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Kristin Chenoweth Slams Newsweek's Homophobic Article

Kristin Chenoweth Slams Newsweek's Homophobic Article

Kristin Chenoweth is defending gay actors and speaking out against Ramin Setoodeh‘s homophobic article that was printed in Newsweek (it argued that gay thespians shouldn’t play straight).

The 41-year-old actress writes, “As a longtime fan of Newsweek and as the actress currently starring opposite the incredibly talented (and sexy!) Sean Hayes in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, I was shocked on many levels to see Newsweek publishing Ramin Setoodeh’s horrendously homophobic “Straight Jacket,” which argues that gay actors are simply unfit to play straight. From where I stand, on stage, with Hayes, every night — I’ve observed nothing “wooden” or “weird” in his performance, nor have I noticed the seemingly unwieldy presence of a “pink elephant” in the Broadway Theater. (The Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Tony members must have also missed that large animal when nominating Hayes’ performance for its highest honors this year.)

“I’d normally keep silent on such matters and write such small-minded viewpoints off as perhaps a blip in common sense. But the offense I take to this article, and your decision to publish it, is not really even related to my profession or my work with Hayes or Jonathan Groff (also singled out in the article as too “queeny” to play “straight.”)

“This article offends me because I am a human being, a woman and a Christian. For example, there was a time when Jewish actors had to change their names because anti-Semites thought no Jew could convincingly play Gentile. Setoodeh even goes so far as to justify his knee-jerk homophobic reaction to gay actors by accepting and endorsing that “as viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker room torture in junior high school.” Really? We want to maintain and proliferate the same kind of bullying that makes children cry and in some recent cases have even taken their own lives? That’s so sad, Newsweek! The examples he provides (what scientists call ‘selection bias’) to prove his ‘gays can’t play straight’ hypothesis are sloppy in my opinion. Come on now!

“Openly gay Groff is too ‘queeny’ to play Lea Michele’s boyfriend in Glee, but is a ‘heartthrob’ when he does it in Spring Awakening? Cynthia Nixon only “got away with it” ’cause she peaked before coming out? I don’t know if you’ve missed the giant Sex and the City movie posters, but it seems most of America is ‘buying it.’ I could go on, but I assume these will be taken care of in your ‘Corrections’ this week.

“Similarly, thousands of people have traveled from all over the world to enjoy Hayes’ performance and don’t seem to have one single issue with his sexuality! They have no problem buying him as a love-torn heterosexual man. Audiences aren’t giving a darn about who a person is sleeping with or his personal life. Give me a break! We’re actors first, whether we’re playing prostitutes, baseball players, or the Lion King. Audiences come to theater to go on a journey. It’s a character and it’s called acting, and I’d put Hayes and his brilliance up there with some of the greatest actors period.

“Lastly, as someone who’s been proudly advocating for equal rights and supporting GLBT causes for as long as I can remember, I know how much it means to young people struggling with their sexuality to see out & proud actors like Sean Hayes, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris and Cynthia Nixon succeeding in their work without having to keep their sexuality a secret. No one needs to see a bigoted, factually inaccurate article that tells people who deviate from heterosexual norms that they can’t be open about who they are and still achieve their dreams. I am told on good authority that Mr. Setoodeh is a gay man himself and I would hope, as the author of this article, he would at least understand that. I encourage Newsweek to embrace stories which promote acceptance, love, unity and singing and dancing for all!”

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44 Comments

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# 2

Booya!! tell em Kristin!

# 3

I love Sean Hayes he’s not only cute but very funny. Thank you Kristin for speaking out.

# 4

Team Kristin!

# 5

It’s great to someone stand up and do the right thing. Go Kristin!

# 6
Anonymous @ 05/10/2010 at 1:47 pm

I think Jonathan Groff is super hot opposite Lea Michele in Glee!

# 7

I can’t believe his article was published in the first place. Well written, eloquent letter.

# 8

Amen, sister!
No wonder celebrities, or regular people in general, for that matter, are afraid to “come out”. Once they decide to do so, dumb sh!t like this happens. In a different note, I thought whatshisface was gay himself. So, in the words of Ms. Chelsea Handler, “Why you gotta hate… girl?!”

# 9

OMG i just love her even more after reading this, wow!!

She is one cute cookie, and boy did she let it out on this one. First of all everything about that artricle in Newsweek was RIDICULOUS, and hypocrite. Kirstin im there with you, as a fellow straight woman who has seen her gay friends struggle being accepted, i sign under this 100%!!!

