Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Newsweek v. Chenoweth (and a horde of other lovely celebrities)

As you may or may not have heard, Ramin Setoodeh wrote a highly insensitive article for Newsweek saying, pretty much, that openly gay actors will never convincingly be able to play straight roles. He insists that it is strange to see Sean Hayes, star of Promises Promises on Broadway, and better known for his role of Jack on TV’s Will and Grace, play straight in the successful show. The worst part about the article, though, is that he doesn’t once suggest that there might be any systemic or cultural problems that make it hard for gay men to play straight roles. He instead frames it only as the actors own personal failings. Well, I haven’t seen Hayes performance, but I do know he was just nominated for a Tony, so hopefully I don’t have to tell you how ridiculous Setoodeh’s article is.

What I did want to share with you, though, is the group of proud, courageous actors who have since stood up and publicly denounced the article as false and just plain stupid. First among these fantastic allies was Kristin Chenoweth, a Christian, a great long-time ally to the community, and an all around amazing and talented woman. She was quick to stand up for Hayes, whom she is playing opposite from in Promises Promises.

Not long after Chenoweth came out against the article, another Broadway star, Cheyenne Jackson made public comments about how ridiculous it was. He even commended Chenoweth for calling the writer out on it. Jackson said that not only was what Setoodeh saying just downright wrong, but says that the author is just being mean, personally attacking Sean Hayes and openly gay Glee new-comer Jonathan Groff. Jackson especially takes umbrage at the attack on Groff because he is a young actor who is also openly gay, which is really brave and commendable for someone new to the business. Jackson, himself is an openly gay actor, who I have seen play straight on Broadway, so I can personally attest to his credibility. Michael Urie, of Ugly Betty, also publicly came forward against the article. And, now, the latest to come out against the article is the creator of Glee, himself, Ryan Murphy. Murphy is calling for a boycott of Newsweek until they run an apology. He insists that the fact that they would publish something like that at all is what is most shocking.

Lastly, the person who kept me informed of all of this should be commended as well: Perez Hilton. Hilton has covered every celebrity to come out against the article and posted his own ideas about it when it first came out.

I think that it is a great thing that we have such amazing celebrities on our side who are willing to speak up for our community and use their fame and platform for good.

Here are links to the article as well as everyone’s reactions:

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