Ramin Setoodeh set off a firestorm of controversy with his first article critical of gay actors playing straight roles. In fact, it got so bad that one of the creators of “Glee,” Ryan Murphy, had called for an actual boycott of Newsweek.
Well, Setoodeh is back and is delving into the subject again. It could be considered a brave move with some positive ramifications because unless subjects like this are broached then there will be no change. Also, Ramin does admit he was wrong. Sort of.
Was I really a traitor to my own community? Before Promises, Promises closed on Broadway on Sunday, I bought a ticket and secretly went to see the show again. Once inside, I slumped down in my seat, afraid somebody would call the GLAAD police if I were spotted. The lights dimmed, and Sean Hayes opened the show alongside a troupe of male dancers. When he sang about his passion for basketball, the men performed aerial splits. Then he started to pine after the office lunch lady (Kristin Chenoweth), and I realized that I had been all wrong.
It’s not just that audiences don’t often see openly gay actors in straight roles. What’s even more unsettling is that Hollywood doesn’t even allow gay actors to play gay. With the film industry swept up in the congratulatory swirl of awards season, not a single openly gay actor is up for an Oscar nomination. Of course, that’s probably because no openly gay actors even starred in any big films of 2010. The lovable lesbian wives in The Kids Are All Right were played by the heterosexual actresses Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. The quirky couple in I Love You Phillip Morris were portrayed by straight men Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.
Joy Behar has hosted him on CNN to further discuss the controversy.
It would be easy to dismiss this controversy if it weren’t for the fact that popular culture precedes strides in civil rights so many times. It is an important question to ask if only to get people thinking about the rights of LGBT workers and American society’s expectations of gender roles. I’m with Joy Behar in her admission of being an Anglophile and observation that British society is very fluid about attitudes regarding one’s gender expression or sexual orientation, and less uptight than America.