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Dustin Lance Black: “To me, the [Newsweek] article seemed to be attacking gay and lesbian people’s ability to—talent to—take on heterosexual roles.”’m glad Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has weighed in on the controversial Newsweek article about gay actors playing straight.

Lance, who won the Academy Award for Milk and directed the upcoming film What’s Wrong With Virginia, participated in a follow-up article with GLAAD President Jarret Barrios. The two men spoke with Newsweek’s Culture Editor Marc Peyser.

Here are some excerpts from the interview highlighting some of what Lance had to say about the controversial article by gay writer Ramin Setoodeh:

“I’m just saying, I don’t know this writer, but it felt like this writer had a lot of issues with femininity and heterosexuality, and the connections between masculinity, femininity, and sexuality. It started getting blurred to me. The heterosexual people in America don’t seem to be having that problem with these performances, or seeing that, but this writer did. And to me it felt like it became more about this writer’s issues with sexuality and masculinity than it did the success of these performances.”


“…This article said something really different from what the real challenge is, which is making Hollywood a comfortable place for gay and lesbian people to come out and be able to play heterosexual roles. Which, let’s be honest: there are a lot more straight roles than gay roles out there. So I think that’s our end goal, to finally have those moments where we have openly gay and lesbian actors—and stars—playing straight roles. I think it’s already starting to happen, and I disagree with your writer in that I think that some of them are very believable, and very compelling. It only takes looking to Milk to know. In Milk we completely flipped the issue: we had openly gay people playing the straight people and the homophobes, and straight people playing the gay people.”

*************************…I would say that Neil Patrick Harris is starting to break that barrier down in a big way. He’s playing a heterosexual role on a big, successful television show. That said, I do understand that we need more than just [Neil] Patrick Harris, and it would be great to have that moment when you have a big A-list celebrity—a big star—who can greenlight a picture by adding his name to it, who is openly gay or lesbian. That is the moment we all want, that we’re all looking forward to, and I do believe it will happen. I’ll tell you what I see as some of the challenges. My perspective is that Hollywood directors and producers are very open to casting and working with openly gay and lesbian actors. Very open to it. I know that we intentionally sought them out when making Milk. I know that we’ve sought them out when working on other projects. The problem we’re finding is that the filter in Hollywood feels like it’s with the agents and managers. And namely with the ones who bring in new talent and start to foster new talent. And I think what they do is they feel like they’re taking a bigger risk with someone who’s out of the closet.”

**********************“… 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.”

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Ryan Phillippe talks to The Advocate about his days playing gay teen Billy Douglas on “One Life to Live” Phillippe is aware of his big gay following and in a new interview with The Advocate says “thank God for that.”

“I’m very aware and appreciative,” he added. “Because I started my career playing a gay teenager on One Life to Live when I was very young, I’ve always had a heightened sensitivity to that response, and I’m definitely considerate of that audience.” is the portion of the interview with Brandon Voss where Ryan talks about the One Life to Live experience and a few other topics:

One Life to Live recently aired daytime television’s first gay sex scene. How much same-sex affection could you show when you played gay teen Billy Douglas?
Me and the guy who played my boyfriend might’ve held hands once or twice, but that was it. The age of those characters had something to do it, but things also weren’t as liberal in 1992. Still, I felt lucky to play the first gay teenager on television—not just daytime but television, period. What was so amazing about that for me was the response I got through fan letters that my mother and I would read together. Kids who’d never seen themselves represented on TV or in movies would write to say what a huge support they found it to be. One kid said he’d considered suicide before seeing a character like him being accepted. I also heard from a father, a mechanic, who hadn’t spoken to his son since he came out. When our show came on in his shop, it gave him some insight and understanding as to who his son was, so it opened up communication between them. As much as you can write off how silly the entertainment industry can be, it can affect change and make people see things differently. That’s beautiful. promoting Stop-Loss in 2008, you discussed your One Life to Live role on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Those were two very different interviews, huh?
[Laughs] Yes, they were. One was very sensitive and one was not. That was such a strange, incredibly awkward moment with Jay. I didn’t understand what a “gayest look” was or why he would ask a guest to do that, so I was more shocked than anything. I just thought about the gay friends I have and how potentially offensive that whole direction would be to them. I don’t feel there was any malice behind it, though, and I know Jay regrets it.

