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Does the Media Keep Actors in the Closet?

According to several A-List actors, there is a very obvious bias in Hollywood and they say it’s against hiring homosexuals. In an exclusive interview to be released next week, Alan Cumming — one of the stars of X-Men 2 — said that actors are more timid about coming out because of the way the press portrays homosexuality — they fear the controversy. “I don’t think the people that go see films care that much – the media make it more of a deal and it’s made into controversy. There is a lot of homophobia in the world – but in Hollywood definitely.”

Stephen Fry and Rupert Everett who have both claimed a homosexual preference also complained that they are now pigeonholed. Derek Munn, director of public affairs for Stonewall, a group that promotes equality and justice for gay people said: “The pitifully low number of openly lesbian or gay actors suggests that there is a problem. The film industry needs to think about why it is gay actors choose not to come out.”

Do you think fear of the way the media will portray them causes actors to stay in the closet? Is Hollywood less accepting than the rest of the world? Do you think actors keep their sexuality a secret because it's irrelevant?


Join The Conversation
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
As in most cases unfortunately, but it is the world we choose to live in the all mighty dollar dictates the terms here and Hollywood is simply it's bitch. This is a business decision and yes the powers that be in Hollywood are making business decisions based on the media hype over openly gay actors. It doesn't make it morally or ethically right but there is one real sure fire remedy. The public could prove the media wrong and embrace such roles there for giving Hollywood the financial peace of mind and confidence to go ahead and produce more films and television which portray openly gay actors in a variety of rolls. This isn't a choice based on homophobia in Hollywood this is a choice based on bank accounts.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Bella its Tom Cruise, just admit it!! ;)
Beauty Beauty 9 years
TsuKata, that's an interesting point. I have a huge crush on a not-very-closeted actor, knowing full well that he'd never be into me. But I still dig him for being smart and handsome and talented. I do think he stays in the closet, in the media at least, because he would probably lose a lot of his positive PR. BUST magazine often features openly gay men in their "Men We Love" issues, so maybe they can start a trend.
TsuKata TsuKata 9 years
Here's an interesting and somewhat relevant question for the peanut gallery: If [[insert your male actor heartthrob of choice]] were to come out as gay, would that change your attraction to him? For me, it would not. He's no more or less attainable than he was before, and I can still ogle. However, I do think that the media (People magazine, GQ, etc.) would change how they portray him. He'd no longer get the "sexiest man alive" treatment. He might not get as many publicity spreads. And thus, with time, I *might* stop viewing him as a heartthrob and start viewing some other media darling as a heartthrob instead. If he's no longer a heartthrob, he gets less rom-com roles, thus hurting his bottom line. And, this is the line of thinking that I can see an actor blaming the media for other actors having to stay closeted. Whether or not that's a reasonable choice by the media depends on your answer to the question. If a large number of women would actually stop viewing a guy as a heartthrob because he comes out, then the media is making the right (profitable) choice. If most of us would not, then the media is being unfair in its treatment of out actors. I will say that I think Neil Patrick Harris (one of my current heartthrobs) is a great example of a guy who is openly gay and yet plays roles that are not gay, without the viewing audience particularly caring that the actor is actually gay. My squee-ing when Barney kissed Robin on HIMYM was not diminished in the slightest by knowing NPH's sexual orientation. Rupert Everett managed it for awhile, too, but I do think he got pigeon-holed eventually.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
Support Gay Actors.
Jenny86 Jenny86 9 years
Of course! A lot of people are bigoted freaks that condemn homosexuality. So, if their favorite actors is gay, it shatters everything (to them!).
syako syako 9 years
I know I must sound like a broken record, but really guys, as easy as it is say every problem in the world is the fault of the media it's just not possible that the media are to blame for every social evil. A little mass comm research will show you that the media actually have very limited effects on their audience. Just a thought. :ponder: AND the media tend to mirror society - not society mirroring the media.
syako syako 9 years
"First of all, you're a raccoon, so I understand how terribly you are portrayed in Hollywood." :rotfl: best quote of the morning. Thanks stil!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
This was a wonderful exchange! I enjoyed it throughly.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Damn you, human!
stiletta stiletta 9 years
And I think that Hollywood is a business that has one responsibility and that's to keeping its business afloat. Since I have opposable thumbs, I win.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Interesting point. I still believe that if Hollywood portrayed various groups in a more positive light, society would probably be more accepting. When movies such as Brokeback Mountain are made, in some way it bridges the gap between homosexuality being foreign and dangerous to being humanized. I do think they have a responsibility to help bring this to our society.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
First of all, you're a raccoon, so I understand how terribly you are portrayed in Hollywood. This must be very personal for you. Secondly, your line of reasoning makes me feel uneasy. If we follow your line of questioning to its line of reasoning, a company can be held accountable for all of society's ills. If I make a movie and I want to make a profit, what responsibility do I have to an actor who wants to make his sexual preference public? I'm trying to run a studio. By the way, it's not just homosexuality. It's Scientologists, Christians and Republicans who have to deal with this sort of discrimination every time they announce their personal preferences too.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I am a little uneasy with that, Stiletta. It sort of abrogates all responsibility from these companies to not discriminate. Because of your line of reasoning blacklisting in the 1950s was able to institute itself. Companies can simply say "hey, we're just doing what people want us to do" without considering the possibility that it's wrong. There are numerous examples of this especially in Hollywood.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
Any actor any time can come out. This is America. Hollywood is a business and studios make money from people's reputations to sell their films. If a gay actor wants everyone to know they're gay, they have to realize that a lot of people in this country are not comfortable with homosexuals and the studios will of course respond to that. You can't blame the businesses for responding to their audiences.
CurvatudeBlog CurvatudeBlog 9 years
this is america! of course the media forces people to stay in the closet. the media makes or breaks everything with the way that they pursue and portray it..
soba76 soba76 9 years
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