Heroes Producer Speaks Out on Axing of Gay Character Zach

Last December, after a series of marketing efforts that appeared to hype Zach (played by Thomas Dekker), one of the characters on the hit show Heroes, as gay, NBC suddenly appeared to pull the plug on it.

Zach_2Now, Heroes executive producer Bryan Fuller tells website popgurls the story behind the controversy and reveals that Dekker’s manager said she would pull him from the show because he was up for a role on FOX and she was afraid that his playing a gay character would affect the network’s decision to hire him.

Says Fuller: “[Making Zach gay was] absolutely was a path that we were going to take. In the first meetings when we were sitting down and talking about the show, one of the things about the show that Tim said that he wanted all these characters to represent different people in the world and we had an Asian guy and an Indian guy and… a whole bunch of white people. He just wanted it to be a united Benetton cast. I said that’s fantastic, but if we have this many people, then we need to have a gay character. If you want to represent the world, that’s certainly a demographic that we need to hit. [Tim completely agreed and] was thinking Claire’s best friend might be a good person – and I couldn’t agree more. So we were definitely going down a route of making [Zach] the gay character and having him have a big role in her life and sort of teaching her to come out about her ability and embrace herself and actually using the coming out metaphor and the gay metaphor in that instance as a fun piece of storytelling.”

Bryan_fullerHe adds: “There was an unfortunate miscommunication and when the script arrived that had the line in it, ‘I would take you to homecoming but you have to know that I don’t like girls that way.’ The actor [Thomas Dekker]’s, manager threatened to pull him from the show because he was up for the John Carter role in The Sarah Connor Chronicles and she didn’t want him playing a gay character because it might affect FOX’s interest in hiring him. It got really ugly…

…It’s unfortunate and really – we only took one line out of the script. In really, in all of our minds, the character was still gay but we couldn’t say it explicitly. I was very upset by it – I was not happy about it at all. There were times I had to avoid talking about it because we didn’t want to have a negative reflection on the show. The show’s been such a positive experience for so many people, we didn’t want to get hung up on the fact that one actor’s management felt that it was a career killer for him to play a homosexual which, as a gay man, I found incredibly insulting. We had episodes planned for him to be in, and she pulled him from the show altogether. So that’s why he sort of disappeared.”

Shame!

PopGurls Interview: Heroes Bryan Fuller [popgurls]

Comments

  1. Bobby says

    They should have recast the part. Find a kid that looked like the actor and show his homophobic manager how it works.

    The manager should be fired.

  2. Dan E says

    I really want to know how the actor feels about the whole situation, so I know whether to boycott anything he’s ever in for the rest of his career, or whether I should just despise his manager.

  3. FizziekruntNT says

    REPLACE HIM FOR CHRISSAKES!

    It’s not like other characters in past shows haven’t been replaced by different actors and I am quite certain there are other actors with gay-positive management that would be MORE than happy to take the role.

  4. rich says

    Bobby got it right.

    The heartfelt statement lands a little weak.

    Why would they just not recast the part or simply make another charater gay?

    Seems like a limp way of passing the buck.Its not like he’s the only actor in hollywood, or that writers can no longer create a new character.

    something smells here.

  5. Leland says

    Props to a degree for what Fuller had planned to do, but it would have been even more representative “of the world” if one of the actual “heroes” were gay or lesbian. And, for that matter, there’s only one “of color” [not counting the Indian], and he’s “Haitian” for Pete’s sake—sounds like an old AIDS “joke.”

    Just as society at large still sees us as second-class citizens, too many in Follywood still see us as supporting characters, scenery, “color,” site gags. “Will” and “Jack” are still the exception not the rule.

    As as long as I’m ranting, when is GLAAD or AfterElton or SOMEONE going to complain about the gay stereotypes Mark Gay Repug Cherry still keeps minting up “Desperate Housewives” with? Last night it was a blink and you missed “her” “gay real estate agent” flaming so high I’m surprised “she” didn’t singe Carlos and Edie’s pubic hair when she discovered them in bed. Plus, you see, in TV & Movie Land, heteros fuck while gay capons strut and shriek about.

    Well, I suppose it was better than the gay male serial child molestor discovered by Housewive het heroine Lynette.

  6. All About Mimi says

    A quick check of a listings service says Dekker’s manager is:
    Mimi DiTrani
    Untitled Entertainment
    331 N. Maple Drive 2nd Floor
    Beverly Hills CA 90210
    Phone: 310-601-2100
    FAX: 310-601-2344
    I would suggest if anyone disagrees with her rationale, you write her a polite note. I think decisions like hers are very commonplace and are based on assumed fallout for playing gay roles. All it would take is calling people on their bullshit publicly to encourage most of them to think twice before allowing fear of the unknown to inadvertently send negative messages about being gay to audiences. Keep in mind, the listing could be wrong. But I doubt it.

  7. peterparker says

    If his manager had watched ‘Three’s Company’ she’d know that playing gay can score a guy a really sweet pad with two awesome babes in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica.