What else did you and your gay buddy do in Austin [while at the SXSW Film Festival]?
We ended up going to a gay bar there, but I don’t even think anyone noticed me. I was kind of shocked. Maybe my gay fans are just better behaved than my straight fans.

You weren’t worried about sparking gay rumors?
Who cares, man, in this day and age?

Here is a LINK to the entire piece.

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Brett Claywell and Scott Evans have very different reactions to this week’s Daytime Emmy nominations

evansclaywell.jpg image by sleepyasthesouth They did such stellar work on One Life to Live this year and last in a very high-profile breakthrough storyline.

But Brett Claywell, Scott Evans and their Kish storyline was snubbed when the 2010 Daytime Emmy Award nominations were announced on Wednesday.

Brett did not hide his disappointment posting this message on his Twitter account: We tell a story that was groundbreaking and powerful, then lose my job and am overlooked for a nomination. Daytime is such a joke.

In contrast, Scott was more diplomatic: Congrats to all the nominees!! Scotty Clifton, Ms. Williamson, Mr. Kerwin and our wonderful directors- you are truly remarkable!!, who is straight in real life, has been so articulate about how playing this gay man has changed his life and it makes a lot of us so grateful that the role of Kyle was in such good hands.

He told Entertainment Weekly last month: “We were the first [gay] love scene in daytime. It had a lot to do with the writing, but it also has a lot to do with the way Scott and I played the roles. We made a choice in the beginning that we were going to underplay a lot of this storyline. We just wanted it to be really honest and really authentic and just simple. Just tell a love story. That was the most important thing to communicate — love between two men, honestly, on television. I think that people really responded to that because there weren’t a lot of bells and whistles.”

FILE UNDER: Awards, Daytime TV

Thursday Morning Man: Will Forte! he plays so many different characters on Saturday Night Live, I don’t think we appreciate just how handsome Will Forte is.

In fact, he’s movie star handsome and tomorrow, he’s got a big movie coming out: MacGruber, based on the SNL sketches. Other SNL characters include George W. Bush, the Falconer and Mr. Dillon in the Gilly sketches.

Before joining SNL in 2002, Will was a member of the Groundlings comedy troop and paid his dues writing and producing on such shows as 3rd Rock From the Sun, That 70s Show and The Late Show With David Letterman as well as voice roles on various animated series including a recurring role on The Cleveland Show.

MacGruber is not Will’s first film. He wrote and starred in The Brother’s Solomon and had a role in last year’s Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.

Actor Will Forte attends the  2008 FOX Upfront at Wollman Rink in Central Park May 15, 2008 in New  York City.
FILE UNDER: Morning Men

Video: See Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh discuss gays playing straight on “The Joy Behar Show”

I’m glad Joy Behar took on the storm on her HNL show last night surrounding Ramin Setoodeh’s Newsweek piece claiming that out actors playing straight roles are not convincing once the audience knows they are gay.

You try to keep an open mind with this stuff but frankly, I’m not at all impressed with Setoodeh and don’t think he proves his thesis. When Behar mentions the openly gay Neil Patrick Harris playing straight on How I Met Your Mother, the writer quickly points out that NPH got the role when he was straight.

Said the writer: “We didn’t know — he wasn’t out of the closet when he got that role.”

Countered Behar: “Well then, according to your theory the audience would reject him now that they know he’s gay.”

Explained Setoodeh: “He was playing that role as a straight man until we came to accept him as a straight man. On top of that it’s a TV character, it’s not a movie character and it’s also a caricature. … It’s over the top, funny, humorous, character — it’s not a romantic lead where women, like, actually are supposed to believe him as a heterosexual character,”

Also participating in the segment are out actress Amanda Bearse who played a sexually aggressive straight woman on Married With Children for more than a decade (and came out as a lesbian in the middle of the show’s run) and writer Dan Savage who is usually very good but a bit tepid in this segment.

Bearse says Setoodeah makes an “absolutely ridiculous statement” that gay actors can’t play straight. “I think an article like the one you just wrote is going to keep a lot more people in the closet as opposed to encouraging them to come out and be honest about who they are.”

Savage agrees with Setoodeh that movie audiences still don’t accept a gay playing straight but disagrees on him about theater audiences. Setoodeh had claimed that Sean Hayes was not convincing as a love interest for Kristen Chenoweth in the current Broadway production of Promises, Promises.

