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Jane Lynch Hearts Ryan Murphy & Cheno For Telling Up Newsweek!

Filed under: Gay Gay GayKristin ChenowethGleeJane Lynch

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As do we, Sue Sylvester. As do we!

It didn't take long beforeGlee creator Ryan Murphy and superstar Kristin Chenoweth to pull out their big guns against the disgusting Newsweek article written by Ramin Setoodeh claiming gay actors could not play straight roles convincingly.

Now, one of the Glee stars and out lesbian Jane Lynch is applauding her peers for making statements backing not only her show, but her community. She says

“The thing is, actors are actors: You can’t play gay anymore than you can play somebody who’s Catholic. Aaron Sorkin wrote a wonderful thing in the Huffington Post. I don’t think you have to slap somebody down for making an opinion that you don’t agree with. But I do think what Kristin and Ryan did was so important, and I’m glad that they said it. It doesn’t mean, ‘Off with [Setoodeh's] head.’ But I’m very glad, and I thought it was very heroic what the two of them did.”

Bravo! Classy! Well said!

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Ryan Murphy Is Our Hero!

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Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee, has already written an open letter discussing the vicious and homophobic article in Newsweek magazine that asserted that gay actors are incapable of successfully portraying a heterosexual character.

He has just released a second follow-up letter, and basically proves what a decent, stand-up guy he is!

He writes:

I want to issue a personal thank you to GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, writer/director Dustin Lance Black and countless others who have joined me in condemning Newsweek magazine and asking for an apology for their recent article ‘Straight Jacket,’ a hurtful bigoted diatribe in which they basically asserted that gay actors should not play straight roles because they are not “believable.” So far, Newsweek magazine has declined to issue an apology, other than to say they are big fans of the show I co-created, Glee — even the straight dudes around the Newsweek offices. I say thanks for your support, however glib, and continue — with many others offended by the article — to wait for a more substantial articulate response.

But in better more constructive news: Ramin Setoodeh, the author of the article, reached out to me today and accepted my offer to sit with myself and the writers of GleeBrad Falchuk and Ian Brennan — to discuss not only why we found the piece so offensive, but also to observe our creative process and see how we construct a TV show dedicated exclusively to the idea of inclusiveness and acceptance for all — ideas solely absent in his ‘Straight Jacket’ article.

Along with inviting him into our Glee writers room, I will also let him observe our casting process…so he can witness first hand — and speak to — actors who audition for our show and who are already series regulars — actors who are encouraged to read for ALL roles, no matter what their sexual orientation, color or gender. Who cares who you are or who you sleep with — men, women, sheep — frankly, it’s none of our business or concern. The actor with the best audition should get the part. On Glee, straight actors play gay roles, gay actors play straight roles and no one is discriminated against. I hope observing this process firsthand — and talking with our cast — will be illuminating to Mr. Setoodeh, and inform his future journalistic endeavors.

In my telephone conversation with him, Mr. Setoodeh mentioned how he feels cornered, misunderstood and unfairly attacked. I look forward to hearing his reasons for writing the article, and will of course listen with an open heart and mind. Vicious anonymous attacks — which Mr. Setoodeh feels he has been subjected to over the past two days — aren’t cool or acceptable, and get us no where. What DOES move the ball forward is education and a fair and open dialogue, and I want Mr. Setoodeh to know that all of us at Glee are committed to that, and encourage it.

Ryan

What an unbelievably smart and fair plan of attack!

We applaud you for keeping your cool and standing your ground, Ryan and company!

Hopefully, the other parties involved will follow suit and treat you with the same respect and openness you have given them!

Equality for ALL!

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Aaron Sorkin Comes To The Defense Of Homophobic Newsweek Article!

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Thought-provoking? Yes.

Still out of line? Yes.

Aaron Sorkin wrote a response to the horrific and offensive Newsweek article by Ramin Setoodeh, and surprisingly comes to its defense!

He says:

This is a sentence I never thought I would type: I'm coming to the defense of a theatre critic.

Newsweek's Ramin Setoodeh wrote an article last week titled "Straight Jacket" in which he argues that gay actors can't and shouldn't play straight characters. His "Exhibit A" in the piece is Sean Hayes, the stunningly gifted actor who came to our attention playing Jack MacFarland on the much beloved NBC half-hour comedy Will and Grace. (This was back when NBC broadcast television shows.) Mr. Hayes just opened in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, a 1968 musical by Neil Simon, Burt Bacharach and Hal David that was based on The Apartment, the Academy Award-winning film by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. (Izzy) Diamond that starred Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Are you following so far?