  8. DJ says

    They should have replaced the actor. Plain and simple. The actor, however young, must be held responsible for the choice made. The manager’s statement is also something SHE needs to be held responsible for. Homophobia is rampant in Hollywood. But small – positve – steps are being taking place everyday — but bear in mind adversity of any kind can be just as positive in its own way, as positive as any actor (straight or gay) embracing a “gay” role. Let’s all keep fighting the good fight. Goodness will win over stupidity. It just takes time and time is on our side.

  9. Matt says

    Heroes is a great show and I watch it religiously. Why do we care if there is a gay character or not? It has nothing to do with the story line.

    I also can’t blame this actor for not wanting to be type casted as gay. A previous post here stated he had already played a gay character. Look at the boy from Eating Out. He pretty much only plays gay roles now…even a gay pig. LOL.

  10. Dan E says

    Actually there are two black heroes (Nikki’s husband, whose name I forget, in addition to the Haitian), as well as a multi-racial kid hero, and multiple inter-racial romances. So yeah, I’d say they’re doing pretty well on the whole race issue.

    As a sidenote, I liked the flamingly gay real estate agent– I thought he was a hoot– and I think it’s foolish to suggest that flamingly gay characters be somehow banned from television. Let’s not forget that desperate housewives also has a gay teenager who doesn’t conform to mainstream gay stereotypes, and who may, at this point, be one of the most sane characters on the show.

  11. Matt says

    I agree 100%. There are flaming gay men just like that in real life. Are we embarassed about these sections of our community. The gay teenager role seems well without sterotypical nuances seen in Jack and any other flaming character.

  12. says

    Dan, do you really believe Andrew is “one the most sane charachters” on Desperate Housewives? I don’t know how it is on the third season but he hasn’t been very sane on the two previous.

  13. Rad says

    I never watch the show, so I can’t comment on the characters, however I agree with the common response: Recast the part with someone who’s manager is not so hung up on gay issues.

    Such a shame; things have never been the same over at Fux since Thelma turned dyke on “The Simpsons”.

  14. Zlexar says

    It’s so interesting that no one has mentioned that Hiro Nakamura (who the show is NAMED AFTER fer cryin’ out loud) is actually not a white person. That, combined with the “not counting the Indian” remark, makes me wonder if there’s a bit of anti-Asian sentiment out there.

    As far as that kid’s manager goes – whether or not she made a bad business decision will depend on her client’s success. I’m interested to see what happens.

  15. soulbrotha says

    I find it insulting that in this day and age, a multi-cultural cast is considered to be “Benetton” instead of, um, oh I don’t know..REAL LIFE?! How fucking “white” of him to have an Asian and an Indian! WOW! “Don’t want to get too crazy with an ethnic cast, the white folks watching may not be able to handle it!”
    If they still can’t cast people of color equally in 2007, then don’t expect fair gay representation to happen anytime soon.

  16. Dan E says

    In the most recent season, Andrew actually becomes very sane. It’s an over-the-top soap opera, so complete character transformations aren’t that unusual!

    And yea, I wasn’t counting Hiro or Mohinder because I was responding to a rant about Heroes “of color,” which I took to be a shorthand for Black/African American. But as I said, I think Heroes does pretty well with the whole minority thing (except, perhaps, that there does appear to be a shortage of significant female characters, in comparison to significant male characters).

  17. says

    It’s too bad they had to recast the actress who plays Thelma.

    If what Fuller says is true, Dekker and his management made a big mistake. “Sarah Connor Chronicles” is going to be D.O.A. We’ll see whose left holding the bag.

  18. dan e says

    soulbrotha–

    of the recurring characters in Heroes, you have three african americans (four if you count the inter-racial child, though one, and the only woman among them, recently died), one indian, and two japanese (three if you count Sulu!!). You can nitpick at the word choice of the producer if you want, but when it comes to actually having a multicultural set of characters on a show, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find one that does a better job than Heroes.

  19. peterparker says

    Matt,

    With every post you continue to amaze me with your homophobia and your ignorance. You are clearly either a heterosexual troll or a very young gay guy who hasn’t yet shed his preconceived notions (all negative) about gay people. Either way, I think you could benefit from some professional help.

    As for the dangers of an actor playing gay, you might want to do a little casual research on actors who have played gay in the past and what it has done for their careers. Jake Gyllenhaal’s career doesn’t seem to be suffering despite the fact that he played gay in the highest profile film of 2005. Ditto Heath Ledger. Speaking of high profile films of 2005, Philip Seymour Hoffman snagged an Academy Award for playing one of the gayest gays of modern gaydom in his role as Truman Capote in the film ‘Capote’. Catherine Deneuve seems to be doing alright, this despite a role not only as a lesbian, but a lesbian VAMPIRE in ‘The Hunger’. And look at Jon Voight…he played gay-ish in ‘Midnight Cowboy’ and now he’s Angelina Jolie’s dad! (Never mind that she’s too busy saving orphans to speak to him.) And since you brought up playing gay twice, I’ll bring up Forest Whitaker. In 1992 Whitaker starred in ‘The Crying Game’, a film in which he courted a transgendered woman (unbeknownst to him) and flirted heavily with another male character played by Stephen Rea. He followed that with a role in 1994 as a gay clothing designer in Robert Altman’s ‘Ready to Wear’. And then won an Academy Award for Best Actor in his role as Idi Amin in ‘The Last King of Scotland’. Yep, playing gay seems *terrible* for an actor’s career.

