Newsweek Editor: "Hollywood Doesn’t Allow Gay Actors to Play Gay"

Ramin Setoodeh, famous for declaring gay actors can’t play straight, says studios fear audiences will be “grossed out” seeing gay stars in lead roles.

Newsweek Editor Ramin Setoodeh -- who famously declared that openly gay actors are not convincing in straight roles -- is lashing out at Hollywood for shutting gays "out of the studio system."

In a new blog post, Setoodeh -- who first stirred controversy last spring by claiming that Broadway audiences didn't buy that openly gay actor Sean Hayes was straight in Promises, Promises -- now says: "It’s not just that audiences don’t often see openly gay actors in straight roles. What’s even more unsettling is that Hollywood doesn’t even allow gay actors to play gay."

Setoodeh says "straight actors get the roles, and everybody talks about how brave they are."

He cites Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right and Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor in I Love You Phillip Morris as two of the latest examples.

"Movies need to attract the broadest possible audience, and filmmakers worry that if they cast a gay person as a romantic lead, audiences will be too grossed out," he says.

Though some may argue that "no one gay is on the A-list, so Hollywood has to hire straight people to fill those roles," Setoodeh claims it has to do with something else.

"Society still shows a prejudice against gay people, especially those who fit the stereotype: feminine men and masculine women," he says. "Rock Hudson did that for years, and as long as he didn’t tell, audiences wouldn’t ask, and he could continue playing the leading man. What do you think would have happened if he had walked the red carpet arm-in-arm with his boyfriend?

"Sadly,” he concludes, "not enough has changed since the 1950s."

Setoodeh’s latest remarks come on the heels of Rupert Everett, who recently slammed straight actor Colin Firth for taking roles that gay actors would normally seek (Firth played a grieving gay man in 2009’s A Single Man).
Richard Chamberlain, who officially came out in his 2003 memoir, also recently warned other gay actors from coming out, stating that it could hurt their career.