Behar pointed out that the oh-so-gay Charles Nelson Reilly played straight in the original Broadway production of Hello Dolly.

Bearse said she hadn’t yet seen Hayes in Promises, Promises but points out: “He was just nominated for Tony, right? So somebody out there must think he’s doing all right.”

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Ryan Phillippe talks to The Advocate about original version of “54″ and says he’d support a DVD release


Terrific interview with Ryan Phillippe in the new issue of The Advocate.

Ryan is publicizing his latest role of Lt. Dixon Piper in MacGruber, an ’80s action flick spoof based on the popular Saturday Night Live sketch which hits theaters on May 21.

The 35-year-old star of such films as Cruel Intentions, Stop-Loss, Crash, Gosford Park, White Squall, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Breach has never shied away from gay roles. He was just a teenager when he burst onto the scene as gay teen Billy Douglas on the ABC soap One Life to Live and also played played bisexual in Gosford Park and the director’s cut of 54.

He talks to Brandon Voss about all kinds of things but I lead off with the director’s cut of 54. The 1998 movie, written and directed by Mark Christopher, chronicled the rise and fall of the famed NYC hotspot of the 1970s where the likes of Liza Minneli, Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol, and other A-listers could be seen partying night after night.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,54.jpgBut the movie released by Miramax was far different than the director’s original version which was screened for the first time two summers ago at Outfest in LA. I was in the audience that night and was stunned at how much better the director’s cut was and there has since been a lot of hope that it would be released on DVD someday.

Phillippe’s character is bisexual in this superior version and shares screen kisses with several men, including Breckin Meyer who since this movie, has been one of Phillippe’s closest friends off-screen. The skittish studio had seen this terrific 1 hour and 45 minutes cut and demanded that 45 minutes of it be cut and that additional scenes be shot to beef up what had been essentially a brief fling between Phillippe and Neve Campbell into more of a full-blown relationship.

Ryan tells Brandon that he does wish the studio had honored the director’s original vision: “I understand the reasoning from a business standpoint, but artistically I’m against the changes that were made because I feel like there was a better movie there to begin with.”

“We thought we were making something like Boogie Nights because it was about a time of complete sexual abandon, but the studio watered it down. They had Mike Myers from Austin Powers and Neve Campbell from Scream, so they felt they could make a mall movie out of material that was a lot more edgy and honest. I did hear about that secret screening. I don’t know how big of an appetite there is for it, but I would certainly support a DVD release of that version. Breckin and I were a bit sad that nobody got to see us kiss.”

Tomorrow: Another excerpt from the Advocate interview with Ryan talking about his days playing a gay teenager on One Life to Live.

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Noah wakes up from surgery and he can see! Luke remains torn between him and Reid on “ATWT”

Whatever happens with Luke and Reid and Noah, I’m just so impressed with Van Hansis who has masterfully shown Luke’s growing conflict. He loves Noah but his attraction to Reid is palpable and more than physical.

His mom isn’t happy to find out about her son’s involvement with Reid (Eric Sheffer Stevens) but Luke reminds Lily that Noah and he have broken up. She asks him if he has feelings for Reid and I LOVE how Luke lights up and smiles and looks so smitten as he tells his mom about how Reid is in your face and says exactly how he feels about you: “To have a guy like that say that he likes you, it feels nice for a change.”

Lily (the terrific Noelle Beck) is upset because she wanted Luke and Noah to have the kind of love that lasts forever. Like her and Holden? She said both people have to believe in that love. When Luke asks her who stopped believing in their love, I give Lily credit for this honest answer: “We took turns.”

Anyway, Noah (Jake Silbermann) wakes up from surgery. He does not have brain damage and he can see! It’s blurry but he can see. Reid chats with his patient and Noah vows to make things up to Luke after pushing him away, clueless that his ex-boyfriend and his doctor are red-hot for each other.

Later, Noah says to Luke: “I know how hard I’ve been on you. I’m so sorry. … I know we have a lot to work through but I hope our relationship is strong enough to survive this.”

But is it too late???

FILE UNDER: Daytime Soap Clip

How “Hung” is Thomas Jane?

Ripped Thomas Jane does Men’s Fitness, June / July 2010 Jane stars in the HBO comedy Hung as high school history teacher and basketball coach Ray Drecker who, after attending a self help class while being down on his luck, decides to use the large size of his penis as a market to success.

