, UNIV-CON, building the society and more.  We put our dreams and aspirations on hold because we believed in the possibility of doing a show about PRS.  And like I’ve already said, it has made an impact on many levels.  But now it’s time to move on to other possibilities.  I have other projects that I’ve had to sit on because I’ve been so preoccupied with “Paranormal State.” 

I am incredibly grateful of the time spent on “Paranormal State.”  It has opened so many doors for my team and me.  Because of it, I got to produce, direct, write books and now move on to fictional properties (next up, a fictional book due out sometime later this year!).  It has also put PRS in to the mainstream in ways I never thought possible.  And then there are those who are haunted.  I’ve received hundreds of thousands of letters and e-mails since the show debuted.  Now I will get a chance to catch up and read some of them!

Deciding to do “Paranormal State” was a big commitment.  It took over our lives.  Friends and family had to take a step back because of our time consuming schedules.  But we knew that we were handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Not just for the perks, but we knew that we could spread a message to millions of people.  That meant a lot to us.  Over the course of the five seasons, we’ve refused to cave in and compromise our integrity.  We’ve stayed the course, even though it meant losing a few friends along the way.  There were victories, and there were casualties.  There were triumphs and there were mistakes.  But we always picked ourselves back up and fought even harder.  “Paranormal State” was never 100% our vision.  For anyone who has ever worked in the media, they will understand that it is always collaboration.  But  we got pretty close at times.  There were some remarkable episodes that I personally think redefined the paranormal.  Episodes like “I Am Six,” “I Am Six 2,” “Pet Cemetery,” “The Name,” “Sixth Sense,” “First Contact,” “Church of the Damned,” “Ghosts of Gettysburg,” “Darkness Falls,” “Jersey Devil,” “They Come Out At Night,” “Ghosts of the Forgotten,” and even a few episodes that have yet to air, I am personally proud of.  Some of the most memorable moments of my life the past ten years have come from working on “Paranormal State.”

I was a junior at Penn State when we began developing the show, which at first was called everything from “Out There” to “Paranormal U.”  My senior year we began shooting, and post-graduation we continued onwards.  The show evolved, of course.  Remember the episode where Sergey and I were cheering on the football team at Beaver Stadium?  Or how Sergey had to step away from a case in order to study for his exams?  You guys literally got to watch us grow up from just entering adulthood to being full-fledged adults, fast approaching 30. 

As we entered the fifth season, we got to change things up and tackle on some very weird subjects.  And as we started to get towards the end of the fifth season, I began to realize that I was having a hard time, physically and mentally with everything.  And so discussions began to be had, about whether or not it was time to think about wrapping up.  The last thing I want to do is go past our prime.  It’s always better to end on top with a bang rather than to fickle out.  And it became important for us to move on not just creatively, but personally.  After all these years, we need to return to ourselves and rediscover who we are.  We also want to go back out there and spend some time researching the paranormal on our own terms.  In short, we need some freedom to be and to grow.

Do I believe in the paranormal?  Yes.  I have received much criticism for standing up for what I believe in.  People claiming that I’m crazy for believing in ghosts; some investigators thinking I’m crazy for believing in demons; some people who convinced themselves that I faked evidence; some people who just thought I was plain nuts as a whole.  To be honest, the detractors were great motivation for us.  They never got to us and never knocked us down.  We kept on going.  I’m proud that “Paranormal State” is so controversial.  Why?  Because it makes people talk and discuss.  And that’s important.  And PRS will always be there; ready to make bold statements and stand up for those who are haunted.

Yesterday I informed the producers and the network that I would not be returning.  And now I wanted to tell you, my dear friends, because many of you are very much involved with the show and recognize it as more than just a show.  I want to thank A&E (particularly Elaine Frontain-Bryant), the executive producers Betsy Schechter and Gary Auerbach for helping us put this show together and for all the support.  Also to all the crews who have worked on the show over the years.

