How did I miss this? Well, there he goes again. Ramin Setoodeh, the reporter from Newsweek who last November told us that gays on TV once helped promote tolerance, but now they may be hurting it, brings us a new realm of trash: openly gay actors cannot play convincingly straight roles.
In ‘Straight Jacket,’ Setoodeh highlights Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises, and Jonathan Groff in Glee as Exhibits A and B as gays who can’t successfully play straight. Almost within the same pen stroke, he quickly dismisses Portia de Rossi (Ally McBeal, Better Off Ted) and Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, How I Met Your Mother), as their successes were on sit-coms. So I guess T.R. Knight never played a promising doctor on Grey’s Anatomy, and John Barrowman doesn’t portray an environmental terrorist on the current season of Desperate Housewives. I guess I shouldn’t even bring up Sir Ian McKellen, who came out in 1988, yet later went on to portray extraordinary characters like Richard III, Magneto in the X-Men series, and uber-wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Thankfully, many of our out and proud actors, as well as a few allies have stepped up to admonish this reporter. Both Cheyenne Jackson and Michael Urie called the Newsweek hack an ‘asshole’ who’s ‘unconscionable.’ And the delectable and mega talented Kristin Chenoweth, went even further and called the piece “horrendously homophobic.”
One question that can be asked of Setoodeh is, can a gay man be a bigot (I don’t like the word homophobe). It’s much like the question of can a black man be racist. The answer is easily YES to both.