Planning a wedding is stressful, but it’s even more stressful when the pastor you choose to officiate your wedding finds himself in a homophobic scandal just weeks before you’re supposed to tie the knot. That’s what happened to Brittany Cartwright and Jax Taylor as they filmed Vanderpump Rules this summer, and we see on the Feb. 18 season 8 episode the couple have to navigate some rocky waters because of it. The episode attempts to show Brittany and Jax handling the situation, but as we know from what went down off camera, things weren't exactly handled with care. And some of their Vanderpump cohorts aren't afraid to make that known.
Here's the backstory.
The Problem With Jax & Brittany's Pastor
The story starts like this: When Brittany first announced her wedding officiant, internet sleuths started finding questionable posts on his social media. But things got real when an actual article was posted all about it that summer.
Buzzfeed reported in June 2019 that Brittany and Jax’s pastor, Ryan Dotson, made a series of homophobic and anti-LGBTQ comments over the years on his social media and the social media pages associated with his ministries. Per the report, Dotson is said to have spoken out against the legalization of gay marriage, transgender pastors, abortion, and more. There are receipts and screenshots. Fans were obviously not happy, and it doesn’t seem like Brittany and Jax took all the backlash well — the Buzzfeed reporter Lara Parker included screenshots that appear to show that the couple blocked after on Twitter she had inquired about the controversy.
Dotson told Page Six that he is not “transphobic nor homophobic,” and that he loves and respects everyone no matter who they are. But… that doesn’t mean he condones their lives. “As a Christian and a Pastor, I must stand firmly on the Bible and its teachings, as to how we should live before God,” he said. “I know not all people are accepting of this belief or religious point of view, but I am.” He also claimed that he was a victim of bullying.
How Brittany & Jax Responded To Claims About The Pastor
When she was first asked on the Watch What Happens Live Vanderpump Rules after show in January 2019 about Dotson’s posts, Brittany hedged, assuring viewers that she is an ardent supporter of the LGBTQ community and that Dotson “promised” her that those comments were not representative of his views. “He promised me that he was not that way and he was not saying anything about the community whatsoever,” Brittany said on the show. "I have known this man for years and if it was anything that I felt otherwise, I would never choose somebody like that.” (You can watch her full response at the 2:00 mark below.)
At that point, Dotson was still going to officiate the wedding.
In June 2019, just weeks before the wedding, all of this controversy bubbled up once again thanks to the Buzzfeed story — and since Vanderpump Rules films in summer, this is what we’ll see on the show. At the time, Brittany shot back on Twitter, telling everyone to butt out and that she was only focused on marrying the man she loves.
According to Us Weekly, Jax also tweeted that he didn’t know about Dotson’s past comments, telling a fan that Dotson had “always been kind” to him.
Who Officiated Jax & Brittany's Wedding In The End
On that same day, though — June 12 — Jax tweeted that the pair had found someone else to marry them.
Two days later, Page Six ran confirmation of that from Dotson, who used the opportunity to say that he was still invited to the wedding a guest but wouldn't attend.
Strangely enough, that person who took over the officiant duties from Dotson was former *NSYNC band member and current TV host/reality star Lance Bass, who Jax and Brittany consider a friend. (Lisa Vanderpump does, too.) Yes, folks, this all keeps getting weirder.
Did Tom Sandoval & Ariana Go To Jax & Brittany's Wedding?
From what little we’ve seen of this moment on Vanderpump Rules in previews, some of the SUR friend group is really unhappy when the Dotson story comes out. This is a group that celebrates PRIDE like a national holiday, and a handful of the stars on Vanderpump Rules identify as LGBTQ+, including Ariana Madix who officially came out as bisexual publicly this year. Everyone on this show is an ally or member of the community, so seeing their friends hire a man who appears to have denounced everything they stand for doesn't go over well. It should also be noted that Ariana's partner, Tom Sandoval, has already been at odds with Jax all season and is shown in previews to be part of the heated argument about the pastor. Does that mean that Brittany's wedding was missing a few Vanderpump stars in the end?
Well, Instagram is all we need to know that the whole Vanderpump crew made it to the wedding — Sandoval included (he's tagged in Jax's groomsmen wedding photo on Insta). Ariana is also in Brittany's bridesmaid pic. So it appears that at some point, the group reaches some sort of agreement or decides to let the whole thing go.
But still, it's clear from the teaser that the Vanderpump group really let Jax and Brittany know their feelings. Their season 8 storyline isn't about to get any smoother.
Update: This story was originally published on February 11, 2020. It has been updated.