To Sergey, Eilfie and Josh, you have been there for a very long time and have never failed to be by my side, no matter how rough or difficult things (or I) got.  If it wasn’t for you, I don’t think I would have made it this far.  I would have crashed and burned a long time ago.  Thank you for all the years, smiles, tears and triumphs.  Thank you also to Katrina and Heather, who went from college students and trainees to even more gifted, bright, strong and beautiful women who will no doubt do great things.  To Lorraine, thank you for giving me and my team a chance all those years ago.  To Chip Coffey and Michelle Belanger, thank you for some amazing times and truly remarkable investigations.  To Chad, you came in at an important time and gave us all energy and laughs, even in the darkest of times.  It has been amazing that our friendship became and grew out of our love of investigating and the paranormal and now I count you as one of my best friends.  To the rest of PRS, thank you for inspiring me and for devoting a part of your life – no matter how long – to a cause that has changed so many lives.  And to my family and friends, thank you for being patient and supporting me all these years.  Thank you for understanding and forgiving me for not always being able to return calls or make visits.  Now, after all these years, you will be my priority. 

And to all of you, my fans, I promise you that I nor PRS will be going anywhere.  There are some truly exciting and remarkable projects coming up, so please do not take this as a permanent goodbye.  It’s simply time to close one door and enter a new path in life.  I hope you will continue to be there and take that journey with us. 

 

Much love,

RYAN

January 6th, 2011

(Ryan Buell for A&E presentation pilot, shot in 2005, age 22)

(Ryan, Eilfie, Heather, on the second episode of season one, November 2006)

(Heather, Sergey, Jamie, Ryan & Eilfie in Vegas for the season one wrap party - February 2007)

(The original cast of PS, shooting during season three, 2008)

 



Saturday
Oct232010

Aftermath

I received an e-mail from Britt Griffith.  Although out of respect to him I won't post the contents without his express permission, the dialogue was very good and, I believe, genuine.

I have a few friends who know Mr. Griffith, and they share the same sentiments, that Mr. Griffith is not a hateful, discriminatory man. 

But like most of you, I do not know Mr. Griffith.  So why he chose to say those words can only be interpreted. 

I still stand by my original feelings that the word should not have been used and repercussions, therefore, are expected.  I also meant what I said in that Mr. Griffith does deserve a second chance if he works for it.  He will have my full support if he does. 

A few minority opinions believe that the use of the term "fag" should not have been that big of a deal.  But myself and countless others disagree.  To not understand why it's offensive and hurtful shows a lack of understanding.  This word didn't become offensive in the last week.  It's also no secret that gays are across the board tormented.  I haven't met a single gay person who has experienced more than the average bullying that we face growing up.  They were victims of hate crimes and discrimination.  Mr. Griffith's words have power.  He may not have meant it as discriminatory, but they affected people.  After all, that's why we're here talking about this.  It was hurtful to read.

Some argue, "what happened to free speech?"  Well, those people don't understand the art and purpose of free speech.  For a personality to go on air and say "fag" is free speech.  But it's also hate speech.  It's also free speech of the network (among other rights that companies have) to speak out against that and choose not to stand by that person.  The Supreme Court has ruled several times that people are free to say what they want, but that they still have to face consequences if it does damage.  The free speech amendment really came from the government persecuting someone unfairly for speaking out against the king or other ruling bodies.  No, the government will not throw Mr. Griffith in to the Guantonomo Bay prison (nor would anyone want that).  But if what you say is hurtful and offensive, there are consequences.  The rights of others will come through and thousands of voices can unify to speak out against them (again, free speech is a two way street).  We - as well as companies - have a right to also choose not to stand by or work with someone who says something hurtful and demeaning to a group of people. 

Whether the detractors like it or not, using the term "fag" has consequences.  I came out to discuss this to make a point.  If anyone, whether in the paranormal community or elsewhere (but especially in the paranormal community which I am a part of) uses hate speech for whatever extremes, there will be consequences.  You'll have to face hundreds of thousands of watchdogs who will not stand for it. 

Lastly, I want to thank Mr. Griffith.  He didn't have to e-mail me.  But he's being a man and accepting what has happened.  Already he has gained a lot of my respect.