    P.S.–I have some friends who are psychotherapists who could rid you of that nasty homophobia.

    xo,
    peterparker

  20. Daniel says

    Matty, I watch the show too. I do care if there is a gay character–there should be at least one gay character on a show that pretends to represent a cross section of the general population. But, even more, I care that there was going to be a gay character and everyone seems to have woosed out on it. I care that for the first several episodes it seemed that the character was gay–then suddenly he wasn’t–and now he seems to have dissapeared without an explanation. I do care about things like this. I care about the timidity here, especially in an era when there are a lot of gay characters on shows, gay and straight actors who play gay characters on shows. There are also actors who play gay characters and then go on to play all kinds of different roles. In regards to the single actor you brought up as an example–I think that has more to do with the actor’s (lack of) talent and his persona.

  21. Zlexar says

    Upon reflection, I’m pretty sure all the sadistic power-mad murderers on Heros are white and all the ‘people of color’ are noble.

    Of course, this won’t be good enough either. And I’m sure there are those who would take enraged offense if there WAS a ‘villan of color.’ Sometimes people are determined to be disgruntled….they aren’t worth trying to please.

  22. Frozen North says

    I’m sorry but am I the only one who thinks re-casting is ridiculous? This is a major prime time show, not a cheap ass soap opera.
    (And now the part of Billy Wittman will be played by Marc Le Clerk) Never happens on Prime Time.

    Second, Claire, the cheerleader, is currently on the run, so give them a break about re-introducing the gay character. The support characters are disposable, they have to be to support the nature of the show. Maybe in time they will introduce a gay hero, but there are only so many sub-plots a show can sustain. Look at what’s happened to LOST.

  23. Da says

    Ok, I have 2 BIG problems with this story:

    1. Bryan Fuller is THE executive producer of the show.

    2. He says he is a gay man.

    Why didn’t he cast a gay actor for the role?? Why? What are his reasons?

    He can come complaining about this actor & manager, but he’s just part of the problem (as far as I’m concerned) because he should have thought about “diversity” during casting call.

    With this, I’m not sending any mail to that manager or the actor, cause they have the right not to care about recieving a GLAAD award for ‘best awkward gay kiss du jour’.

  24. Mark M says

    Matt,

    My gut reaction is to condemn you like some others here, but I’d rather address your ignorance specifically.

    Being gay doesn’t have anything to do with the storyline huh?

    If you read the article, then you would have also read the part where the producer explains that as Claire’s best friend, Zach would have mentored her on “coming out” about her abilities.

    So yeah, being gay, for this character, would have a profound impact and relevance on the storyline when you consider the parallels of the character’s experiences.

  25. says

    Frozen North…..

    Never happened on Prime Time? The TV series “The Walton’s” recast its star “John Boy”. Bewitched recast it’s second lead character “Darren”. The popular sitcom “Rosanne” recast the oldest daughter once and then recast it again bringing back the original actress. This character on Heroes wasn’t even a major character. He could have very easily been recast with Jesse Medcalf and everyone would have been thrilled.

  26. says

    Very interesting. I’ve been following Fuller’s work since Voyager — he was the only exciting writer to come out of that show. His Dead Like Me pilot is one of the best ever pilots ever produced, in my opinion (though after he quit the show, I followed him right out the door. I was shocked to learn later on that the new management made the closet-case father into a red blooded hetero).

    I’m not sure I believe Fuller when he says he’d be fine going back to Heroes — It’s a nice thing to say, but of course he wants his own show. And–though he is by far the best Heroes writer–I hope he gets it, and that it’s more Dead Like Me, less Wonderfalls (which felt forced quirkiness to me).

  27. Leland says

    Thanks for the correction re Black characters on “Heroes.” Mea culpa, and a clarification. While, grammatically, “people of color” might refer to anyone “non white,” I live in San Francisco where there are so many Asians of various descents, that “people of color” tends only to refer to Blacks and Hispanics and Indians and Native Americans.

    But nowhere did I suggest that “flaming gay characters be somehow banned from television.”

    What I did suggest is that the percentage of “flaming gay characters” is disproportionate to reality—unless you live in “La Cage Aux Folles”—which you may, Dan, if you found such a worn out cartoon character “a hoot.”

    Perhaps that, too, would explain your exaggerated characterization of teenage gay/bi “Andrew” being “one of the most sane characters on the show.” Yes, it’s been a while since he mortally injured someone in a hit and run which he treated as nothing more than littering [“She’s an old lady! I have my whole life ahead of me!”], though not as long since he seduced his mother’s bi boyfriend just to hurt her. Perhaps that’s what you meant by the qualifier, “at this point,” but that’s only relative to the fact that he’s hardly in the script at all other than the pizza boy who doesn’t deliver.

