Ramin Setoodeh Hub

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."

Newsweek Tries to Put Out Fire Lit by Ramin Setoodeh Article

In what Newsweek Culture Editor Marc Peyser calls "an effort to clear some smoke away from this fire" started by the Ramin Setoodeh article which said gays couldn't convincingly play straights, Peyser attempts to have a substantive discussion with GLAAD's Jarrett Barrios and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black about Hollywood and the closet.

Says Black:  Setoodeh  

"Right now, in this atmosphere, [an A-list actor coming out is] something that would be difficult. And it is a challenge. When Jackie Robinson decided he was going to be the guy to step up and take on the challenge of being the first black player in the major leagues…there are many who could have done it before him. Was that easy? Of course not—that was a huge challenge. He had to suffer through the boos from the audience. He had to suffer through that and still perform well. And that's what this actor will have to do. This actor will have to suffer through articles like this in NEWSWEEK, these sorts of things being said that are negative. But I think in the end, what they'll be doing is paving this road toward equality in Hollywood where, yes, straight people can play gay roles and gay people can play straight roles. It will be work, but I think it's important that someone do it so in 10 years it's a given."

In related news...

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin defends Ramin Setoodeh in the Huffington Post: "...with sincere respect to Ms. Chenoweth and the hundreds and hundreds of Internet posters who've crashed down on Setoodeh in the last few days -- some understandably passionate and some unfortunately hostile -- I don't think Setoodeh was being homophobic. Just wrong. The problem doesn't have anything to do with sexual preference. The problem has everything to do with the fact that we know too much about each other and we care too much about what we know. In one short decade we have been reconditioned to be entertained by the most private areas of other people's lives."

Andrew Wallenstein of the Hollywood Reporter says Newsweek need not apologize to GLAAD:

"That an actor happens to be gay shouldn't define him or her. That's a wonderfully idealistic notion, but sexual orientation can distort a performance, and in more ways than one. The first is that just knowing an actor is gay can color someone's perception of that actor's character. It's sad to say, but unrealistic to suggest everyone in the audience is as evolved as the next person. Just because GLAAD and its supporters wish that wasn't a possibility doesn't mean that if a writer points out that possibility, he's blasphemed. The second way applies even if the viewer doesn't know whether the actor in question is gay or not. Politically incorrect as it might be to suggest, there is always the possibility that even the most brilliant closeted actor in the most incredibly scripted heterosexual role could fall short, especially in a romantic lead role. As any producer knows, sexual chemistry onscreen is a delicate magic. Just because Rock Hudson was one such magician doesn't mean every gay actor can do same."

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.”

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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