Of course this has people wondering just how well-endowed the actor is and he actually share the info in the new issue of Men’s Fitness on which he is a most delicious cover subject (see video of photo shoot below).

Says Thomas: “I’m a textbook average guy. I’m 5′10″, I wear a model suit size — 40 regular, 32-inch waist pant — and a size 10 shoe. Everything about me is prototypical. Everything. I even have a right-down-the middle-exactly-average dick.”

It’s great to see Thomas in a hit series. He’s been doing movies for years including the stellar baseball drama 61* in which he played Mickey Mantle. He also starred in The Punisher, based on the Marvel Comics, The Stander, The Velocity of Gary and had supporting roles in Boogie Nights, Magnolia and The Thin Red Line.

This reminds me of a funny story at the annual ShoWest Convention in 2004 where I watched a screening of Thomas Jane’s The Stander with Thomas Jane sitting right in front of me, blocking my view of a Thomas Jane nude scene.

I met him after the movie in the lobby and was tempted to say that I almost asked him to “please movie your head so I can see your ASS!”


Video: Will Forte talks about making out with James Franco in “Saturday Night Live” sketch Night Live cast member Will Forte and guest host James Franco fully made out in a kissing family sketch last December – a scene that would’ve been super hot had Forte not been playing Franco’s GRANDFATHER!

There was some serious tongue and even though it was for comedy, I felt pretty envious of Forte because, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to make out with James Franco? I’m sure even Sean Penn felt a bit jealous because even though James played his boyfriend in Milk, their kisses were tame compared to the SNL tongue-fest.

Appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman last night, Forte talked about that “very wet” kiss as he promoted his big starring role in the feature film MacGruber, based on a series of SNL sketches. The film got all kinds of publicity last week when Betty White appeared in the sketches as MacGruber’s grandma.

Here is the original sketch:


PETA ad: Jane Lynch has a message for breeders! Lynch may play scheming Sue Sylvester on TV’s Glee but off-screen, the actress has a heart of gold and has long made time for causes she believes in.

Jane is now speaking out for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) making a public service announcement that sets out to educate the public and promote the benefits of spaying and neutering pets.

Says Jane: “There are 8-10 million dogs that are put in to shelters every year and only about half of them are adopted out, so the other half are euthanized. It’s a terrible thing to come into this world only to be taken out prematurely. We can control this population by spaying and neutering our own pets.”

Lynch also wrote a letter on PETA’s behalf to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, urging him to support a law that would require dogs and cats in her native Chicago to be spayed or neutered. The animal overpopulation crisis has prompted similar laws in Houston, Denver, New York, and Lynch’s current hometown, Los Angeles.


GLAAD urges Newsweek to apologize: “Ramin Setoodeh’s article sends a false and damaging message about gay actors” Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has joined Glee creator Ryan Murphy in urging Newsweek to issue an apology but stopped short of calling for a boycott of the magazine until one is issued.

Newsweek’s April 26 article Straight Jacket by contributor Ramin Setoodeh claimed out actors Sean Hayes and Jonathan Groff, among others, were not convincing in straight roles. Murphy, Kristin Chenoweth, Cheyenne Jackson and Michael Urie are among those who have spoken out against the article.

The following is a statement from GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios:  “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. 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.”

FILE UNDER: Controversy

“Will & Grace” Wednesdays debuts with a Neil Patrick Harris guest spot as an “ex-gay” group leader 1998 to 2006, we were entertained by the exploits of Will Truman, Grace Adler, Karen Walker and Jack McFarland.

They were a hilarious quartet who gave us so many great memories and that’s why Will & Grace Wednesday is now a weekly feature here on Greg In Hollywood (Classic Movie Wednesday now becomes a rotating feature).

Our debut clip features a guest star who has made quite a splash since his appearance on the show: Neil Patrick Harris! He plays an ex-gay who Jack (Sean Hayes) has such a crush on that he’s willing to act formerly gay in order to score.

Both actors are now openly gay which makes their scenes together even more fun.

BTW, Neil’s guest spot on Glee airs next week and looks delicious. Until then, let’s enjoy this:

FILE UNDER: Lunch Break Video

Jake Silbermann about the Noah-Luke-Reid love triangle and the end of “As the World Turns” Silbermann has been playing a blind man for about six months now on As the World Turns but his TV alter-ego Noah Mayer is about to get his sight back.