    Let’s review gay Repug Cherry’s representation of gays out of a very large cast of regulars and recurring characters:

    1. nonstereotypical but [in Cherry’s own word] sociopathic teenager Andrew; turning into a non-nelly version of “Mute John” of “NYPD Blue.”
    2. Andrew’s former boyfriend; quite nonstereotypical/positive save for the fact that he was tricking with a sociopath whom he agreed to hit in order to help fake a charge of child abuse against Andrew’s mother, Bree, whom Andrew wanted to blackmail. Ooops, he’s gone.
    3. gay cable TV installer; only around long enough to be beaten up by Carlos who thinks he’s straight and having an affair with Gabi
    4. gay “extras” in the resulting court room scene who get into a fight with Carlos, never to be seen again
    5. Art the Wisteria Lane neighbor who at first is a hero both for taking care of his invalid sister and saving Lynette’s life. Then he’s thought to be a child molestor. Then it appears that we are seeing a courageous dramatization of someone being wrongly accused of being a child molestor. Then, in the most sinister way, it’s revealed that he is what Lynette feared and Middle America thinks of us all—”I’m moving to another neighborhood where I’ll be able to molest even more boys now that my sister is dead.”
    6. Vern, Gabi’s pansy partner in coaching little girls who want to be beauty queens. You also probably thought he was a real hoot, Dan, because he was another eternal flame, with stock limp wrists mincing about the screen and the biggest Sssssnowflake in the Snowflake Pageant.

    In short, an out gay man who, because DH is such a huge hit, has used his rare power and privilege to not just reinforce existing negative ideas about us but create new ones, and, therefore, should have his GLAAD awards shoved up his fat ass.

  28. says

    DA —

    Maybe the actor who plays Zach is gay. We don’t know, and that’s not really the issue.

    The issue is that his management supposedly bucked at him playing a gay boy.

  29. Leland says

    PS: Another prime time recasting, and one ironically related, was that Jack Coleman, who plays the cheerleader’s evil/good stepfather, replaced Al Corley as the gay/straight/bi son on the huge hit “Dynasty,” the total difference in appearance explained by plastic surgery after an explosion. Corley allegedly left the show after it became clear the producers were not willing to allow his character to be authentically gay. Are you listening “Andrew”?

  30. says

    There have been quite a few mistaken statements on this comments thread.

    Heroes is on NBC, not Fox.

    Why would Dekker–the actor who played Zack–and his management want to go to Fox instead of NBC?

    Because he had a one season recurring gig as a supporting character at NBC, and on Fox, he would not only be a regular, he’d be *the lead*.

    (Yes, *spoiler alert* — Hayden Pantaliere, who plays Claire, will apparently NOT be a regular on Heroes next season… so it stands to reason that the part of her best friend would become vanishingly insignificant in Season 2, if he was in it at all.)

    Third, Fuller is not “THE executive producer” of Heroes — He isn’t even the showrunner. He is one of several senior writers (with the title co-exec producer). He did NOT cast the show.

    So, DA–Retract your claws, honey. You might hurt someone.

  31. matthew says

    I have to admit I have only seen the show once or twice, but based upon this story, I think that someone needs to remind the actor(Thomas Dekker’s) manager that this is 2007, not 1957. For his manager to say playing gay might hurt his career has absolutely no credence of any kind. Like I stated before, it might have credence if this were 1957. His manager stated that playing gay would potentially hurt his career, well getting this poor young man involved in this controversy might prove to hurt his career even more than simply playing the gay character. His manager either needs to address their homophobic views or she needs to go. My apologies for making it such a two-dimensional issue, but the argument of playing gay hurting your career just does not stand with me. Hopefully this will somehow get resolved.

  32. Matt says

    Peterparker,

    Thanks but no thanks. I’m not homophobic and I don’t need to be cured of anything.

    I’m a gay man and yes I am young at 26. What’s homophobic about what I posted. The kid has fears that he will be type casted as being gay. Maybe he doesn’t want to play a gay actor in every role. There is nothing homophobic in my viewpoint about that.
    The gentleman who plays Lynettes husband on Housewives use to play a gay charater on Melrose place and gave advice to Sean Pyfrom on being careful not to get typecasted as an actor.
    Chevy Chase in a recent article talked about how he hates being typecasted as a comedian in every role and was relieved recently to play a murderer on Law and Order. No one called him anti comedian. He just wanted to broaden his horizons.
    I have no problem with a person playing a gay character and welcome it but I understand if someone doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into playing the same type of roles over and over.

    Peter, I also agree with you that it has not hurt those main stream celebrities you mentioned. But going back to my point, they have played numerous other type roles before playing gay and playing gay was a new artistic avenue for them. Why can’t this actor try a new avenue?

    For a show to be good it doesn’t necessarily have to have a gay character. If it does and it works for the plot great, if it doesn’t and the show is still awesome, I’m still going to watch.

    Basically, the show is a hit with or without this character who most people had forgotten about until this post.

    I really resent being called homophobic and saying I need therapy for expressing my view point without name calling.