I hope to continue my dialogue with Mr. Griffith, and perhaps share some of it publicly in the future if he's ever willing.  If he doesn't, that will be okay with me, as this isn't about publicity.  I told Mr. Griffith that, when he's ready, I would give him access to my fans via Twitter & Facebook and even PiTV is he wants so he has an opportunity to reach a large enough audience as possible to say whatever he'd like. 

In the meantime, we are continuing a private, positive dialogue.  I will be posting later on a response he already issued out there on the Internet where he apologized for this situation because I feel Mr. Griffith's attempts to make amends should be louder than the mistake itself.  And as he works to stand against the mistake he made, we should all stand by him.  After all, we will all make mistakes.  We all deserve second chances to prove that we are more than our mistakes. 

 

Friday
Oct222010

My Response to Britt Griffith's Offensive Remarks

Author's Note: This post contains explicit language.

Late last Thursday night, I came home from the movie theaters and found forwarded posts from a few people reporting that Britt Griffith, co-star of the hit SyFy series, “Ghost Hunters” was fired.  And why was he fired?  Well, one can only surmise that it’s due largely in part to the way he conducted himself on a blog radio interview.  During the interview, he refers to those against guns as “pussy faggots.”  He later rants during the interview that he is unapologetic and if he’s too hardcore for people, they should just change the channel, etc. 

Then came a shit firestorm of controversy.  Was Britt Griffith homophobic?  Racist (he makes a comment about the Rodney King incident)?  I was, of course, notified of Britt’s remarks.  I had been traveling at an unrelenting rate, so I had little time to really think about them.  However, I felt deeply saddened.  I had just come out as bisexual (yes, we do exist), and suddenly the climate of this country was starting to go through a shift.  On the news were major reports of gay teens committing suicide due to bullying.  These teens were targeted for no other reason than because they were gay or accused of being gay.  Suddenly, the media started to pay more attention to gay suicides, only to have TWO MORE happen.  Suddenly back reports surfaced of hundreds, no thousands, no tens of thousands, no wait… HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of kids being bullied for being gay. 

And what is the number one anti gay slur that was used against them? 

Fag.

And here comes Britt Griffith.  Perhaps he was drunk on his interview, I really don’t know.  Bottom line is during his time he made some poor choice of words.  I decided to hold judgment or say anything until I had a chance to listen to the interview itself.  Someone sent me a transcript that was online, followed by a link.  And so I listened to it.  And I was upset.

Deciding I would respond, suddenly news broke that Britt Griffith had been fired from “Ghost Hunters.”  I finally posted my thoughts (via twitter):

Props to SyFy for firing Britt Griffith for his hate speech! There are gay children dying in this country because of hate. (cont'd) Whether or not he realized it, many people look up to him b/c he is a celebrity. Saying 'faggot' is hurtful & demeaning to many.”  

Naturally, my comments sparked comments from hundreds of people. Most people were outraged and supportive of my stance. A few were upset about my stance, and thought that I was capitalizing on “someone else’s pain,” or rather, “being just as hateful as Britt’s remarks.”  Then there were some who just believed I was overreacting and didn’t have my facts straight, such as Scotty Roberts, editor-in-chief of TAPS PARAMAG.  Out of the dozen or so detractors, I decided to debate with Mr. Roberts because he brings up an interesting point.  He argues that Britt’s use of the term “fag” was taken out of context.  He wasn’t using it to demean gay people, said Roberts.  He then proceeded to tell me that I needed to get my facts straight.

Firstly let me say that I respect Mr. Robert’s opinions and I tried to be fair in letting his side be heard via my Twitter.  And at the end of the day, I hold no ill will towards Mr. Roberts’s opinions towards the matter or me. 

That being said, what facts, Mr. Roberts, did I need to get straight?  Perhaps Mr. Roberts assumed that I just heard from someone online that Britt said “pussy faggot” and that’s it.  Perhaps he didn’t realize that I listened to the interview.  It was a judgment of my character, I suppose, that I would just react without actually looking in to the matter.

