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6 Signs That Hollywood Still Has a Gay Problem

6 Signs That Hollywood Still Has a Gay Problem
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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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71 comments

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2:04PM PDT on Jul 31, 2013

Thanks

5:12AM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Hollywood should be more accepting of gays.

1:16AM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Does anyone really care what Baldwin thinks?

11:31AM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Scott h is right. Gay stars of yesteryear were very deep in the closet. When gay actors went out on the town, they did it in threes so people wouldn’t think they were a couple (or even two couples). They were encouraged to marry to hide the fact that they were gay or lesbian.
Mary R is right about the Double Standard. Until Dances with Wolves, virtually no movie featured Native Americans in positive roles. Flower Drum Song was the first film to feature an all-Asian cast.
On TV, Native American Jay Silverheels played Tonto (which means “Stupid” in Spanish), but in Daniel Boone, Ed Ames (definitely not Native) played Mingo. I love Law and Order SVU reruns with Adam Beach—he’s one of my favorite actors and his character Chester Lake might be Native or not, it doesn’t matter.
Puerto Rican gang leader Bernardo in West Side Story was played by a Greek (George Chakiris), and his sister Maria was played by Natalie Wood.
Hollywood wants to make money, so actors who bring in the bucks are cast. Johnny Depp will bring in the audience (even if Tonto is just Captain Jack Sparrow in Native American garb).
As far as boycotting a film, nobody had to protest Scientology by boycotting Battlefield Earth or After Earth. Both sucked and both tanked at the box office.

6:46AM PDT on Jul 23, 2013

There are plenty of assholes in Hollywood and they don't necessarily represent the entire entertainment industry. Bret Easton Ellis is a hack writer and the only reason his crappy book is being made is because millions of gullible women bought it and read it. Same thing with Orson Scott Card. Books are made into movies all the time with the aim of making movies that will not only entertain but make tubs of money. That's what Hollywood cares about most, making tubs of money. So they base their decisions on whether or not the movies they make will make money. And trust me, a lot of bad decisions have been made in Hollywood in the past century.

If you want to hate Hollywood to the point of boycotting everything that comes out of Hollywood, go ahead. But I don't think you can do it for very long,

10:08PM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

In the sea of homo-acceptance that is Hollywood, there's bound to be one asshole that stands out like a bright, red star -- that's Alec Baldwin. As for the Liberace movie being "too gay" how is it possible that any movie about Liberace be "too gay?" Preposterous. Not gay enough, maybe. And finally, no one does kink better than gay men so to say that a gay man is not suitable for the role of Christian Gray is like saying Bellerophon (the guy who tamed Pegasus) just "isn't suited" to play a ranch hand. Bah.

4:40PM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

If the person can act, it doesn't make a bit of difference if they are gay or hetero. The problem is that Hollywood doesn't bat an eyelash if Tom Hanks stars in Philadelphia, but complains that a gay man can't star in Fifty Shades. That is what we call a Double Standard, folks. Likewise, I'm sure Johnny Depp can act well enough to play Tonto. The question is would anyone in Hollywood cast native Americans to play both Tonto and the Lone Ranger?

1:24PM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

Baldwin is a total bastard ...and I do understand why anyone would watch anything he appears in!

9:01AM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

Hollywood is a major closet case.
Gay men and women have played a major role in nearly every aspect of movie making since the first Edison movie popped on to the screen!
Why the entire industry can't come out and be honest with itself is beyond me. And don't tell me it's based on profits. The movies coming out of Hollywood right now are mundane and juvenile, and geared to an audience who couldn't care less if a gay actor played the lead or not. As long as their is a monster, a car chase, mayhem, and lots of guns, their happy!

10:23PM PDT on Jul 20, 2013

Mary T, you make the argument for the right of believability. All those actors were in the closet. No one knew about their sexual orientation. A 100 million dollar film based on a womanizer will be a hard sell to a public that knows the lead is gay.

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