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Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, one of the most popular shows on television, has made a public statement against a Newsweek article written by Ramin Setoodah.

In the article, published April 26, Setoodah claims it is not believable when openly gay actors play straight roles. In response to this argument, Murphy asked the advocacy group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for their support in his efforts to boycott Newsweek until an apology is made from the magazine. Newsweek has yet to respond to Murphy or GLAAD.

The article specifically targets actor Sean Hayes of Will & Grace fame. Hayes plays a straight man in the Broadway musical, ‘Promises Pomises.’ In the article, Setoodah critiques Hayes’ performance but instead of focusing on the acting, he focuses on how Hayes’ sexuality impairs the actor’s performance as a straight character.

Another openly gay actor playing a straight role mentioned was Jonathan Groff, who plays ‘Jesse’ in Glee. Jesse is the love interest of ‘Rachel’ another lead character in the show. Setoodah also criticizes Groff for not being as believable due to the actor’s real life sexuality.

Murphy’s boycott serves to provoke an apology from Newsweek for the article’s stand on openly gay characters playing straight roles, and their comments about specific actors. In his statement, Murphy says:

Today, I have asked GLAAD president Jarrett Narrios 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.’

Murphy also shares in his statement, how surprising he finds Setoodah’s opinion, being that he himself is gay.



Straight or gay lifestyles should not affect the success of an actor’s work. 

In Brokeback Mountain, straight actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger’s roles were a complete success according to critics. These were two actors known to the public as straight men, who took over the roles of gay men for acting purposes. Although, claims that maybe one of them could be gay did circulate through the media, they embraced their roles to make the movie a success, and were able to carry on with their normal lifestyles outside of the lifestyles they took on during shooting.

So why shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Acting is a form of art. It is a profession. Actors are talented individuals who are able to step outside of their comfort zones in order to create quality entertainment for the public. According to Setoodah, knowing actor Sean Hayes is gay before seeing the play created this disbelief he had in the character Hayes portrayed.

However, characters are characters and acting is acting. When we go to see a movie, are we expecting to see the actors’ real lives or are we watching for the storyline the writers’ have created? We all watch movies for the entertainment aspect of viewing all kinds of different stories.


Articles like Setoodah’s create a discomfort for actors to come out and be openly gay. It makes them question coming out because of the fear of losing value in the acting community. The personal lifestyles of those who work hard to entertain us should not have their performances judged on the basis of how they live their lives off stage.

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