Dan Savage | Joy Behar | News | Playing Gay | Ramin Setoodeh

Watch: Newsweek Writer Ramin Setoodeh Talks About Gays Playing Straight with Joy Behar; 'Glee' Creator Calls for Boycott


Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh, who asserted in a recent Newsweek article that gay actors can't play straight roles, joined Joy Behar, Dan Savage, and Amanda Bearse last night, to discuss his piece.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

The article has angered many people and inspired furious responses from Kristen Chenoweth, Michael Urie, and Cheyenne Jackson

Yesterday, Glee creator Ryan Murphy called for a boycott of Newsweek magazine over the story:

“I would like to join my good friend Kristin Chenoweth on her condemnation of a recent Newsweek article written by Mr. Ramin Setoodeh, in which Setoodeh basically says that out gay actors should go back into the closet and never attempt to play straight characters. This article is as misguided as it is shocking and hurtful. It shocks me because Mr. Setoodeh is himself gay. But what is the most shocking of all is that Newsweek went ahead and published such a blatantly homophobic article in the first place…and has remained silent in the face of ongoing (and justified) criticism. Would the magazine have published an article where the author makes a thesis statement that minority actors should only be allowed and encouraged to play domestics? I think not. Today, I have asked GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios to stand with me and others and ask for an immediate boycott of Newsweek magazine until an apology is issued to Sean Hayes and other brave out actors who were cruelly singled out in this damaging, needlessly cruel, and mind-blowingly bigoted piece. An apology should also be issued to all gay readers of the magazine…

Setoodeh wrote a follow-up piece for Newsweek, in which he said readers "missed the point":

"Over the weekend, I became the subject of a lot of vicious attacks. I received e-mails that said I will be fired, anonymous phone calls on my cell phone and a creepy letter at my home. Several blogs posted my picture, along with a link to my Twitter feed. People commented about my haircut, and that was only the beginning. I was compared to Ann Coulter and called an Uncle Tom. Someone described me as a "self-hating Arab" that should be writing about terrorism (I'm an American, born in Texas, of Iranian descent).

But what all this scrutiny seemed to miss was my essay's point: if an actor of the stature of George Clooney came out of the closet today, would we still accept him as a heterosexual leading man? It's hard to say, because no actor like that exists. I meant to open a debate—why is that? And what does it say about our notions about sexuality? For all the talk about progress in the gay community in Hollywood, has enough really changed? The answer seems obvious to me: no, it has not."


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  1. Ramin Setoodeh is the new Roy Cohn.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 12, 2010 8:35:35 AM

  2. "Newsweek" is up for sale.

    Posted by: Piper | May 12, 2010 8:44:12 AM

  3. I say we send this queen back to Slumdog Millionaireland and lets see how she responds to their criticism.

    Can anyone say "Honor Killings"?

    But Seriously!?! I'll never understand queens who do shit like this very pathetic!

    Posted by: Chris | May 12, 2010 8:45:42 AM

  4. His published response in Newsweek is pretty weak sauce and essentially amounts to "You guys missed my point. When I said that gay actors can't play straight, what I REALLY meant was that there aren't any huge leading men who are out. Also, people are mean to me now."
    Not that I condone any of the letters etc he has received (really people, grow up), but he seems to have failed completely to defend himself in that piece, or even his original thesis.

    Posted by: Dan | May 12, 2010 8:46:14 AM

  5. What he is really saying without realizing it is "if I know an actor is gay I can't get past it if that actor is playing a straight person and because I'm such an idiot the rest of the public must be too."

    The dialogue he wanted to open was basically hoping poeple would reply "yeah, you're right, it's kind of icky when someone I know is gay plays a straight person."

    Posted by: Jondathan | May 12, 2010 8:52:51 AM

  6. For those that follow the real news (no offense to Andy, I love you dearly) but Newsweeks is up for sale. Does anyone else think that Jon Meacham purposely let this controversial article through to prove a point that Newsweek is still relevant? Even though for the past decade, nobody has cared the magazine.

    I honestly call a publicity stunt, but this article is still irresponsible, offensive and obviously written but a self-loathing homo.

    Posted by: Joshua | May 12, 2010 8:56:51 AM

  7. This guy is like Rekker. He has a negative belief system about gay people that he projects outwardly upon other people. Just because he can't accept himself does not mean that other people who are comfortable with their sexuality can't accept actors as actors. Being out does not preclude that one has accepted oneself . He, like Rekker, needs to stop attacking other gay people and begin dealing with his own negative belief system.

    Posted by: pete | May 12, 2010 8:56:53 AM

  8. It's such a cynical way to bolster one's fame (take huge swaths of other people down) but it's working for him.

    It just angers me that people are acting like this is a serious question. Are we really to believe, for example, that it's a legit argument that Sir Ian McKellen for example -- widely considered one of the greatest actors alive -- is unsuitable for most of the roles he's ever played?

    Setoodeh needs to apologize but instead he's just whining and making things worse with his cynicism and internalized homophobia

    Posted by: Nathaniel R | May 12, 2010 9:01:55 AM

  9. @CHRIS -- Don't be so disgustingly racist, he is an American born and raised.

    In fairness, Setoodeh raised an interesting question: WHY are there no gay Out leading men? Can in fact "society" accept it yet withot thinking of gay buttsecks?

    Unfortunately, where he totally failed is he answered not for society, but for HIMSELF: and he answered WRONG. he blamed the actors for not being able to play straight!!! The article was a fail, and yes much criticism missed his article's thesis -- but we did not miss the POINT. Which was wrong.

    Posted by: Strepsi | May 12, 2010 9:04:44 AM

  10. Neil Patrick Harris is out, and he's still accepted as a woman-hungry leading man on How I Met Your Mother, so I'm not sure how the whole George Clooney point is going to work for Setoodeh.

