Newsweek Writer Ramin Setoodeh Accepts Set Invite from ‘Glee’ Creator Ryan Murphy; Alan Cumming Slams Setoodeh

Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee who called for a boycott of Newsweek following Ramin Setoodeh's controversial article asserting that gay actors are unconvincing as heterosexuals, says that Setoodeh has accepted an offer from him to visit the set of Glee, watch the casting process, and discuss why Murphy found the article so reprehensible.

Writes Murphy in an open letter:
Setoodeh  

"Ramin Setoodeh, the author of the article, reached out to me today and accepted my offer to sit with myself and the writers of Glee — Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan — to discuss not only why we found the piece so offensive, but also to observe our creative process and see how we construct a TV show dedicated exclusively to the idea of inclusiveness and acceptance for all — ideas solely absent in his ‘Straight Jacket’ article… On Glee, straight actors play gay roles, gay actors play straight roles and no one is discriminated against. I hope observing this process firsthand — and talking with our cast — will be illuminating to Mr. Setoodeh, and inform his future journalistic endeavors."

Murphy also says he's awaiting a better response from Newsweek:

"I want to issue a personal thank you to GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, writer/director Dustin Lance Black and countless others who have joined me in condemning Newsweek magazine and asking for an apology for their recent article ‘Straight Jacket,’ a hurtful bigoted diatribe in which they basically asserted that gay actors should not play straight roles because they are not “believable.” So far, Newsweek magazine has declined to issue an apology, other than to say they are big fans of the show I co-created, Glee — even the straight dudes around the Newsweek offices. I say thanks for your support, however glib, and continue — with many others offended by the article — to wait for a more substantial articulate response."

Read the full letter at EW.

In related news, actor Alan Cumming writes a long piece on the Setoodeh controversy.

Writes Cumming: 
Cumming  

"Ramin Seetodeh is gay. He is a self-hating gay, and he is a danger to us all, not just gay people – as is apparent by the above, hideous quasi-apology for the classroom shooting of a boy – but everyone on this planet because Newsweek is allowing his dangerous and insidiously warped messages to be published and enter society to fuel the flames of shame, fear, anger and, in this case, homophobia. His words allow people to validate their bigoted and fearful views of gay people, especially because he is gay himself. Which brings me to the crux, and I promise, the swansong of my thesis…

It is my contention that Ramin Seetodeh is not happy with himself. He has particlaur shame about being gay. He sees gayness, paricularly open and unabashed gayness, or effeminacy, as a reminder of what he does not like about himself. And so he attacks it. His own shame translates into his paralysis when thinking of others who might have his own curse and yet be able to function fully and happily within the rest of the world: a child chasing his friends around a playground in high heels; an actor who he knows is publicly gay but feels he needs to re-out to make himself feel better about his own self-loathing and lack of acceptance of his most basic needs and happiness. As someone who is a only a decade or so immigrant to these shores, I have noticed that shame is one of America's biggest exports, imbibed more domestically than overseas, and Mr Seetodeh could easily manage its Gay division."

Comments

  1. Andy F says

    Proof that it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, if you want to get anywhere in this business, the #1 rule is KEEP PEOPLE TALKING, NO MATTER HOW OVERSTAYED YOUR WELCOME.

  2. Zack says

    Ramin Setoodeh, Ramin Setoodeh…

    Oh yeah! He wrote that article basically saying it was Lawrence King’s fault he got shot because he was gay and femme!

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/147790

    “Larry King was, admittedly, a problematical test case: he was a troubled child who flaunted his sexuality and wielded it like a weapon—it was often his first line of defense. But his story sheds light on the difficulty of defining the limits of tolerance.”

  3. tooboot says

    Um, you don’t have to be a shrink to see the writing on the wall. Sedtoodeh is GAAAAYYY! Just watch the videos of him, my non-shrink like gaydometer was hitting 6 on the Kinsey scale. Even if he wasn’t gay, which is unlikely, his homophobia blames victims of violence and projects generalizations about gay actors which in affect is more than a little bit revealing.