It doesn't really matter, because all you need to know is that Sean Hayes plays C.C. Baxter in this great show, and that C.C. Baxter is a man who is attracted to women.

Ramin Setoodeh, unlike the overwhelming majority of the people in the audience at the two preview performances I attended, was unhappy with Sean Hayes' performance. This reaction was not due to Mr. Hayes' acting, singing, dancing, comedy, unique charm and exceptional rapport with the audience. Mr. Setoodeh's problem with the star's performance was that in real life, Mr. Hayes is gay. And as if the studio had given the screenwriter a note that the story had to be spicier, Mr. Setoodeh is gay as well.

Much is being made of the Newsweek piece. Much should be. I'm proud to say that my friend, Kristin Chenoweth, who stars opposite Mr. Hayes in the show (and about whose performance I can't possibly be objective — she's sensational and we'll leave it at that) led the charge — posting an online rebuttal to Mr. Setoodeh in which she called him homophobic.

For an actress who makes her living and her reputation on Broadway, throwing down with a prominent theatre critic isn't something you do as a career move. In her response to Setoodeh, Ms. Chenoweth made good point after good point after good point…

…and missed the point.

So did Setoodeh.

First things first. An actor, no matter which sex they're attracted to, can't "play" gay or "play" straight. Gay and straight aren't actable things. You can act effeminate and you can act macho (though macho usually ends up reading as gay), but an actor can't play gay or straight anymore than they can play Catholic. The most disturbing thing to me about this episode is that the theater critic for Newsweek didn't know that. Of COURSE gay actors can play straight characters — it's impossible to believe that Mr. Setoodeh would prefer if Ian McKellen would stop doing King Lear.

But with sincere respect to Ms. Chenoweth and the hundreds and hundreds of Internet posters who've crashed down on Setoodeh in the last few days — some understandably passionate and some unfortunately hostile — I don't think Setoodeh was being homophobic. Just wrong.

The problem doesn't have anything to do with sexual preference. The problem has everything to do with the fact that we know too much about each other and we care too much about what we know. In one short decade we have been reconditioned to be entertained by the most private areas of other people's lives. We've become the family dog who's allowed to eat anything that falls on the floor, and the press is the little kid in the family who keeps dropping food. Sandy Bullock's life falls apart? That's for us. A golfer gets caught with strippers? We'll take that, thank you. Lindsay Lohan's an alcoholic? Mmm, mmm good! When Jennifer Aniston plays a movie character who's looking for love, her performance — always sublime — doesn't stand a chance against the real story we've been told it's okay to pay attention to, which is that Jennifer Aniston is looking for love. I can't hum a single John Mayer song but I can name five women he's slept with. Sean, for Setoodeh, the show began before you even showed up to the theater that night.

The volcanic eruption of tabloids, Internet insanity and — you better believe it — reality TV, has de-creepyized voyeurism. More than that, it's made the private lives of public people — in the vocabulary of television writers — the "A" story. And in a not-so-convoluted way, the "A" story has an author — thousands of authors in an extraordinary collaboration. When I need the audience to know that a piece of information they're about to hear is important, I can use words, a close-up, a push-in, music… when the authors of the no-longer-private-lives "A" story want the audience to know that something's important, it shows up on our Yahoo homepage. (The third story on my homepage yesterday was that Britain, our closest ally, has a new Prime Minister. The first story was about Justin Bieber. Unless the new Prime Minister is Justin Bieber, something's obviously gone wrong.) Is Sean Hayes' sexuality relevant to his performance? It has to be — the "authors" told us it was important. (Though Setoodeh would have done well to have asked himself if Mr. Hayes' performance would have been any different if C.C. Baxter was in love with a man instead of Ms. Chenoweth's Fran Kubelik. It wouldn't have been.)

I would never presume to — and those words are almost always followed by whoever said them proceeding to do exactly what they just said they would never presume to do — but I would never presume to tell someone how they should feel about something. I can only imagine that Setoodeh's piece felt like a solid kidney punch, not to just Mr. Hayes and the other actors tagged in the story, but to teenagers — kids who live in daily fear of what their parents are going to say, of getting the hell beaten out of them at school, of being an oddity. Gay actors, you'll forgive the expression, are caught between a rock and a hard place. Only criminals and adulterers should have to hide who they are. And in addition to living their own lives in sun and not shadow, these actors want to — admirably — be role models for these kids. But they also know the blanker their canvas the better their chance of marginalizing the "A" story. They know that even in 2010, there's still no such thing as an actor who's gay, a movie star and alive all at the same time.

