Newsweek's Ramin Setoodeh defends 'homophobic' piece as pressure mounts

Sun. May 16, 2010 12:00 AM by Brett Anthony

GLAAD and Glee creator call for boycott of Newsweek

Chicago, IL - Newsweek remains under fire for a column published late last month suggesting that openly gay actors can't play straight characters convincingly.

In the piece, titled "Straight Jacket,' Ramin Setoodeh writes that Sean Hayes, the Will and Grace star who's in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, comes off as "wood and insincere, like he's trying to hide something, which of course he is."

Setoodeh also writes that Glee star Jonathan Groff was an "average theatre queen."

"While it's OK for straight actors to play gay (as Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger did in Brokeback Mountain), it's rare for someone to pull off the trick in reverse," Setoodeh asserted.

The now-infamous column has become the subject of much scorn in-and-out of the LGBT community. Tony- and Emmy-award winning actress Kristin Chenoweth, Hayes' costar in Promises Promises, called it "horrendously homophobic."

Glee created Ryan Murphy called for a boycott of Newsweek, calling the column written by Setoodeh "needlessly cruel and mind-blowingly bigoted."

Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Jarrett Barrios echoed Murphy's call for a boycott of Newsweek and called for an apology from the magazine and Setoodeh.

On Friday, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the nation's largest labor union for working actors, condemned the column.

"Unfortunately, harmful attitudes like those of Setoodeh are used to pressure actors to stay in the closet", said SAG Committee chair Jason Stuart. "Our work is clearly not done and we will continue to fight to end fear within the acting community that being open about who you are means the end of your career. I'm an actor; it's not who I am but what I can play that counts."

Newsweek and Seetodeh, who's gay, continue to defend the column and neither have issued an apology.

Seetodeh has since accepted an invitation by Murphy to visit the set of Glee.