  4. neverstops says

    so this Ramin Setoodeh is pretty much a massive douche

    and Kristin Chenoweth rocks for what she wrote regarding his article, as does Alan Cumming

    but in light of the “Glee” episodes since its hiatus, I would really rather see Ryan Murphy take on his script writing department than this issue

  5. Dallas says

    People don’t like the truth if the truth hurts. There is a difference between what SHOULD be and what IS.

    The truth is it is highly improbable for a young openly gay male to become a leading man heart throb in film. Most straight audiences will tag the actor as gay, thus not believable (and some gay audiences too as evidenced by Setoodeh’s opinions about Glee and Sean Hayes).

    It’s not right. It’s not how it should be. It ought to be changed. But it IS.

    I live in the South. I’m not going to walk down a country road holding my partner’s hand. It’s NOT self hatred. It’s self preservation.

    It’s not right. It’s not how it should be. It ought to be changed. But it IS.

    So, despite Ramin muddying the waters of his argument with his own catty comments towards the actors in question, it doesn’t mean he is self-hating….maybe he’s just a bad writer who doesn’t know how to carefully choose his words when illustrating a point.

    Labeling him “self-hating” is an easy dismissal. It makes you feel better than facing the truth that the world is still against us in ways that are unfair.

    It’s not right. It’s not how it should be. It ought to be changed. But it IS.

  6. Joseph says

    Dallas, have you read Setoodeh’s other articles, where he blames Lawrence King’s effeminacy for his murder? or where he contends that the effeminate Kurt on “Glee” is the reason that gay rights initiatives have gone down to defeat in recent election?

    Setoodeh may not be homophobic, but he clearly has a self-hating complex when it comes to effeminate gay men; it’s an axe he’s been grinding for some time now and what he doesn’t realize is that he’s causing more harm to the gay rights movement than progressive momentum.

    Yes, there is a story here about how Hollywood keeps actors in the closet or possibly blackballs those actors who are out; but that’s not what he chose to write about–instead he virulently attacked Sean Hayes and Jonathan Groff for not being, in his perception only, manly enough. It was a pathetic display of effemiphobia, and poorly written into the bargain.

  7. vatm says

    The problem is perception. In general this has nothing to do with the quality of the actor/actress performance itself but how it is perceived by the bigoted masses. It’s a reflection of the discrimination suffered by the LGBT community and in several cases by the looks of it the discrimination suffered even within the community itself and by their own members. Does that mean that Hollywood gay actors should stay in the closet? or that news reporters should hide their sexual orientation claiming to protect their objectivity/credibility? No, quite the contrary the only way to possibly change that poisonous and mischievous “state of mind” is for people to be up front and for gay actors to work harder and be better the same way it happened for women and black people not so long ago.

  8. Jubal Harshaw says

    @Dallas who said, “I live in the South. I’m not going to walk down a country road holding my partner’s hand. It’s NOT self hatred. It’s self preservation.”

    Actually, it’s cowardice plain and simple. You can cloak it however you wish to but the truth of the matter is people like you and Setoodeh are cowards, period. Embrace the fact that you are the way you are, but get out of my fucking way.

  9. Dallas says

    Joseph,

    No, I haven’t read his articles. And I’m not claiming he isn’t self hating, just that it’s an easy dismissal to throw around. The label then can be used to invalidate the more insightful discussions revolving around SHOULD and IS.

    I didn’t know the new guy on Glee was openly gay. I didn’t see a problem with his performance.

    I loved Alan as Nightcrawler. That character isn’t gay. Same with Ian McKellen…they made that movie.

  10. Drew says

    @ JusticeontheRocks: Don’t be so jealous. A prominent gay guy expresses his well-worded opinion and you’re against that? Please, get over yourself.