    Posted by: Matt in Atlanta | May 12, 2010 9:06:35 AM

  11. savage surprised me, as he often does at his take. i have to assume there was a no bloodbath clause in his contract. that was NOT the point of his original article.

    and he has a body of work that, upon examination, supports the label of self loathing internally homophobic caricature of a gay man.

    Posted by: jack | May 12, 2010 9:07:07 AM

  12. Ramin has a long history of homophobia….

    Not only did he write this piece disparaging gay actors who play straight roles…

    Not only did he blame effeminate gays and actors for hurting gay marriage….

    Not only did he go on O'Reilly to do a hit piece on Adam Lambert last season on American Idol (where he depicted Kris as a good straight Christian and Adam as a godless heathen gay even though it was known that Adam was Jewish)…..

    But he also blamed that 8th grade kid (Lawrence King) that was murdered by his classmate (who shot him in the head in class) for his own murder because he dressed effeminately at school and therefore was flaunting his sexuality.

    I don't care what Ramin or his friends say, he is a DISGUSTING SELF HATER who has an obvious problem with effeminate gays.

    It is important for us to defend the most effeminate gays because they are the ones who face the most ire from the haters.

    Ramin wants us to pile on them too and throw them under the bus.

    Ramin's self hating homophobia NEEDS to be condemned by the gay community.

    Posted by: Josh | May 12, 2010 9:08:39 AM

  13. Considering the complete lack of courage and integrity on the part of Hollywood agents and producers, this PR stunt has undoubtedly set the clock back substantially on this issue.

    Utterly shameful of Newsweek, which should be buried rather than sold.

    Posted by: Rascal | May 12, 2010 9:12:21 AM

  14. Ramin has some valid points but he did a REALLY bad job of getting them across... his writing leaves something to be desired when he creates a piece intended to help dialogue and the gay cause, and he just ends up sounding homophobic...

    So perhaps THAT is where he needs to concentrate his efforts: on improving how he gets his point across in writing and verbally... eg: he said Neil Patrick Harris was straight when he got his role on How I Met Your Mother... actually NO he was gay all the time, but he was not out professionally.

    He may not have been intending to come across as criticizing the actors instead if the moronic audiences that can't look past the pink haze.... but in fact his whole article came across as if it was written by a bigot, which, since he is a gay man himself, I assume was not his intention.

    So my point is, he needs to examine his writing craft to find out how he screwed up a potentially useful piece of writing so badly!

    Posted by: CKNJ | May 12, 2010 9:17:17 AM

  15. Boycott Newsweek? As if anyone needs to go out of their way to not purchase that piece of shit. What we should boycott is Ramin Setoodeh. No sex for him from now on. Of course, as if anyone needs to go out of their way not to sleep with that piece of shit.

    Posted by: James | May 12, 2010 9:22:52 AM

  16. is anyone else disappointed that the usually fierce Dan Savage is just pussyfotting around this guy?

    the more i think about this issue the more i hate this guy. And I don't normally get to hate so easily.

    talk about making things worse for everyone. it's already so hard for actors. And complaining that someone seems too much like a theatrical drama queen on GLEE is missing the point of GLEE entirely. ;)

    Posted by: Nathaniel R | May 12, 2010 9:25:11 AM

  17. Two words regarding gay men's ability to play straight rolls: Rock Hudson.

    Posted by: MT | May 12, 2010 9:28:55 AM

  18. Uncle Tom lives.

    Posted by: Tone | May 12, 2010 9:31:01 AM

  19. If you watch the clip of him on MSNBC you can clearly tell his readers did not miss the point, it was him who failed to properly articulate and frame his message.

    I think what he was trying to get across is that homosexuality is still a big issue for some people (including him) and seeing a openly gay actor is distracting and a reminder that these people are just acting. I think that in itself is a fair assessment. It'd be like seeing Kate Gosslin try to act, even if she was good, the entire time you'd be thinking about her personal life.

    Posted by: TonsofT | May 12, 2010 9:40:42 AM

  20. This happens any time Dan Savage gets near Hollywood /Broadway/Celebrities. His lips pucker and he becomes a fierce ass kisser. Dose anyone remember him coming on to Ashton Kutcher on Real Time he really embarrassed himself. Joy really gave this guy a pass he keeps saying his article meant something else. Which is bullshit. Sorry Joy and Dan you both SUCK on this issue and not in a good way.

    Posted by: GGREEN | May 12, 2010 9:41:07 AM

  21. i usually agree with dan, maybe he had his own agenda this time. he was so embarrassing on bill maher when he was leering at ashton kusher. ur someone's dad for chrissake, remember?

    Posted by: rick | May 12, 2010 9:45:14 AM

  22. I agree, Uncle Tom lives. NEWSWEEK has gone bust anyway, it's up for sale. It is a pathetic shadow of what it once was.

    Posted by: Dan | May 12, 2010 9:45:23 AM

  23. For me, all this guy did was make me want to go see Promises, Promises. I'd rather spend money on that than on Newsweek.

    Posted by: Tollendyr | May 12, 2010 9:48:38 AM

  24. Chris, I disagree with Setoodeh, but please don't tell a Texan of Iranian heritage to "go back to Slumdog Millionnaireland." (i.e., India) You are better than that. I hope.

    Posted by: hephaestion | May 12, 2010 10:05:28 AM

  25. So now this story goes from bad to worse as Ramin Setoodeh states, "if an actor of the stature of George Clooney came out of the closet today, would we still accept him as a heterosexual leading man?"

    Of all actors he could name he chooses George Clooney - Come Out Come Out where ever you are!

    Posted by: Fred | May 12, 2010 10:05:57 AM

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