Regardless, this brings me to a more troubling issue: people who think Britt didn’t do anything wrong or think that people are overreacting.

Roberts and a few others argued that Britt didn’t use “faggot” as an anti-gay slur.

So how did Britt use it, then?

"You get on the east coast, the west coast and they're all anti-gun pussy faggots."

He used the term “faggot” to demean people who are against gun control.  He used “faggot” to insult someone.  How many times have guys used “fag” to insult another guy?  They might not believe that said person was gay, but they used the term because it is offensive and demeaning.  They use it to insult and hurt.

The bottom line is that “faggot” is the n-word for a group of minorities who have been oppressed, beaten, tormented and even murdered for centuries.  It’s the ultimate slam against gays.  Just look at the signs that some “Christians” use to protest gay rights… “God hates FAGS.”

Whether or not Britt is anti-gay is beside the point, because the bigger issue is that he used a very hateful word to demean someone or a group of people he didn’t like.  According to his interview, people who are against guns are “faggots.”  He certainly didn’t use the word to compliment anyone. 

Despite people’s views on homosexuality, there are a few things that are certain.  No one takes pleasure in kids taking their own life (or at least, one would hope).  No one wants to be called a fag, whether you’re gay or straight.  In high school, being called a fag usually resulted in fights and hurt feelings.  Fag is not used positively under any circumstances unless in some areas of the world where it’s used to describe cigarettes.  And I highly doubt Britt was calling anti-gun people “pussy cigarettes.”

What I find appalling is how a few people don’t find the ordeal to be a big deal.  Has anyone asked what our gay, lesbian and bisexual brothers and sisters feel about this?

How did Britt’s gay fans feel about this when they heard someone they looked up to used a word that has been used against them while they were being slammed up against a locker?

Bottom line is that Britt Griffith is a celebrity, whether he likes it or not.  People look up to him.  His use of “faggot” may suggest to others that it’s acceptable to use the term to insult people they don’t like.

The problem is that our country is not supportive of gays.  At one point in time, the majority of this country was not supportive of African American rights.  I’ve had a few people in the paranormal community make anti-gay slurs against me when I came out as bi.  A few high profile paranormal personalities who have TV programs have privately made anti-gay, bigoted comments about me at parties and conventions.  And it doesn’t stop there.  They’ve made anti-gay slurs against other suspected gays in the paranormal community.  So how will fans react?  For those who are already bigots, they will take this as support that their heroes support their hate.

Someone out there listened to Britt Griffith’s comments and probably thought, “yeah, those damned faggots!!”  Do I have proof of that?  No.  Is it likely that someone out there could take it out of context to believe that Britt shares his or her views as homophobic?  Sure.  It happens all the time.  How many times have people been inspired by hate speech to go out and hurt others?  I’m not saying Mr. Griffith went out there to purposely spew hate out against the gay minorities, but it was hate speech nonetheless.

So am I making a big deal about nothing?  That depends on whom you ask.  Bottom line is that gay people have been tormented and oppressed for too long, and unfortunately it still occurs on a wide scale.

Check the news.  Gay teens are dying at the hands of homophobes.  Just a few weeks ago, 11 people were arrested for being a part of an ANTI-GAY gang in New York City.  They went around beating up gays.

One of my colleagues in the paranormal community told me that he once walked out of a bar in New York City and was beaten to a pulp for being gay. 

So who thinks it’s not a big deal?  Hate to say it, but judging from my Twitter discussions, 99% of them were straight people.

For Mr. Griffith’s defenders, it seems that there is a disconnect.  They are not gay, and so to them fag is just another word.  It’s sad, but when someone stands up for equality, they’re judged as overreacting or simply trying to get publicity, as one person accused me of on Twitter last night.  That makes about as much sense as accusing a gay teen of choosing to be gay!  You’re right, they love getting beat up and called names at school!  They’re just jumping for joy at the attention.

