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GLAAD responds to Newsweek article

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GLAAD has issued a statement in regards to the April 26 Newsweek article, “Straight Jacket,” written by Ramin Setoodeh.

Setoodeh is a Clovis West graduate who worked as a freelancer for The Fresno Bee from 1999-2003.

Setoodeh complains that it’s distracting when gay actors play straight roles. He uses Sean Hayes, the former “Will & Grace” star, as his primary example.

GLAAD’s statement comes in the wake of “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy, and several actors, including Kristin Chenoweth, speaking out against the article. In an open letter, Murphy calls the article misguided, shocking and hurtful. He has called for a boycott of Newsweek for printing the article.

GLAAD has joined Murphy in urging Newsweek to issue an apology.

The statement from GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios can be seen below:

Whether he intended it to or not, Ramin Setoodeh’s article in Newsweek sends a false and damaging message about gay actors by endorsing the idea that there are limits to the roles they are able to play.

If Setoodeh wanted to start a discussion about the work of gay performers, he undermined his own premise by affirming stereotype after stereotype, such as gay actors being ‘insincere’ or unbelievable when playing romantic leads, and dismissing or disregarding the work of actors like Neil Patrick Harris, Cheyenne Jackson, Cherry Jones, Wanda Sykes, Jonathan Groff and Alan Cumming, among others.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender actors can play a wide variety of diverse roles and Setoodeh’s perspective on this issue reflects his own discomfort that he attempts to project onto the audience by indicting Sean Hayes instead of examining his own inability to embrace gay actors in straight roles.

Since the article’s publication, Setoodeh has attempted to reframe his opinion piece as an analysis of the lack of gay men in leading roles, however, he continues to posit that gay male actors are not believable. In his May 11th interview with Joy Behar, Setoodeh claims about Neil Patrick Harris’ television role: ‘He’s not really a romantic lead where women are actually supposed to believe him as a heterosexual character.’

Whatever Setoodeh’s intentions or beliefs, Newsweek is ultimately responsible for having published this deeply problematic essay and consciously or not, promoting and encouraging Setoodeh’s discomfort.

GLAAD has been in dialogue with Newsweek to provide space for views on the subject that expand their readers’ understanding of this issue past the harmful attitudes of writers like Setoodeh, whose perspective is used to pressure gay actors to stay closeted.

GLAAD also joins Glee creator Ryan Murphy in urging Newsweek to issue an apology.

Responses to "GLAAD responds to Newsweek article"

Mike Oz says:

Before reading the article and Glaad’s response, I didn’t even know Cherry Jones (the current president on “24″) was gay. Does that invalidate the premise of the article?

Famous says:

Using one actor in one role to tie together your entire premise is not a good idea. It could just be that Sean Hayes isn’t that good of an actor. Mostly it reads like the writer is projecting. Does that make the article homophobic or mean? Dunno. But it does make it poorly argued and dumb.

Funny says:

I just wonder how GLAAD selected which actors to name in the letter…..
Was there an election and Nathan Lane didn’t make the cut?

PGC says:

Clovis West High School Rocks !!!… Just like me !!!

Dave says:

Who the … cares about these twits?

Pook says:

I can blow his argument out of the water with 3 letters. NPH. Neal Patrick Motha(shutyomouth!) Harris. Had no idea he was gay until he came out after Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog. And as far as I’ve seen, all his characters are identified as straight. Tho, maybe bi- in Harold and Kumar’s.

There are TONS and TONS of actors who have played both sides of the fence on stage and screen. Capt. Picard in Jeffrey, everything Stephen Fry has ever done. Really it’s a poorly researched and ignorant article.

-Pook