But he surely won’t like what he sees now that his ex-boyfriend Luke, who he still loves, has become involved with Noah’s surgeon Dr. Reid Oliver.

He talked to’s Gays of Our Lives column about that and more:

AE: How do you think Noah will react when he finds out what is going on with Luke and Reid, even though Luke and Noah aren’t together?
How do you think he should feel? I mean, I think anybody who sees their significant other for a long time with someone else would be feeling a number of things.

AE: Like what?
Pain. Also, I think Noah was acting presumptuously on his own part and not thinking clearly without his sight and maybe we’ll see him act more clearly when he gets his vision back.

AE: In terms of what?
In terms of his affection for Luke. (Pause) It was important for Noah to know that he could be on his own. He knew before that he was a self-sustaining, independent person. I think in any relationship, it’s important not to need to be with someone, but to want to be with someone. He needed to prove he could be alone and not need Luke because then that wouldn’t be fair to Luke either. A relationship is better when they are independent and you’re with each other by choice.

AE: How do you feel about the show coming to an end?
It’s very sad. It’s the end of an era and it’s been very good to me. I’ve made a lot of very dear friends as a result of this and it’s been a really great experience for me. That said, I think it’s really sad for the fans. For so many people this has been a stable thing. It’s been in their lives for far longer than it’s been in mine and I’m totally aware of that. How would you like to see things come to a close? At the end of the show, the last day, where do you want Noah to be?
As an actor there are so many different avenues that I would love to go with this character, but I’d really like to see first and foremost an ending that satisfies the fans. The fans have been through this and I want them to be happy. I want them to know that they have some kind of closure to these characters and I think a number of fans have expressed to me that they would like to see Luke and Noah together in the end.


Wednesday Morning Man: Lawrence Zarian! a bit of the Regis and Kelly show the other day and there was a segment on makeovers and the guy with all the style tips was Lawrence Zarian.

Such a handsome man!

Lawrence, a former top model, is now a TV personality, style expert, author and host known to many viewers as “The Fashion Guy.”

His high-profile gigs include regular appearances on Entertainment Tonight as a correspondent. He also hosts his own show, The Fashion Team, on the TV Guide Network.

Other credits include: Live with Regis and Kelly, ABC’s Live at The Academy Awards, The Early Show (CBS), Extreme MakeoverDr. Phil and TYRA.  Lawrence conducts standing-room-only seminars throughout the country and is currently writing a book on style essentials.

The Fashion  Guy Lawrence Zarian walks the runway at the Johnnie  Walker Dressed to  Kilt 2006 fashion show during the Mercedes Benz  Fashion Week at Smashbox  Studios in the main tent October 14, 2006 in  Culver City, California.
FILE UNDER: Morning Men

“American Idol” recap: Judges underwhelmed by final four – except front-runner Crystal Bowersox

American Idol, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, Jamie Foxx, Michael  Lynche, Lee DeWyzeI’m just gonna go ahead and say it: When will this ho-hum season of American Idol end?

Just crown Crystal Bowersox or Lee DeWzye champ already and hope for a better season next year. I’m over it!

The judges justifiably panned Casey James’ nice but sleepy Mrs. Robinson and were not much more impressed with Lee’s Kiss For The Rose or Michael Lynche’s Will You Be There.

On this night of songs from movies, the judge’s lacked some credibility because they could stop joking about the song titles or movies they were from. They were, as Simon would say, “a bit indulgent.”


Ellen did have a funny Line after Casey and Michael dueted on Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman. She said: “Yes, as a matter of fact, I have loved a woman.”

That brings us to Crystal who nailed I’m Alright from Caddyshack and restored her front-runner status. Here is her segment:

Also, Jaime Foxx may be oh-so talented and mighty sexy but he was a very mediocre mentor. Harry Connick Jr. has set the bar very high.

Judges loved the evening’s two duets though, as did I. Both were outstanding. Enjoy!

FILE UNDER: Music, Reality

“Glee” creator Ryan Murphy calls for boycott of Newsweek until it apologizes for homophobic article Murphy has good reason to be upset with the Newsweek article by Ramin Setoodeh who does not believe that openly gay actors including Sean Hayes and Glee cast member Jonathan Groff can play straight convincingly.