  11. StillMarriedinCA says

    Ramin needs to use his noodle.
    People project their own prejudices onto the “audience” and what the “audience” will accept. It is what Hollywood producers used to say about Black actors in leading roles, or as a romantic interest opposite a white actor or actress: The audience will never accept that so we just CAN’T cast it that way. So the producer thinks he isn’t a bigot–he’s just looking out for “the audience”. Guess what? When some forward thinking producers decided to take a risk and do some color-blind casting the audience was just fine. And people came to accept it to the point where black actors and actresses are some of the biggest box office draws today.
    Same thing here. It is happening more and more and will continue to get better. Out gays and lesbians will be accepted and loved in straight roles and this will be a non-issue as long as people like Mr. Setoodeh don’t rule the world. He is a disgrace to the LGBT community. He is prejudiced, self-loathing and WRONG.

  12. JoshEV says

    it was a sloppy, flimsy article.

    BUT no one is saying anything about it that isn’t completely knee-jerk and on the defense.

    I am not self hating, but yeah, I caught one episode of glee, and having actually been around Jon Groff (from afar) in new york… I don’t really buy the storyline. And that’s really all he was saying.

    And also… Sean Hayes JUST came out. He can BS reasons he waited for so long all he wants to, but the bottom line is… he stayed in because of people’s perceptions of him and for CAREER reasons.

    Again, sloppy article. and the examples he cites are way off.

  13. says

    God, I hadn’t realized he was the guy who wrote that terrible, terrible article on Lawrence King — one of the worst examples of “journalism” ever. And he’s gay?!?

    He needs to be blackballed by the entire gay community and all of our allies. A campaign should be started to get him sacked from his job. Alan Cumming was not creating a hyperbole — this Newsweek writer is a *huge frakking danger to us all*.

    Andy, please include the Newsweek contact info for complaints. We need 10,000 people to write emails to Newsweek explaining this columnist is NOT acceptable and needs to be fired for his dangerous and homophobic work.

  14. says

    Right on Alan Cumming! Most excellent piece. As an openly gay man I applaud you for speaking the truth about Setoodeh. Reminds me of Quinton Crisp who thought he was the only “real” gay in the world and all the rest of the gay men and women were beneath him. Fuck Setoodeh and fuck Newsweek for promoting such outright homophobia!

  15. Dallas says

    @ JUBAL I’d love to know where you live.

    You said:”Actually, it’s cowardice plain and simple. You can cloak it however you wish to but the truth of the matter is people like you and Setoodeh are cowards, period. Embrace the fact that you are the way you are, but get out of my fucking way.”

    First of all, rude. Second of all, assumptive much? You’ve made my point. You’d rather label me as a “coward” than to look at the realities of what I said. Because you don’t like the reality of homophobia and the reality of hate crimes against us, you want to make the jump that I must be a coward simply because I’m aware of my surroundings?. It makes you feel better to think you are bolder than me? Have at it.

    I know me, you don’t. I know who I am and I love being gay. I’ve been open and out since my freshman year of college. I have my job of 15 years now because of being in full drag one night (in a very straight part of town) and impressing some random straight guy who offered me a job. Never underestimate the power of a beehive. I’m very comfortable with myself and I’m a vocal, staunch supporter of gay rights. But I’m not stupid.

    I’m not defending Setoodeh or his article, what I’m focusing on is the TRUTH of what he said. The truth that we are still second class citizens. To me, that’s alot worse and more interesting to talk about than being angered because the author is a pissy queen.

    People are focusing the anger on the idiot messenger instead of the problem.