  33. Dan E says

    Leland–

    You got me. I live in La Cage Aux Folles. No, actually, I live in New York City. I thought the real estate agent was funny because I know people just like him, and because it was an amusing character to have discovering them in bed. I’m sorry you disagree, but please, casting aspersions on me because I’m amused by something you’re not is rather juvenile at best.

    As for Andrew: this season he’s been arguably the most sane character on the show. Yes, in previous seasons, he was a screwed up teenager; he’s turned it around and has been quite positive *this season*.

    And finally, who on Desperate Housewives is a positive rolemodel? They’re *all* cartoonish. They’re *all* chock full of negativity. Why should the gay characters be any different? It would be one thing if DH was full of wonderful, admirable people and all the gay characters were problematic, but it’s NOT. Which is what makes it all the more remarkable that, this season, Andrew has actually gone from being the bad seed to being a good responsible kid. Now I’m sure he’ll go back to being bad– it’s an exageratted soap opera, so everyone is bad some of the time– but I think getting worked up over cartoonish portrayals of gay characters in a show that is, for all intents and purposes, a cartoon is rather ridiculous.

  34. Josh says

    Okay granted I don’t agree with Matt’s viewpoint 100%, he at least does not name call. PeterParker, you are not doing the gay community any justice or helping us by calling fellow men “trolls” or “heterosexual”. And before you go off on me, I am a 52 year old gay man, educated, and very active in the community. Shame on you. You are not being a roll model for these young people. Name calling and throwing mud has never changed anyones opinion. Again sir, shame on you.

  35. anon says

    His manager was thinking: let’s help his career by pulling him from a show so he’s out of work! Yeah, that’s why they get paid the big bucks I suppose. If he got the other gig he’d have left Heroes anyway, gay or not.

    Are people watching TV shows they don’t like? If you don’t like a show, do you still have to watch it? I’ve not seen either DH or Heroes (or Lost too). I watch Brothers and Sisters, but it’s mediocre at best–sort of an updated Eight is Enough.

  36. Critifur says

    The most interesting thing about this story to me is the actor himself. Thomas Dekker used to play Nick Szalinski on the television series version of “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids”. Quite honestly it was like watching Danny Pintauro playing Jonathan on “Who’s the Boss”. I just figured, this kid is definitely gonna grow up to be gay. I loved to see him on the show. Granted he was just ten years old, and I have no real idea about his orientation, but still my gaydar went off the charts back then. It is a shame he did not stand up to his management. The part as originally envisioned would have probably given him much more respect, then looking like he wimped out from gay fear.

  37. Leland says

    Matt, as someone pointed out, the issue of the importance of having a gay character in the series was brought up by the subject of the original item posted by Andy, Bryan Fuller. Reading more carefully before you post about a topic might help.

    No one said EVERY show has to have a gay character, but to not immediately get, as a gay man, that a show as otherwise demographically diverse as this one is, yet again, rendering us invisible justifies Peter’s suspicions about your core attitudes about us. You are defending the status quo and the status quo is very much homophobic just as it once was, and still is too much, racist. It is why I and many other Californians, and gays elsewhere, are outraged at Gov. Terminator’s veto of an effort to mandate the inclusion of real life gays in state textbooks.

    And it isn’t just a matter of reflecting reality but has a positive social change function. Research repeatedly shows that the more people are exposed to even fictional not-hostile portrayals of gays the more they support gay equality.

    As for your youth, at your age, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was leading the Montgomery bus boycott. Few of us even have an opportunity to do things like that, but in the Internet age there is no excuse for homo-ignorance among our own.

  38. Matt says

    Leland,

    I’m not homo-ignorant. I generally disagree with you but never name call you. You constantly name call GLAAD, HRC, and the whole lot of them. Are you happy with anyone? How can you be taken seriously when you call your governor, Governor Terminator?

    I think it’s crazy that if I disagree even a little bit with the main stream I’m labeled the homophobe. I’m not defending a status quo. I’m defending anyone gay, straight, trans, white, or black. I’m just saying what is on my mind at the time. Have I ever been wrong? Yes. Have I changed my opinion on things? Yes. Am I willing to listen after being named called? Probably not.

  39. Mike says

    I remember shortly after the whole “incident” happened back in December someone posted a link to a YouTube of Mr. Dekker dancing at a friends house.

    It was taken down within a few hours of it hitting the blogosphere.

    There’s a reason his management wants to keep him de-gayed.

    Mary.

  40. pacificoceanboy says

    Da very good point

    As executive producer and as a gay man he should have simply cast the role with an out and proud gay actor. I for one am sick and tired of all these straight actors playing (NOT in this case) gay roles.

    This whole issue could have been non existent if he had simply seen to it that 1 of the many many many struggeling out gay actors got the role in the first place.

  41. says

    He did not want to be seen as o nly that role like that gilmore girl will always be that gilmore girl. Jessica Biel will always be that 7th heaven girl more cases

    how is heterosexual a curseword or insult its like the same midset of people who think being called shallow and spoiled is an insult

  42. peterparker says

    Matt,

    I wasn’t suggesting that you struggle with homophobia based on that one little post. My opinion that you struggle with homphobia is based on a plethora of things you’ve posted here. Most of what I see posted on these pages and signed ‘Matt’ bears the thought process of someone is either A) straight, homophobic and disingenuously attempting to portray themselves as gay or B) gay and terrifically unaware of his own internalized homophobia.

