Actor J. August Richards (Angel, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) spoke publicly about his sexual orientation for the first time in an online chat with Sarah Wayne Callies, his co-star on the new NBC show Council of Dads, in which he plays a gay dad playing father figure to the children of a friend who has died of cancer.
“One of the things that I find is so fascinating about Oliver is that we have never had anybody like him on network television,” said Callies in a clip shared by Richards to Instagram. “He’s a black, gay professional married to another man who is also a black, gay professional. This has never happened before on television.”
“With a daughter,” Oliver interjected.
Asked Callies: “Do you feel, whether it’s pressure or responsibility or something additional because of how unique Oliver is in television right now?”
“Absolutely, I would say pressure and responsibility,” said Richards. “If I think about why I even got involved in this industry it was really to combat oppression, to also, I knew how I was affected by the people of color I saw on television or that I didn’t see on television. So this being a married gay man with a family I realized that on television I don’t take anything I do lightly and you have an opportunity to put an image into millions of homes and I wanted that image to be honest and I wanted it to be correct. So honestly, it required me to show up fully in a way that I don’t always when I’m working.”
“I knew that I could not portray this gay man honestly without letting you all know that I was a gay man myself,” Richards continued. “I’ve never done that with the people that I worked with. … I knew how important it is to other people out there like me, who would need to see that role model.”
UPDATE: Richards is grateful for all the support.