    Dallas

  16. StillMarriedinCA says

    @Dallas: What you ought to do is read this article from Vanity Fair Online that delves into Mr. Setoodeh’s history of bashing effeminate-acting gays and face the TRUTH of what has been going on. He has been writing from the point of view of someone who IS self-loathing and insecure. He has it out for gays who act “too gay” and blames them for just about everything except 9/11. He is dead wrong about gays being able to be convincing in straight roles. I could point to dozens of examples off the top of my head.
    Even the examples he gives show his own bigotry rather than any kind of legitimate criticism. I found Mr. Groff to be completely convincing on “Glee” and only learned that he was gay when I read the ridiculous and offensive criticism of him being “too queeny”. So Mr. Setoodeh and I watched the same performance and the only problem is what is going on in Mr. Setoodeh’s own head.
    I knew Kevin Spacey was gay when I watched “American Beauty”,
    I knew John Mahoney was gay when I watched him on “Frasier” and in “Moonstruck” and in “Say Anything”, I knew Robert Reed was gay when I watched reruns of “The Brady Bunch”, I knew Jane Lynch was gay when I saw “Julia and Julia”, I knew Charles Laughton and Monty Clift were gay when I saw most of their films, etc, etc, etc.
    I had no problem believing them as straight in their roles.
    I did have a problem believing William Hurt was gay in “Kiss of the Spider Woman”, or that Tom Hanks was gay in “Philadelphia”.
    The idea that it works so well when straights play gay but not so well when gays play straight is a grossly ignorant and damaging thesis that is doubly shameful coming from a gay man. He deserves every bit of scorn that he has brought on himself.

  17. Dallas says

    @StillMarried. I’ll totally read the article when I get a chance. Thanks for the heads up. Understand that I don’t disagree with you about Ramin being a putz (potentially since I have not read the article yet) and actually agree with you on just about everything you wrote.

    I think the only flaw in your well thought out list of gay actors accomplishments is that they weren’t publicly out at the time and/or they weren’t “leading men”.

    I am and was surprised by the media focus on what Ramin said… as if he had created the problem…or as if there wasn’t a problem. Watch the Joy Behar clip to see what I mean. Dan Savage gets it completely right while Amanda Bearse is talking as if there isn’t a problem for gay actors…and there is. Unfortunately.

    Just because you and I can suspend disbelief and are willing to accept anyone in a role is unfortunately not how the Hollywood machine thinks general audiences feel.

    If Ramin had been smart, he would have used his preconceptions about Sean Hayes and Glee-boy to question HIS opinion on their work and extrapolated that out to a wider audience. Thus revealing his own shortcomings to draw attention to a problem in our society that he too falls victim to.

    Anyway, if I were a more eloquent writer I could have been more clear from the beginning about my thoughts. I just think one can legitimately disagree with, or shine a light on, parts of one’s culture without being labeled “self-hating”. I’m white and trust that I have a BIG problem with many aspects of American/white culture…that doesn’t mean I hate my white self. :) So, I tend to give some push back when I see people jump on a labeling binge.

    But like I said earlier, I’m not defending Ramin or his character.

    Dallas

  18. Rox says

    Setoodeh, in the CRITIC portion of Newsweek, CRITIQUED Hayes’ performance and added that he, as a viewer, had a hard time seeing Hayes as straight in the role due to his “queenie” role in Will & Grace – and then cited a similar situation of some gay actors not being believable in straight roles — this is not homophobic, and attempts to portray the gay writer as self-hating only serve to make writers like Cumming (and most readers of this blog) feel better – if gays and straights have gaydar – and they do, and speak proudly and openly of it, then it affects more than finding a partner or office gossip; some gays pass, some don’t, and some roles played well are hard for actors to dissociate from for some audience members – heck, Cummings’ not played straight for a decade now – and he’s bi

  19. ChrisM says

    I cancelled my subscription to Newsweek – not that it matters as the magazine is now approximately one third of the size it used to be in is no longer really a news magazine but a magazine of op-ed pieces and personal opinions. Most of what you find in Newsweek is available from better writers for free on the web anyway.

    Newsweek, Time and US News & World Report have all outlived their usefulness and are simply dying a slow death. The end of the weekly (or should I say weakly) news magazine is long past they are apparently just waiting for their last subscriber to die before shutting down the presses and going home.

  20. ChrisM says

    Obviously Ramin Setoodeh believes that he is one of those “straight acting” gays (whatever that is) and has issues with men how do not meet his expectations of masculinity. Having seen Ramin on television I would suggest that he take a harder and more honest look at his own masculinity as he doesn’t come across as all that “straight acting”. Maybe he should ask Andrew Sullivan how it’s done.

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