Preach, sister!

Thank you Kristen. You said what millions of us are thinking! It’s a horrible article to begin with and they should be ashamed, but it’s also just wrong! Umm hello? Barney Stinson?? NPH is a god!

YOU GO GIRL!!!! GOOD FOR YOU!!!! ROCK IT MAMA!!

Two of the sexiest actors of their time and on the planet who were gay — Rock Hudson and Montgomery Cliff had no problems playing straight men even though they were gay. I can’t believe Newsweek would print such crap! I sure won’t be buying another issue that’s for sure.

Kristin Chenoweth may be height challenged but she is 10 feet tall when it comes to doing the right thing. Heroes come in all sizes, Kristin. You are beautiful.

cubedweller @ 05/10/2010 at 2:13 pm

GO Kristen! Thanks for saying it so well.

Iffy Miffy @ 05/10/2010 at 2:20 pm

For me, it’s not so much that the article was written – there are so many people out there, unfortunately in this day and age, who have issues with homosexuality that stem from their own personal problems in quite a few cases, and from faith mostly in others.
The problem for me is that it got published. There is no way nobody saw this before it was published and this is where the bigger problem is imo. This pretty much means that at least someone if not more than one person in the editorial staff also agrees, is aware – you cannot not be – of the reaction it will cause and yet is printing it anyway. Bigots. They should all be fired.

Good for her!!!

I saw Promises, Promises on broadway last month.
Before then I hadn’t really known who Sean Hayes was.
This is the first I’ve heard that he’s gay.
That should say something.

Sheesh Jared. Was that concern worth all that space? No. We’re here to be entertained, not preached to!

You go ahead Kristin.

Lighten up Jared! Go back to being a pap, not a social engineer.

Anyone who thinks a gay man can’t play straight just needs to watch Neil Patrick Harris as the womanizing Barney Stinson and tell me he isn’t convincing.

She did a good job in the letter but as an avid glee fan and gay-friendly gal, I must admit that Groff isn’t really convincing as a straight man or boyfriend on the show. This is the first I had heard that he was gay for sure but he is “queeny” on the show. He didnt do himself any favors when he performed as the male ballerina last week.

Agree with the article or not, it’s the writer’s opinion and he’s entitle to it. Life is full of things that are not fair or that are biased; people deal with it on an individual basis, but we can’t stop others from stating their opinion.
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Just like there are readers who disagree with him, there are those that agree; I’m not one willing to stamp out free speech just because I don’t agree with someone. Your own free speech might be taken from you down the road, think about that. No one should lose his job when he is a journalist stating his opinion as long as he is not preaching death, hate or physical harm. Having an opinion hasn’t been outlawed, not yet. Besides , what makes YOUR opinion more relevant than his?
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Part of a writer’s job is to create controversy and make people think; as far as that is concerned, he’s done his job. What is disturbing about some people in this country is that they’re too thin skinned; they have no tolerance for opinions that are not their own; those people scare me. The core of the matter is that we are a nation of people with opinions; your opinion isn’t right or better than mine, it’s just YOUR opinion. He’s not advocating that Gays not have jobs in film or theater or that they should be killed off, harmed physically or otherwise banned from society. He merely states that he doesn’t feel they can play straight roles.
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Personally, I don’t want to know if an actor is Gay. It’s none of my business. Some people may not feel the same about a Gay actor playing a straight role as you do; maybe they don’t want real life intruding on their movie, theater or television viewing experience. Maybe some of the realism of the role is tarnished for them. If it is, they are entitled to their feelings and I don’t think they need permission from anyone to have them.
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Understand, the Gay Cause isn’t everyone’s cause and never will be and others, respectfully, have the right to disagree in any way that their conscious tells them. The writer has made his point and achieved his goal; the article is getting publicity and people are talking about it. While Gays are always talking about tolerance, they are many times intolerant of other people’s opinions. You can’t have it both ways.
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Having differing opinions doesn’t preclude us from living in the same space and treating each other as valuable human beings, no matter your sexual preferences or differences. It is a measure of our love for Neighbor ( those in the human race with us) that we can love each other as people even while not agreeing with a certain opinion or behavior. In the final analysis it’s not up to everyone in the world to make Gays feel good about themselves or to agree with their lifestyle. Life is difficult for a whole lot of people, not just Gays, for a number of reasons; a whole lot of people whose opinions are just as important as yours or mine.

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