GLAAD | News | Ramin Setoodeh

GLAAD Wants Apology from 'Newsweek' For Setoodeh Article

GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios released a statement today regarding the Newsweek article by Ramin Setoodeh suggesting that gay actors can't play straight roles.

Said Barrios: Setoodeh  

“Whether he intended it to or not, Ramin Setoodeh’s article in Newsweek sends a false and damaging message about gay actors by endorsing the idea that there are limits to the roles they are able to play.

If Setoodeh wanted to start a discussion about the work of gay performers, he undermined his own premise by affirming stereotype after stereotype, such as gay actors being ‘insincere’ or unbelievable when playing romantic leads, and dismissing or disregarding the work of actors like Neil Patrick Harris, Cheyenne Jackson, Cherry Jones, Wanda Sykes, Jonathan Groff and Alan Cumming, among others.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender actors can play a wide variety of diverse roles and Setoodeh’s perspective on this issue reflects his own discomfort that he attempts to project onto the audience by indicting Sean Hayes instead of examining his own inability to embrace gay actors in straight roles.

Since the article’s publication, Setoodeh has attempted to reframe his opinion piece as an analysis of the lack of gay men in leading roles, however, he continues to posit that gay male actors are not believable. In his May 11th interview with Joy Behar, Setoodeh claims about Neil Patrick Harris’ television role: ‘He’s not really a romantic lead where women are actually supposed to believe him as a heterosexual character.’

Whatever Setoodeh’s intentions or beliefs, Newsweek is ultimately responsible for having published this deeply problematic essay and consciously or not, promoting and encouraging Setoodeh’s discomfort.

GLAAD has been in dialogue with Newsweek to provide space for views on the subject that expand their readers’ understanding of this issue past the harmful attitudes of writers like Setoodeh, whose perspective is used to pressure gay actors to stay closeted.

GLAAD also joins Glee creator Ryan Murphy in urging Newsweek to issue an apology.”

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  1. Good luck with that. What GLAAD doesn't get is that tadoodeedah speaks for a large swath of the gays. Even savage was practically giving him a handjob.

    Posted by: TANK | May 12, 2010 6:05:23 PM

  2. Wow, GLADD grows a set of balls.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | May 12, 2010 6:05:25 PM

  3. The main reason his piece was a joke was that he was acting as if being openly gay meant an actor could never behave in such a way that would make playing any straight role convincing. Sean Hayes did not bother him in that role because he knows he's gay but because, I assume, his mannerisms and his type don't suit what that character calls for. (Though I loved Amanda Bearse's retort that the dude got a Tony nomination so his performance is working for SOMEBODY.)

    It's legit to question why there are so few out actors and to wonder aloud what would happen if Clooney came out, but that's not all this writer said or wondered. His comments about Groff were particularly messed up. Groff is great on that show and perfectly believable in his role. In fact, I'd guess most of the show's fans don't even realize he's gay, let alone out.

    It really was a stupid piece, and instead of going around saying, "But my point was..." he should go back and stand by or apologize for every point he made to begin with.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | May 12, 2010 6:14:33 PM

  4. @Mathhew: Per usual, I agree with you. I read Towleroad almost daily but was out of the country for a fair bit last year, and I didn't know Groff was gay until today.

    Posted by: Paul R | May 12, 2010 6:37:35 PM

  5. Russell Tovey has a blazing career in UK. Then again what would you expect from a soon-to-be-defunct periodical that employs a writer who probably uses a watering can for toilet paper.

    Posted by: SmallhandFF | May 12, 2010 6:38:00 PM

  6. I do not understand why Dan Savage gave Setoodah a pass on the Joy Behar show. I would like for Savage to explain himself further. There was far more to the article than Broadway vs. film. Both Behar and Savage played nice with Setoodah instead of challenging him. I too had no idea Jonathan Groff was gay until I read Setoodah's mean spirited article. I believe Ramin Setoodah lacks self-awareness and is obviously homophobic. Hopefully self-reflection and time will cure him of both.

    Posted by: Joe Portland Maine | May 12, 2010 6:52:10 PM

  7. Could someone clarify whether this piece was actually published in the print Newsweek, or if it was just an online article? From the Newsweek website, it looks like it was only published online.

    Not that it matters much in terms of opinion, but in reality it means that not many people outside the gay blog world and Joy Behar fans will ever know about it. Frankly, I expected the column to be a lot more offensive given all this uproar. I think he just expressed himself poorly---probably because it was an online article for a dying magazine and he likely spent about an hour writing it because he got paid next to nothing for it.

    He's probably overjoyed to be getting all this attention now. Hell, maybe that's why he did it---get his name out there since he's on a sinking ship.

    Posted by: Anon | May 12, 2010 6:53:59 PM

  8. Well, I'm sure to be in the minority here, but I my only problem with Setoodeh's piece in Newsweek is that Newsweek gave no counterpoint to it. On a controversial issue like that, at least present a rebuttal or a range of opinions.