The writer, who is gay himself, wrote that Groff (pictured below with Glee and Spring Awakening co-star Lea Michele) seems like a “theater queen” on the popular Fox show.

Murphy takes Setoodeh, and the magazine itself, to task on several levels in a blistering open letter. Here is much of it:

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 blatant 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…steelworkers, parents, accountants, doctors, etc…proud hardworking Americans who, if this article is to be believed, should only identify themselves as “queeny” people (a word used by Setoodeh in the article) who stand at the back of the bus and embrace an outdated decades old stereotype. Setoodeh has recently Twittered that he is a fan of Glee, the show I co-created with Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk…the show on which Mr. Groff plays the straight love interest to Lea Michele, a casting choice embraced by fans and critics alike which Mr. Setoodeh has taken issue with.

I extend an open invitation to Mr. Setoodeh to come to the writers room of our show, and perhaps pay a set visit. Hopefully then he can see how we take care to do a show about inclusiveness…a show that encourages all viewers no matter what their sexual orientation to go after their hopes and dreams and not be pigeonholed by dated and harmful rhetoric…rhetoric he sadly spews and believes in. Hopefully, some of the love we attempt to spread will rub off on Mr. Setoodeh — a gay man deeply in need of some education —  and he not only apologizes to those he has deeply offended but pauses before he picks up his poison pen again to work through the issues of his own self loathing. Give me a call, Ramin…I’d love to hear from you. I’ll even give you a free copy of our Madonna CD, on which we cover “Open Your Heart,” a song you should play in your house and car on repeat.

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Cheyenne Jackson and Michael Urie speak out against Newsweek writer’s “very veiled self-loathing”; Writer responds article by Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh with the point of view that openly gay actors cannot play straight convincingly, has prompted some big showbiz names to speak out publicly.

First Tony winner Kristen Chenoweth took the writer to task in a published rebuttal and now out stars Cheyenne Jackson and Michael Urie have also said their piece. reports that the actors spoke out at a talkback event Monday night following a performance of Urie’s off-Broadway play The Tempermentals.

“It was very veiled self-loathing. Really upsetting,” Jackson said. “Everytime we go forward, some asshole like this takes us back a bit. I was really glad that Kristin Chenoweth wrote what she did [in defense of her Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes and other openly gay actors]. She sent it to me before it went out and about. I was very proud of her. For me to stand up and say, ‘F*ck you,’ that’s what you’d expect. But for someone like Kristin, she stands up for what she believes in and is very committed.”

Added Urie: “Cheyenne was f*cking Elvis in All Shook Up. He was sexy and hot. He’s always playing straight. And people buy tickets to see him. No straight critics accuse Sean Penn of not being able to play Harvey Milk or [criticize] Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.”

Update: Setoodeh is defending himself in a piece called Out of Focus in which he writes in part:

…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.

I realize this is a complicated subject matter, but the Internet sometimes has a way of oversimplfying things. My article became a straw man for homophobia and hurt in the world. If you were pro-gay, you were anti-NEWSWEEK. Chenoweth’s argument that gay youth need gay role models is true, but that’s not what I was talking about. I was sharing my honest impression about a play that I saw. If you don’t agree with me, I’m more than happy to hear opposing viewpoints. But I was hoping to start a dialogue that would be thoughtful—not to become a target for people who twisted my words. I’m not a conservative writer with an antigay agenda. I don’t hate gay people or myself.

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Broadway actor Matt Doyle’s deeply personal words of advice and comfort for victims of bullying

Matt Doyle, a talemted young actor who starred on Broadway in Bye Bye Birdie and played Eric van der Woddsen’s boyfriend on Gossip Girl, has shared a deeply personal story on his blog that I hope will be widely read.

Here are some excerpts:

Today, I witnessed something that broke my heart. Every day, I walk by the many kids that go school here in Midtown Manhattan. I see bullying and name calling all the time. For the most part, it seems relatively harmless, especially when the kid being picked on can fight back a bit. I usually roll my eyes and keep walking, avoiding the after school energy of these 13 and 14 year olds. Today, however, I witnessed bullying of a different kind. The kind that churns your stomach and makes your truly angry. I was walking out of my building when I saw a group of boys throwing around and singling out another boy. When the victim tried to walk away, one of the others spat at him and called him a “faggot.” I yelled to the kids the only thing that could come to my mind, “Don’t use that word. Back off!” I wish these words had helped the situation, but the poor boy who had been harassed seemed to be more embarrassed than before. The look on his face hasn’t really left me since that moment.