    You say you are gay, and I choose to believe that. And that leads me to believe you harbor some deeply homophobic sentiments. We all have it to a certain degree. It’s part of the trauma of growing up in a culture where we are second class citizens. And a psychotherapy office is a perfectly acceptable place to work on the issues created by that trauma. Personally don’t think there is anything wrong with seeing a psychotherapist to work on one’s issues. Nor do I think there is anything wrong with pointing out to someone that they could benefit from such help. In my book, it’s sort of like saying, “Hey, I think a doctor could help you with that sore throat.” It’s not my fault that you choose to believe I’m maligning you.

    xo,
    peterparker

  43. says

    Scottevill, alright he’s not THE executive producer, but one of the “co-exec producers”…

    It doesn’t changes much to what I’m getting at:

    Which is that. if he’s willing to go after this actor and manager publicly (with allegations that are quite incriminating) it must mean the issue is very important to him. So why didn’t he campaign for it during casting? and why didn’t they replace the role as it was suggested by others?

    To me this excercise sounds like outing-gossip (which I despise), and a lot of blame laying.

  44. Matt says

    And just because I have different opinions, why does that make me have internalized homophobia?

    If I went to therapy and confronted this internalized homophobia wouldn’t that be brainwashing me into thinking differently?

  45. Leland says

    Dan, you’re applying the same logical fallacy that Matt did of “all things are equal.” Chevy Chase’s concern about being type cast as a comedian is far different than being type cast as gay. Comedians aren’t second class citizens in America. It’s not legal to fire someone in thirty plus states simply for being a comedian; nor deny them housing, nor prevent them from marrying other comedians, adopt children, or openly a part of the US military. Comedians, as a class, are not bashed verbally or physically or murdered.

    As for all the characters on DH being cartoons, that’s beside the point, and, further, not the center of its huge popularity. I bet a poll would show that most viewers of the show, straight women and gay men, are most fond of Susan and Mike, and identify with their romance, slapstick and melodrama aside, just as those who watch daytime soaps do with their on-again/off-again romances between the beautiful. Or Lynette and Tom, as many problems as they have, and despite their brats. With its narrator-from-the-grave, DH is repeatedly, consciously portrayed as illustrative of lessons about Life, and that, however unrealistically, just like day soaps, is what most straight viewers take from it. And, again, a part of that is that 99% of the world on and off Wisteria Lane are heterosexual; that’s the “norm” however fractured and funny. That being gay, at best, is about the random fuck and doesn’t last more than a few episodes, figuratively and literally. The straight world may be made up of all kinds, even some with bodies in their freezers, but most are just looking for romantic love and sex and children just like Mr. & Mrs. America, but the gays are, judging by this show, primarily looking for little girls to turn into Little Miss Sunshine or little boys to turn into sex partners.

  46. Matt says

    Peter,

    If you would like to continue this educated discussion, please click my name and email me directly. I would welcome the discussion in a mature manner.

  47. says

    Having seen that YouTube video of Dekker, it did strike me that an unstated reason in all of this is that the actor is gay in real life.

    Matt Dallas, who plays Kyle on “Kyle XY” is another of those actors who “seems” gay in most of his appearances, and also popped up in an episode of the Kathy Griffin show. A lot of ink was spilled talking about his girlfriends as well.

    Assuming for a moment both guys are straight and just have the misfortune to set off even the most shoddy of gaydars.. hey, it happens… the real story here might be about straightguys who look, sound, and act sterotypically gay in their real lives who are afraid to play gay characters who don’t look, sound or act sterotypically gay in reel life for fear of being seen to really be gay back in the real world because of—

    Oh I give up.

    Dekker’s people really are just tools.

  48. Cory says

    I have it on good accord that his manager is even gay. My friend who left the theatre life said it perfectly: homo-homophobia. Plus Fox and Fox News aren’t exactly known for being “fair and balanced”. Why Fox News has any credibility is beyond me…

  49. Daniel says

    Matt, if the actor didn’t want to play a gay role he shouldn’t have taken the part in the first place. Every indication of the character I saw in the pre-publicity and everywhere was that he was gay.

  50. Dan E says

    Leland–

    I’m not quite sure where the first half of you latest comment to me came from; I made no reference to Chevy Chase at any point in any of my posts.

    As for DH: I’m simply going to close by saying that I disagree with you on this one, and don’t consider the portrayals of gay men to be out of line. The only recurring gay character– Andrew– is actually, in *this season* a very positive figure. Yes, he was an ass in the past, but I think that’s true of most characters on the show.

  51. adamblast says

    I’ve gotta say that barring any comments from the actor himself, I hold him accountable for the actions of his management.

    And in this case, I found those actions insulting enough that I’ve formed a pretty strong disliike regarding Thomas Dekker.

    Here’s hoping his Fox series tanks and he never works again. Here’s hoping that insulting your gay audience pays the dividends it deserves: obscurity.