So while I would never presume to tell someone how to feel, if it were me, I would re-direct my energy away from Mr. Setoodeh. (Ryan Murphy– the very gifted creator of Glee whose cast member, the invaluable Jonathan Groff, was also smacked in the teeth by Setoodeh– has called for a boycott of Newsweek. I get it completely, but I say please don't boycott Newsweek — it's still one of the very last places left where we can find news. Boycott the red carpet instead. You're going to win the Emmy, Ryan, and you're going to get the whole publicity bump that comes with it. You and your cast should proudly walk past every microphone that's shoved in your faces. The people holding the microphones are writing the "A" story and you don't have script approval. Boycott In Touch and Us Weekly and Brangelina Daily and every other piece of crap that makes us feel like we're all sitting under hairdryers.)

Gay actors are in absolutely no danger of losing parts in Broadway shows, so if it were me, I'd re-direct my anger to the real problem. The honest-to-God, no kidding around, small-minded, mean-spirited, hysterically frightened, pig-ignorant bigots who don't think homosexuals are fit to get married, adopt children or fight and die for their country. The ones who hold signs saying "God Hates Fags." Those people aren't in the backwoods of Idaho, they're in Congress. Fight THEM. I'll help.

And you know who else will help? Ramin Setoodeh. I promise you he's on the side of the good guys.

Of course, Sorkin brings up some interesting points, because he's an intelligent dude, but we're not buying it!

The fact of the matter is, REGARDLESS of society's obsession with celebrity culture, Setoodeh thinks that gay men are incapable of portraying straight men the way straight men are capable of playing gay…that, in itself, is a homophobic and offensive generalization!

Thoughts??

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Glee Creator Ryan Murphy, On Newsweek Article

Filed under: Gay Gay GayKristin ChenowethGlee

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YES!

Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee, is calling for a Newsweek boycott until the publication apologizes for the controversial, homophobic article by Ramin Setoodeh that basically stated gay actors should not be playing straight characters!

He wrote an open letter to speak out against the article:

“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.

Ryan“

Ohhhh, SNAP!

We couldn't agree more and we're so thrilled that so many people have taken such an aggressive stance against this article!

LOVES it!

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Ramin Setoodeh Tries To Defend His Newsweek Article

Filed under: Gay Gay GayMedia Minute

And we're NOT buying it!

Ramin Setoodeh is responding to the backlash he received from his extremely homophobic Newsweek article stating that gay actors aren't playing straight characters convincingly.

He says in a new article:

"But what all this scrutiny seemed to miss was my essay's point: if 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. I meant to open a debate—why is that? And what does it say about our notions about sexuality? For all the talk about progress in the gay community in Hollywood, has enough really changed? The answer seems obvious to me: no, it has not.

I realize this is a complicated subject matter, but the Internet sometimes has a way of oversimplifying things. My article became a straw man for homophobia and hurt in the world. If you were pro-gay, you were anti-NEWSWEEK. Chenoweth's argument that gay youth need gay role models is true, but that's not what I was talking about. I was sharing my honest impression about a play that I saw. If you don't agree with me, I'm more than happy to hear opposing viewpoints. But I was hoping to start a dialogue that would be thoughtful—not to become a target for people who twisted my words. I'm not a conservative writer with an antigay agenda. I don't hate gay people or myself."

Well if that's what you were trying to say, you did NOT articulate it well by personally attacking specific actors' performances and making broad statements about gay actors' abilities to portray straight men.

Basically, we still think you're full of shiz and trying to cover your ass!

We've heard enough out of you!

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More On The Homophobic Newsweek Article!

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First it was Cheno and now Cheyenne Jackson and Michael Urie are calling out Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh who criticized gay actors playing straight characters!

Both actors attended the talk-back Monday night of off-Broadway play The Temperamentals and spoke out about the article. Jackson said:

“It was infuriating on so many levels. Not only does [Setoodeh] say that a gay man can't play straight, he got personal, picking on Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises, [pointing out] certain scenes where he thinks [Sean] is stiff and uncomfortable. And then he picks on Jonathan Groff, who just came out. He's a young teen heartthrob [in Glee]. He's so talented and so delicious and needs our love and support. Instead, [Setoodeh] says he's not believable at all. It was very veiled self-loathing. Really upsetting.

Every time we go forward, some asshole like this takes us back a bit. I was really glad that Kristin Chenoweth wrote what she did [in defense of her Promises, Promises costar Sean Hayes and other openly gay actors]. She sent it to me before it went out and about. I was very proud of her. For me to stand up and say, 'Fuck you,' that's what you'd expect. But for someone like Kristin, she stands up for what she believes in and is very committed.”

