Dustin Lance Black Weighs in on Newsweek's 'Straight Jacket' Article

On April 26, 2010, Newsweek printed an article entitled ‘Straight Jacket' in which openly gay contributor Ramin Setoodeh questions the believability of gay actors playing straight men. GLEE Creator Ryan Murphy, GLAAD and actors including Kristin Chenoweth, Cheyenne Jackson and Michael Urie have spoken out against the article, calling Setoodeh "horrendously homophobic" (Chenoweth), an "asshole" (Jackson) and "unconscionable" (Urie).  Others beyond them have had even more strongly-worded responses.

As BroadwayWorld reported earlier today, famed playwright Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The Farnsworth Invention), issued his own response to the ongoing dialog in defense of Setoodeh in The Huffington Post, claiming that the author was not being homophobic, just "wrong."

Milk writer Dustin Lance Black is now adding his voice.  As printed in The Hollywood Reporter, Black argues: "Setoodeh writes that he longs for the industry and America to accept gay actors who want to be leading men. But in a confusing turn, he argues that those gay actors who are bravely paving this road are somehow not up to the task. Sadly, he seems to raise more questions about his own internalized biases than what the "public" actually perceives. In fact, the public is thrilled with Jonathan Groff's turn as a leading man on "Glee," laughing at Cheyenne Jackson on "30 Rock" and embracing Wanda Sykes' man troubles on "The New Adventures of Old Christine."' Click here to read his comprehensive thoughts.

Not stopping there, Black additionally participated in a Q&A with GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios, which Newsweek ran as a follow-up feature to 'Straight Jacket' this morning. 

In response to the question of Setoodeh's intended point in 'Straight Jacket,' the pair comments:

DLB: To me, the article seemed to be attacking gay and lesbian people's ability to-talent to-take on heterosexual roles.

JB: On a larger level, the veracity-the believability-of a gay character, or the lack of believability, which kind of builds this wall of impossibility for gay actors, lesbian actors, to be successful in their craft.

Black continues:  "Because 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."

Read the full Q&A with Newsweek here



Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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