  52. soulbrotha says

    Zlexar what are you getting on about?

    It has taken Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Indians years of “determined disgruntledness” to force change in way their characters are written. Positive roles that are expressly written with a person of color in mind are scarce. I have tagged along on casting calls with my Black actor friend and I have seen what looked to be every Black actor in town reading for the part.

    So yes, as long as there are stereotypes and narrow-minded roles of villainy, you can bet your ass that we will be “disgruntled”. And since the color of our MONEY doesn’t seem to bother them, I would say that we are damn well worth it!

  53. David says

    I was hopeful that the character would develop and have a meaningful role in Heroes. But alas, it seems it is not to be. Thanks to more Hollywood homophobia.

    I agree with Adamblast that if Thomas Decker disagrees with his management then he should say so, his silence is tacit approval of this type of homophobia.

    As long as talent management shows this type of disgust for a client “playing” gay, we will never move beyond stereotypical characters.

  54. graig says

    What about a wheel chair bound, blind, purple overweight actor. Where is the representation? Where is the love??
    It would be nice to see a gay character on the show but you have to remember that we are a minority. I don’t expect to see a gay character on every show. Neither do I expect to see every race, religion, etc on every television show, it is called reality.

  55. Chris in Seattle says

    He did end up getting the part in the new Terminator show: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, so he’ll be over there anyway. Its not like he had a huge part on this show anyway..Im sure there will be gay or lesbian hero in upcoming seasons anyway..I believe that the cast is going to change quite significantly next year.

  56. lambman says

    The suggestion that they could “just make anothing character gay” is rediculous, and slightly offensive. They intended Zach to be gay, not another character, character’s sexuality is important to their development. Because Heroe’s is a show built on character development and connections they can’t just switch the sexuality of a character without affecting the storylines they have planned out. Luckily this was a rather minor character.

    Besides I’m sure they’ll represent multiple GLBT people throughout the show. I also think its safe to assume that large female welder with super hearing was a lesbian.

  57. joshua says

    YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…..It took all the way to DA’s comment(no. 30) for ANYONE to mention that the Producer is supposed to be a Gay man and didn’t have the balls to hire a damn Gay actor to play the part of a gay person. Why the hell does a gay charector have to be played by a homophobic young str8 man instead of a gay man?
    I read this blog most days(evenings actually) and read the comments if it’s something that intersts me and I’ve noticed there are a lot of regulars on here that always seem to have good things to say about cute str8 men in the news but almost always have negative things to say about their fellow gay people in the news.
    And quite often it’s the same ones who critize gay men for not coming out or other transgressions and claim to be voices in the wilderness for gay rights.

    So…yeah DA….your quite right, the real villen here is the producer, because he had the power to really advance someone’s career who happened to also be gay.

  58. Zlexar says

    Soulbrotha, why are you so upset? You have a show with heavy minority representation (Hispanic, African-American, Indian, Japanese, and mixed race). And you have a show where all the villans are white people.

    And yet your post calls the director “fucking white” for giving Asians and Indians lead roles in what you feel is an attempt to placate a white audience. (Not a very flattering way to talk about us Asians btw).

    You also say you want the show to reflect “Real Life,” but then you confirm my suggestion that you’d be unhappy if a person of color was ever cast as a villan. We all know that real life has villans of all colors.

    My suggestion is that you are more interested in voicing offense than in being logially consistent about what you’d like to see on TV. You don’t seem interested in portraying ‘reality’ or certain people of color at all. I have a feeling that no matter what the director did, you’d have nothing at all but negative things to say because you get something out of it.

    Perhaps I’m wrong. Rather than make vaguely dissatisfied claims, you’d like to be more specific and tell us excatly what you’d like to see on this show. Please be specific.

  59. Fendie says

    I have to say the manager made a pretty bad move. Imagine the bad PR the kid has now.

    But guys, c’mon it’s just a TV show. Let the writers write it and take us on a journey. I dont understand why everytime we see a gay character on TV, we only want positive representations. Are we afraid that people will think all gay people are bad? Have u no confidence in your own sense of being that you need to constantly be represented by other people? These days, the one factor that is driving the change in people’s attitude towards gays are not them, it’s us. We have to show good example. We have to walk proud. We have to show people that we are good citizens, good friends, good lovers, good sons and daughters. We are driving the change. People dont care about TV characters because they are fictional. Regardless of how nice they are portrayed on TV it doesnt carry the same impact as you showing it to people around you.

    Let the show write itself.

    To the the one with the angry comment about the flaming real estate agent, two words…Embrace Diversity.

    Fendie

  60. says

    “Scottevill, alright he’s not THE executive producer, but one of the “co-exec producers”…

    It doesn’t changes much to what I’m getting at:”

    DA, it *totally* changes your point, because Fuller did not cast the show. That was Tim Kring and the network.

    Even so, do you honestly want to start mandating that only gay actors get to play gay roles?