Perhaps the main reason I was so deeply affected by what I saw today is because of what I went through in my own childhood. Believe me, I’m not writing any of this for pity or for reassurance. :) It was a long time ago and I’m doing fine now! But for anyone reading this blog that has either been a victim of bullying or has ever bullied someone else, I feel the need to write a bit of my own experiences.

When I moved to San Francisco, I was 12 years old. I left behind many friends and a huge public school to move into a much smaller community. Much smaller. There were 12 other boys in my grade. All of them had known each other since kindergarten. The situation was hardly ideal. … They were cruel in ways I didn’t think were possible beyond the text of a bad teen movie. I never once heard my name, only the words “faggot”, and “bitch.” I was beaten up regularly. Once, I left class to get a drink of water, only to be beaten out-cold with a text book by a class mate of mine. Over the years at this particular school, I withdrew from everyone around me including my family. No one could help. If I tried to be like them, I was a “poser.” I remember I bought a pair of baggy Jenco jeans and skateboard. My classmates laughed at the jeans and stole the skateboard. If anyone tried to help me, I was made fun of for needing the help. The sad part was, most of the time, no one helped. The day I hit rock bottom was when a group of boys continuously spat on me in front of my PE teacher. The teacher chose to blatantly ignore it, the more disgusting the behavior became.

When you’re 13 and you truly believe that there is nothing you can do to be happy, it’s a very scary place.

If you’re someone who is dealing with this kind of harassment and is wondering if it will ever go away, know that it will. This is just one moment of your life. Own whatever “quirky” or “strange” traits you may have. I promise you will be so much happier for it.


Kate Jackson says she’s in “financial ruin” was supposed to be the smart one on Charlie’s Angels, but now Kate Jackson says she’s broke.

The 61-year-old actress, who also starred in the hit shows The Rookies and Scarecrow and Mrs. King, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against her former financial advisor seeking $3 million in damages.

According to Jackson claims Farrah Fawcett’s former business manager, Richard B. Francis, knew about Kate’s “extremely close relationship” with Farrah and used that information to get Kate as a client.

Kate claims Francis told her she was worth roughly $5.4 million — and she could live off of the interest from her accounts … at least $300,000 per year. But Jackson said she was actually worth considerably less — only about $3 million. She claims she learned the truth about her finances when she agreed to buy a home in 2008 – a home  she claims Francis knew she couldn’t afford but he drained her savings account in order to pay for it anyway. Kate also claims Francis knew she was grossly overpaying for the property.

Kate played Michael Ontkean’s wife in the landmark 1982 movie Making Love but  has not starred in a TV series since the 1988-89 show Baby Boom. Still, she has dozens of TV movies and television credits over the past two decades. She made a memorable appearance at the 2006 Emmys with Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith and was close to Farrah until her death last year from cancer.

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Diana Ross talks to ET about her new tour

It’s so great that Diana Ross is still out there doing what she does best.

On last night’s Entertainment Tonight, Mary Hart went behind-the-scenes as Miss Ross rehearsed for her all-new More Today Than Yesterday tour which will includes many of the Motown legends big hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond.

“We work our way up: The ’60s — The Supremes — the 70′s and the ’80s and “I’m Coming Out” … The music is timeless, I must say, especially the Motown music; it’s timeless and it’s really special.”

Diana says she has about five or six costume changes during the show: “The way I can make those quick costume changes is because everything is built right in to the dress, so [my costumer] takes me out, zips me down and zips me up and I’m back out,” she explains. “The music continues … and goes right into the next song and I’m back out, so it never really stops.”

The show kicks off in Boston, MA this Saturday and runs through June 12, with stops in such cities as New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Knoxville, Toronto, Los Angeles and San Diego.

It’s easier to tour now that her kids are grown: “My kids have all left the nest now, so it’s easy for me to travel and to see my friends and my fans.”

Reflecting on how she managed to raise five children and maintain her career, she says, “I think it was all about having my priorities in the right place. I knew what was important when I had my children, I knew that I wanted to be a parent, a mom, and I wanted to have them — so they were always more important than anything.”