YES! And Michael Urie chimed in as well to say:

“Look, I'm not from fucking Vienna. We're all actors, and the audiences get it. When I saw Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises, it was a full house and everyone was completely in love with him. And I saw it at a Wednesday matinee full of tourists. They've all seen Sean in Will & Grace, and they loved him and believed in his relationship with Kristin. It worked.

And to attack, to quote Ugly Betty, someone [like Groff] recently 'hatched from the gay egg' is unconscionable and he should be strung [up]. [Groff] made everyone want him in Spring Awakening. And Cheyenne was fucking Elvis in All Shook Up. He was sexy and hot. He's always playing straight. And people buy tickets to see him. No straight critics accuse Sean Penn of not being able to play Harvey Milk or [criticize] Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.”

Cheyenne added:

That's because when straight actors play gay, they're so 'brave.' Why is it so fucking 'brave'? It's a part and he's a good actor. I hope we can get to the day where the best actor gets the part. End of story.”

WOWSA! We couldn't have said it better ourselves!

Who else is going to speak up?!

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This Is Why We Love Cheno!

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After Newsweek's appalling article written by Ramin Setoodeh, that stated that gay actors can't pull off playing heterosexual, gay ally and all-around talented amazingness Kristin Chenoweth has commented on how "horrendously homophobic" the article was, saying:

As a longtime fan of Newsweek and as the actress currently starring opposite the incredibly talented (and sexy!) Sean Hayes in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, I was shocked on many levels to see Newsweek publishing Ramin Setoodeh’s horrendously homophobic 'Straight Jacket,' which argues that gay actors are simply unfit to play straight. From where I stand, on stage, with Hayes, every night — I’ve observed nothing 'wooden' or 'weird' in his performance, nor have I noticed the seemingly unwieldy presence of a 'pink elephant' in the Broadway Theater. (The Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and Tony members must have also missed that large animal when nominating Hayes’ performance for its highest honors this year.)

I’d normally keep silent on such matters and write such small-minded viewpoints off as perhaps a blip in common sense. But the offense I take to this article, and your decision to publish it, is not really even related to my profession or my work with Hayes or Jonathan Groff (also singled out in the article as too 'queeny' to play 'straight.')

This article offends me because I am a human being, a woman and a Christian. For example, there was a time when Jewish actors had to change their names because anti-Semites thought no Jew could convincingly play Gentile. Setoodeh even goes so far as to justify his knee-jerk homophobic reaction to gay actors by accepting and endorsing that 'as viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker room torture in junior high school.' Really? We want to maintain and proliferate the same kind of bullying that makes children cry and in some recent cases have even taken their own lives? That’s so sad, Newsweek! The examples he provides (what scientists call 'selection bias') to prove his 'gays can’t play straight' hypothesis are sloppy in my opinion. Come on now!

Openly gay Groff is too 'queeny' to play Lea Michelle’s boyfriend in GLEE, but is a 'heartthrob' when he does it in Spring Awakening? Cynthia Nixon only 'got away with it' ’cause she peaked before coming out? I don’t know if you’ve missed the giant Sex and the City movie posters, but it seems most of America is 'buying it.' I could go on, but I assume these will be taken care of in your 'Corrections' this week.

Similarly, thousands of people have traveled from all over the world to enjoy Hayes’ performance and don’t seem to have one single issue with his sexuality! They have no problem buying him as a love-torn heterosexual man. Audiences aren’t giving a darn about who a person is sleeping with or his personal life. Give me a break! We’re actors first, whether we’re playing prostitutes, baseball players, or the Lion King. Audiences come to theater to go on a journey. It’s a character and it’s called acting, and I’d put Hayes and his brilliance up there with some of the greatest actors period.

Lastly, as someone who’s been proudly advocating for equal rights and supporting GLBT causes for as long as I can remember, I know how much it means to young people struggling with their sexuality to see out & proud actors like Sean Hayes, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris and Cynthia Nixon succeeding in their work without having to keep their sexuality a secret. No one needs to see a bigoted, factually inaccurate article that tells people who deviate from heterosexual norms that they can’t be open about who they are and still achieve their dreams. I am told on good authority that Mr. Setoodeh is a gay man himself and I would hope, as the author of this article, he would at least understand that. I encourage Newsweek to embrace stories which promote acceptance, love, unity and singing and dancing for all!

We couldn't have said it better ourselves!! We love, love, LOVE Cheno!

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