    BTW, there is a lot of speculation that a gay actor *did* play this particular gay role…

    What you and Joshua and others on this thread are *really* demanding is that only OUT gay actors get to play gay roles. In other words, you’re imposing a POLITICAL test. “Closet cases need not apply.” Now, I don’t like closet cases any more than anyone else, and I wish they’d come out, but all the same, I’m not gonna get behind the idea that they should be denied work for being in, and wanting to remain in, the closet.

    And, please, think about the idea of only casting gay actors to play gay parts for like 2 seconds, because if you do, you’ll realize that you really don’t like the converse: that only HETERO actors get to play HETERO roles.

    In other words, you’re advocating a gay ghetto — In a world where only gay actors can play gay parts, only hetero actors can play hetero parts… and there are a LOT more of them.

    It’s all horseshit–The whole point of acting is to play a character, not yourself.

    And, BTW, Chris in Seattle–He *did* get the part in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

  61. says

    Oh–Chris in Seattle–I think I misread your comment. I thought you were saying Dekker *didn’t* get the part. (Serves me right for leaving my glasses on the coffee table at home this morning.) Sorry :) –Scott

  62. says

    And, regarding the manager… Mimi DiTrannie (he he)… I don’t think we should hate her for being good at her job. She didn’t create the corporate culture at Fox, which *is* homophobic.

    Does anybody remember when Sandy Grushow fired Randy Stone for being gay?

    Put the blame where it belongs. Not on NBC (which had no problem letting them have a gay teen in the supporting cast), not on the producers at Heroes (who didn’t *have* to undertake this storyline, after all), and not on the manager, who is doing the best job she can for her client.

    The blame belongs on *Fox* for being an outfit where a kid who played gay on would be disqualified from consideration for an action-hero type lead.

  63. adamblast says

    Scott, we’re getting a bit esoteric here, but I still think the manager gets the bulk of the blame. She was the one who raised a stink, assuming that playing a gay character would hurt her client’s chances. No doubt if the kid really is gay, she’s helping to keep him in the closet and claiming it’s necessary for his career. In both cases she’s kissing homophobia on the cheek and giving it the thumbs up to the detriment of gays in the industry everywhere. Kissing up to projected/assumed homophobia is not OK just because it makes you money.

  64. says

    Joshua, thanks for the acknowledgement.

    If I was to go on a Nancy-Grace-like tirade, I’d say that this producer’s words very much echoes Out magazine and the other outing squad’s tactics:

    It’s all “blame, blame, blame, blame, blame, blame..”

    But personal responsibility? = 0.


    “And quite often it’s the same ones who critize gay men for not coming out or other transgressions and claim to be voices in the wilderness for gay rights.”

    True, but as many of us commented before, it’s not necessarly gay men making those nasty comments you read. So beware of “trolls” and “trojan horses” within the gay community; those people who may be akin to us, or just pretend to be part of us, but their whole mandate and purpose is ensuring that we do not advance.

  65. MichaelM says

    I’m reading these posts, and I keep thinking that the most important reason gay people get treated like crap, especially in the entertainment world, is that we let it happen. I don’t want to hear another damn word about Thomas Dekker’s manager. What do you think he is, a sock puppet? Whatever Dekker’s manager advises him to do, she doesn’t make his career decisions–he does. I don’t know whether he is a homophobic twit or a coward hiding behind his manager. I do know that this is on him. What happened here is that Dekker threatened to walk out on the show if he had to play a gay character, and the gay executive producer didn’t have the balls to tell him that if he did, he’d be sued for breach of contract. No wonder there are so few gay characters on network TV. Why should they care what we think, when we’ll accept an insult like this one and keep watching the show?

  66. says

    Again, people are not taking the time to properly understand the situation. Michaelelm: “What happened here is that Dekker threatened to walk out on the show if he had to play a gay character, and the gay executive producer didn’t have the balls to tell him that if he did, he’d be sued for breach of contract.”

    Dekker was not a regular, he was a recurring guest character. They had him on a per-episode basis, so there was no contract to breach.

    The manager simply made him unavailable to continue guesting on the show.

    “I don’t want to hear another damn word about Thomas Dekker’s manager. What do you think he is, a sock puppet?”

    No, I think he’s a *kid* who is new to the business — and who might well *be* gay, so he’s afraid that if he becomes too associated with gay roles, those will be the only roles available to him.

    BTW, the prodco executive in charge of The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a friend of a friend, and is *not* a homophobe. He could care less if Dekker is gay, or if Dekker *played* gay…

    So did the manager overreact? Probably, but it’s not like she made the situation up out of whole cloth. Fox, as a network, has a reputation as being less gay friendly than ABC or NBC.

  67. jemmytee says

    I agree with those who think Bryan Fuller’s reasons for there not being a gay character on the show are disengenous, at best. If he really wants one, he should put one in. Period. And if the actor cast doesn’t want to play the part, recast it. That’s what producers do in TV. Look at the “L&O” series and “ER” and even “NYPD Blue” when it was on. New characters and actors all over the place, and it didn’t hurt them, any.

    No, truth be told, it sounds more like he doesn’t want one. Not really. Might turn members of his audience off, and we can’t have that. Better to blame it all on some unimportant kid’s manager and hope it all goes away.

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