    Oh, and why does Setoodeh give gay face in damn near every picture that he takes?

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | May 12, 2010 7:09:01 PM

  9. His eyes still creep me the fuck out *shivers*

    Posted by: ravewulf | May 12, 2010 7:09:06 PM

  10. He completely lied on Behar's show when he tried to spin what he wrote into what he "meant". It is very clear from his article that he can't accept openly gay actors in straight roles and he thinks no one else can either. He is an ass.

    Posted by: StillMarriedinCA | May 12, 2010 7:15:58 PM

  11. Helloooo - Gay men have been playing straight men for decades in Hollywood - the industry is full of closeted gay men who think they can't come out because people like Setoodeh will say they can't play romantic leads and their market value will drop - high school and college theatre classes are not overrun with straight men - George Clooney is the exception, not the rule in Hollywood...

    Posted by: johnchicago | May 12, 2010 7:21:59 PM

  12. BRAVO GLAAD!!!! (words that haven't passed my lips in years)

    Posted by: CB | May 12, 2010 7:43:18 PM

  13. Ah GLAAD - toothless and late - as usual!

    The Newsweek piece was misguided in attacking gay actors for playing straight – but the real target should be the gay roles themselves.

    Take Kurt Hummel from Glee – an interesting character who too often veers into caricature

    And Cam and Mitchell in Modern Family – who can’t even get a kiss on TV.

    We’ve a long way to go – and Newsweek isn’t helping the issue by attacking those actors brave enough to come out. But maybe GLAAD should stop lavishing praise on any show to feature a gay character and be a bit more discerning...

    Posted by: Allen | May 12, 2010 7:55:42 PM

  14. Will SOMEONE please inform TV's talking heads that "gay" means "effeminate" in today's society. It does NOT mean "homosexual", because the vast majority of gay men I know do not act "gay".

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | May 12, 2010 9:00:09 PM

  15. Umm, John B., you contradicted yourself there ("gay men").

    Posted by: Anon | May 12, 2010 9:06:28 PM

  16. Setoodeh used to be a "celebrity journalist" and he's openly gay himself. Which leads me to believe that gossip columnists should NOT come out either.

    Because if I find out a gossip columnist is gay, I have a hard time swallowing that he's interested in certain actors just because he thinks they're newsworthy. He may harbor a sexual attraction for them. And that would just RUIN IT for me. I mean, really.

    Posted by: Chal | May 12, 2010 9:13:20 PM

  17. NEWSWEEK!?!?!!!? Ryan Murphy should worry more about the money he funnels into Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes' hate machine! Fox News, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal are the most homophobic of all Have you seen their coverage of Elena Kagen's nomination? F***K "Glee"! I don't watch Fox! Period.

    Posted by: Angry in NY | May 12, 2010 9:15:31 PM

  18. He is an ass, and I'm glad GLAAD is doing this, and I hope Newsweek is taken to task for publishing it. And I'm a long-time fan and reader of Newsweek.

    No, Ramin, you did not just mean to start a discussion. You meant to point out that you believe some gay men who happen to be effeminate shouldn't even try to play straight because traditional gender roles are correct and we should never let them go.

    Hey, he is from Texas.

    Let him have it.

    Posted by: JeffRob | May 12, 2010 9:33:05 PM

  19. Oh, and for the record: if they think Tom Hanks was convincing as a gay man in "Philadelphia'', they must believe that George Rekers hired a hustler just to carry his luggage.

    Posted by: StillMarriedinCA | May 12, 2010 9:37:18 PM

  20. Very nice of GLAAD to issue a press release.

    If they had REAL BALLS they would do what we at the Gay Activists Alliance years ago did when an incredibly egregious article was published in "Harper's" magazine. We staged a sit-in at their offices.

    GLAAD should stage a sit-in at "Newsweek" with protesters fully prepared to be arrested.

    Dan Savage's attitude is no surprise -- he being a pal of Patient Less Than Zero (aka. Andrew Sullivan) and all.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 12, 2010 9:48:49 PM

  21. I double dog dare Clooney to come out. :-) Growlf!!

    Look, Rock Hudson had pretty much all of them fooled. Likewise, Liberace had nobody fooled who didn't want to play along with his sham. Obviously the man is in error, but no need to go to pieces without also calling for all of Hollywood to come out at once.

    Posted by: GayVolFan | May 12, 2010 10:11:03 PM

  22. it's freedom of speech guys....fuck Glaad!!

    Posted by: aalan brickman | May 12, 2010 10:16:34 PM

  23. 1) Clooney is not gay.
    2) Calling all closeted actors to come out (hello Dana Owens!) is a separate issue from Setoodeh's egregiousness.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 12, 2010 10:17:38 PM

  24. Rock Hudson had NONE of them fooled. I'm 63 years old and I knew Rock Hudson was gay before I knew that I was.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 12, 2010 10:18:59 PM


    Posted by: aalan brickman | May 12, 2010 10:19:28 PM

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