“Glee” creator Ryan Murphy has become the latest celebrity to express outrage over an online Newsweek opinion piece, where pop culture writer Ramin Setoodeh suggested gay men cannot play straight convincingly.
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Setoodeh slammed Sean Hayes’ performance as a straight man in Broadway’s “Promises, Promises,” calling it “wooden,” and he also took aim at “Glee’s” new singing sensation, Jonathan Groff, whom he suggested came across “like your average theater queen” and a better love match for the show’s gay character, Kurt (played by Chris Colfer), rather than Rachel (Lea Michele). His article attracted condemnation by Kristin Chenoweth (who stars opposite Hayes in the Broadway play and is a “Glee” guest star) and a host of celebrities.
Chenoweth’s boss on “Glee,” however, went one step further, calling for a boycott of the magazine.
“Today, I… ask for an immediate boycott of Newsweek magazine until an apology is issued to Sean Hayes and other brave out actors who were cruelly singled out in this damaging, needlessly cruel, and mind-blowingly bigoted piece,” Murphy wrote in an open letter on Tuesday. “An apology should also be issued to all gay readers of the magazine… proud hardworking Americans who, if this article is to be believed, should only identify themselves as ‘queeny’ people (a word used by Setoodeh in the article) who stand at the back of the bus and embrace an outdated decades old stereotype.”
Setoodeh attempted to defend his original Web exclusive on Monday in a new online piece titled “Out of Focus.”
“You can disagree with me if you like, but when was the last time you saw a movie starring a gay actor?” Setoodah wrote on Monday, trying to redirect attention to the motive behind his first article. “The point of my essay was not to disparage my own community, but to examine an issue that is being swept under the rug.”
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Jarrett Barrios, however, suggested Setoodah’s attempt to divert focus back to his original point remained offensive.
“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,” Barrios’ statement read.
“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,” Barrios’ statement continued, adding, “GLAAD also joins ‘Glee’ creator Ryan Murphy in urging Newsweek to issue an apology.”
As for Murphy, he went beyond asking for a Newsweek boycott and apology. He invited Setoodeh to visit the “Glee” set.
“I extend an open invitation to Mr. Setoodeh to come to the writers room of our show, and perhaps pay a set visit. Hopefully then he can see how we take care to do a show about inclusiveness…a show that encourages all viewers no matter what their sexual orientation to go after their hopes and dreams and not be pigeonholed by dated and harmful rhetoric,” Murphy wrote. “Hopefully, some of the love we attempt to spread will rub off on Mr. Setoodeh — a gay man deeply in need of some education.”