Glee Boycotts Newsweek Over ‘Homophobic,’ ‘Queeny’ Slam
May 12, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-Is Newsweek’s Ramin Setoodeh an “horrendously homophobic” self-hating gay man? Is he “cruel” and “mind-blowingly bigoted?” Or is Setoodeh just an idiot? All of these questions and charges have been leveled against the openly-gay Newsweek writer, after he penned an article entitled, “Straight Jacket,” in which he chastised gay male actors for their inability to shed their “queeny” leanings and mannerisms, when playing straight romantic roles. Setoodeh particularly took aim at “queeny” Sean Hayes of “Will & Grace” fame, slamming his Broadway performance in “Promises, Promises” and Jonathan Groff, an openly gay actor playing a straight role on the hit TV show Glee, who he referred to as a “theater queen.”
In response to Setoodeh’s strange rant, Glee creator Ryan Murphy released an open letter calling for a boycott of Newsweek Magazine, until an apology is given to all gay actors, the magazine’s gay readers and gay people everywhere who work in non-queeny professions.
Setoodeh begins his piece by panning the revival of “Promises, Promises,” he blames on Sean Haye’s “wooden” performance in a romantic role. “The revival hands the lead over to Sean Hayes, best known as the queeny Jack on Will & Grace,” writes Setoodeh. “It’s weird seeing Hayes play straight.”
And of Jonathan Groff’s romantic guest-role in Glee, he writes Groff’s performance is “off,” because he is openly gay in his real life:
“Most actors would tell you that the biographical details of their lives are beside the point. Except when they’re not. As viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker-room torture in junior high school. Which is why it’s a little hard to know what to make of the latest fabulous player to join Glee: Jonathan Groff, the openly gay Broadway star. In Spring Awakening, he showed us that he was a knockout singer and a heartthrob. But on TV, as the shifty glee captain from another school who steals Rachel’s heart, there’s something about his performance that feels off. In half his scenes, he scowls—is that a substitute for being straight? When he smiles or giggles, he seems more like your average theater queen, a better romantic match for Kurt than Rachel. It doesn’t help that he tried to bed his girlfriend while singing (and writhing to) Madonna’s Like a Virgin. He is so distracting, I’m starting to wonder if Groff’s character on the show is supposed to be secretly gay.”
If you are not quite sure of what to make of Setoodeh’s point join the club. Hayes’ co-star, Kristin Chenoweth blasted Setoodeh, calling him “horrendously homophobic.”
Glee’s creator Murphy quite succinctly and powerfully characterizes Setoodeh’s nonsense for what it is: pure, unadulterated bigotry. She sarcastically asks Setoodeh if he expects all gay folks to identify themselves, as “queeny” people and to also “stand at the back of the bus.”
Setoodeh responded to the criticism, by sticking to his original thesis; that some actors are just too gay to play straight, saying he “meant to open a debate” to examine our still-unchanged ” notions about sexuality.” He asks the question: “[I]f an actor of the stature of George Clooney came out of the closet today, would we still accept him as a heterosexual leading man? It’s hard to say, because no actor like that exists.”
But Glee’s Murphy isn’t buying Setoodeh’s I just “meant to open a debate” defense, when he used offensive terms, such as “queeny” and “theater queen” to describe openly gay actors.
In any event, Murphy’s boycott of Newsweek Magazine may not be necessary. The magazine, which has been bleeding money, is up for a sale and is not expected to survive.
Read the full text of Glee’s Ryan Murphy’s open letter below:
“I would like to join my good friend Kristin Chenoweth on her condemnation of a recent Newsweek article written by Mr. Ramin Setoodeh, in which Setoodeh basically says that out gay actors should go back into the closet and never attempt to play straight characters. This article is as misguided as it is shocking and hurtful. It shocks me because Mr. Setoodeh is himself gay. But what is the most shocking of all is that Newsweek went ahead and published such a blatantly homophobic article in the first place…and has remained silent in the face of ongoing (and justified) criticism. Would the magazine have published an article where the author makes a thesis statement that minority actors should only be allowed and encouraged to play domestics? I think not.
“Today, I have asked GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios to stand with me and others and 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. An apology should also be issued to all gay readers of the magazine…steelworkers, parents, accountants, doctors, etc…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.
Mr. Setoodeh has recently Twittered that he is a fan of Glee, the show I co-created with Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk…the show on which Mr. Groff plays the straight love interest to Lea Michele, a casting choice embraced by fans and critics alike which Mr. Setoodeh has taken issue with.
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…rhetoric he sadly spews and believes in. Hopefully, some of the love we attempt to spread will rub off on Mr. Setoodeh — a gay man deeply in need of some education — and he not only apologizes to those he has deeply offended but pauses before he picks up his poison pen again to work through the issues of his own self loathing. Give me a call, Ramin…I’d love to hear from you. I’ll even give you a free copy of our Madonna CD, on which we cover “Open Your Heart,” a song you should play in your house and car on repeat.”