Assuming that is, in a way, bigoted.  Accusing those who are genuinely hurt by these remarks as being stupid or that we are attention whores is a form of bigotry.  It shows a lack of understanding.  They don’t understand and/or accept that it could be hurtful and demeaning to a minority, and that it’s only for attention.  In short, they’re not putting themselves in the other party’s shoes.  They’re only thinking about their perception.  And that is bigotry.

Some have commented that I’m using this opportunity to kick a man who is down.  Although I certainly respect that opinion (and most opinions, for that matter), nothing can be further from the truth.

I’m happy that SyFy and others involved took a stance.  They took a stance to say “this is not acceptable.  We don’t condone this.  There are consequences.”

I’ve gotten to know a few cast members from the “Ghost Hunters” franchises.  Rob Demarest, for one, is a great guy who publicly stood by me when I came out.  This isn’t about a show versus a show.  I’ve never supported that rhetoric and still don’t.

Now that I’ve addressed that, let’s get back to the point at hand, cause I feel I’ve spent enough time on the detractors who bring up every point but the point that counts.

Is Britt a good guy?  I know some people who are friends with him, and they simply feel that he was trying to appear more tough and macho and made a mistake.  It certainly does happen.  Mistakes do happen, but that doesn’t change that there are consequences.

This is no longer about just Britt Griffith.  This is about acceptance and tolerance of the term “fag” in a time when we’re facing an epidemic of gay deaths and gay bashing.  If nothing were to happen to Griffith, a whole minority would’ve felt cheated, that it doesn’t matter if someone uses a derogatory word that has been used as the ultimate way to demean them for years.  It would’ve suggested that you can call someone a fag and get away with it.

And guess what?  Whether you accept it or not, you won’t get away with it.  Not anymore.  Call someone a fag, and there will be consequences.  The people have decided that it’s an offensive word to demean and minority.  Use of it has consequences.

Gays and supporters of gays are tired of being victims.

I only met Mr. Griffith once while in Gettysburg and it was for about two minutes but he seemed like a nice guy. 

Do I believe Mr. Griffith deserved to be reprimanded for his actions?  Yes.  Would I expect anyone on my team to be reprimanded for calling someone a fag?  Yes. 

Do I believe Mr. Griffith should forever be judged for this?  No.

I recently heard that Mr. Griffith apologized.  But apologies can be deceptive.  Are they sorry for their actions or are they sorry they got punished?  Do I have an opinion?  Yes, I do.  I want to believe Mr. Griffith meant it.

A good example involves a personality who also has a show on A&E: Dog the Bounty Hunter.  He called his son’s black girlfriend the n-word.  It was recorded and played over the news.  What followed was the cancellation of his show.  Did Dog hate black people?  Clearly not.  He had African American friends.  But he used such a hurtful word that has been used to demean a whole race for over a hundred years. 

Dog eventually apologized, worked hard to make sure people knew it and that he did not stand for hate.  He made sure all his fans knew that.  It took time.  It took effort.  He could’ve just faded away and counted his millions.  But he took it like a man.

About nine months later, Dog’s show came back on the air.  It hurt his reputation, and advertisers still are reluctant to advertise on his show, but he’s back and was given a second chance.

So, for Mr. Griffith, I say do not let this define you.  Do not also expect to just apologize once and be done with it.  You have to work hard to prove to your fans that you really didn’t mean what you said.  You started a snowball effect.  Many people were hurt by what you said… that is a FACT.  You can either go with people who believe we’re just overreacting, or you can acknowledge that it was hurtful to a minority, and work hard to reach out to them. 

And if you do, you will gain a new respect.  You will gain a new following.  And I, for one, will be there on that day to stand beside you and support you.  Whether it matters to you or anyone is irrelevant, but as a human being, I will support you getting a second chance in any way, shape or form.

People do make mistakes.  But it’s how they handle those mistakes that makes a difference.  How you handle your mistakes will be what defines you.

God bless.

RYAN

UPDATE: I was just informed that Britt Griffith e-mailed me through my public e-mail.  I am on the road but will be reading it shortly.

Sunday
Apr042010

Happy Easter

Whether you're Christian or not, I believe we can take this day to be thankful for life and all the gifts that come with it.

Happy Easter everyone!