A couple of weeks ago, actor Alec Baldwin issued a series of tweets rife with homophobic slurs about a journalist, George Stark, who had written a Daily Mail article about the actor’s wife tweeting during James Gandolfini’s funeral. So far, Baldwin seems to be getting a pass on a very ugly incident in what is yet another sign that, even at a time of significant advances in LGBT rights — the Supreme Court had struck down DOMA the day before Baldwin’s homophobic Twitter rant — Hollywood still has a big gay problem.
Baldwin did send an apology to GLAAD, saying that his “ill-advised attack…had absolutely nothing to do with issues of anyone’s sexual orientation.” He deleted his Twitter account (as he has before) and said he was quitting Twitter (and said he was even thinking of quitting acting); the Daily Mail removed the article about his wife Hilaria.
Meanwhile, celebrity chef Paula Deen was being dropped by the Food Network, Walmart, Target, Smithfield Foods, Ballantine Books and Novo Nordisk, the diabetes drug manufacturer after allegations surfaced of her using racial slurs and wanting to hold a “plantation style” wedding with black waiters outfitted to look like slaves.
It can be argued that Hollywood has “helped move the country forward on the issue of marriage equality ” as Glee creator Ryan Murphy recently said in USA Today. The lack of repercussions Baldwin has faced is hardly the only recent sign that Hollywood still hasn’t got over its gay problem, though, not raising so much as an eyebrow when one of its members utters hateful speech and is wary of movies that are “too gay.”
1. Baldwin hasn’t been dropped by any corporate sponsors for his violent, homophobic remarks.
Gay rights activists have called for Capitol One to drop Baldwin as a sponsor, but the company has said not a word on the issue. Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at Media Research Center, suggests that “companies know the media won’t beat them up for keeping Baldwin on board, despite his violent threat and homophobic comments.” The reason? Baldwin belongs to what conservatives would call “the liberal elite” and, as Gainor says, “the same rules don’t apply.”
2. Major Hollywood studios backed away from Behind the Candelabra
Behind the Candelabra, acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh’s movie about Las Vegas showman Liberace and Scott Thorson, his far younger live-in lover, was shown in cinemas in the U.K. and Europe. In the U.S., it has only been shown on HBO. Big Hollywood studios were wary of the film being “too gay.” As Soderbergh said to Mother Jones, it’s “not that anyone Hollywood is anti-gay” but that the studio powers are too aware, and nervous, about the bottom line and therefore unwilling to “think outside of the box.”
3. Brett Easton Ellis says a gay actor isn’t suitable for the lead role in “Fifty Shades of Gray”
After writing on Twitter last year that he was disappointed he had not been selected to write the screenplay of the film for “Fifty Shades of Gray,” writer Bret Easton Ellis then offered some thoughts about casting, opining that actor Matt Bomer “isn’t right for Christian Grey because he is openly gay. He’s great for other roles but this is too big a game.”
Ellis probably should have stopped tweeting then and there. Instead, he claimed he was “NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality” but that “Fifty Shades of Grey demands an actor that is genuinely into women. Get it?!?” A few days later, he professed that he was “not a homophobe” but “a misanthrope” and “hate[s] the way homosexuality is presented in our entertainment culture.” Too bad that last Tweet wasn’t the first thing he said.
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