Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hot Topic Tuesday: Coming Out in Hollywood

Yesterday, The Wrap wrote a really insightful article about the celebrities coming out publicly with ease yet there are certain industries where it is still taboo to be out of the closet, namely big movie stars.  It seems so easy to be Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Bomer, and Anderson Cooper, all big television personalities, who came out in their own way whether it was a press release, a significant other acknowledgment in a speech, or a letter to the editor of an online publication.  The news made the headlines for a day and then we all moved on.  Living in Hollywood, I hear the rumors all of the time from the stars hiding behind the religion of Scientology to the actor in two huge summer action films to the Academy Award nominated actor who almost came out, but chickened out at the last minute. (Google Toothy Tile for a hint.) Are the rumors true?  I certainly don't hang out in celebrities' bedrooms, but with certain stars, where there is smoke, there is fire.

If telling the public has been so easy for television stars, why is it so difficult for big box office stars?  Here are some of the reasons:

1.  Box Office Dollars:  There is a lot more at stake for an actor who carries the weight of a $200 million budgeted film on their shoulders.  If audiences cannot separate a celeb's public life from their personal life, the celeb runs the risk of a slimmer bank account and a dwindling career.  In narcissistic Hollywood, people fear a dead career as much as aging in this town.  Rupert Everett has talked on record about how his open sexuality affected his career.  You can argue that he has made some bad movie choices, but only he and his agent know the type of offers that came in before and after he came out.

2. Politics:  As open-minded as cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco are, there are plenty of cities and states that do their best to say anyone who is homosexual is "less than".  This is often your core movie-going audience and the heart of your fans, so this factor is taken into consideration for many stars and movie studios. Politics like California's Prop 8 (Or the antidote I support, NOH8) or the current power of the Christian right, play more into decision-making than you would think.  

3.  Image:  When you reach the stratosphere of superstardom like Brad and Angie, George Clooney, or Tom Cruise, so much of your image is controlled--from what you wear to whom you hang out with. If you buy into the system, part of your life will be ruled by this Hollywood image. (I will get into this more with in an upcoming Behind the Red Carpet post on certain behaviors of the A-Listers. )  So, if you remember back in the day when Rock Hudson married his secretary to keep his sexuality a secret, you better believe that there are a few marriages in this town that are arranged still to this day.  If I hear the excuse that "But they are married and have kids!" one more time, I might scream.  Hollywood is smoke and mirrors, things are arranged, people have a family, it's life and believe it or not, even in real life this happens too.

Will we see a major movie star come out soon?  I don't think so.  Like the country music, sports, and the hip hop industry, it's still tough for people to live their own truths.  Is it any of our business? Yes and no.  Yes, in that it is important to set a precedent for the next generation letting people know that it is okay to be who you are.  No, in that it is their private life and they should have the right to live as publicly or as privately as they want.  It's not a simple issue and it is one that won't be answered overnight.

What are your thoughts on this Hot Topic?  Do you think we will see a major movie star come out any time soon?  Chime in the comments below or join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Don't forget to join me tomorrow night on AfterBuzz TV for the So You Think You Can Dance after show with our special guest, Alexie Agdeppa from Season 7.  Check us out at 10PM PT on AfterBuzz TV. 


  1. Hmmmm...hmmmmm...just Googled gay movie stars and got a lot of links discussing this topic. Edmonton Journal (http://www.edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/celebrity/na/6907335/story.html) suggests more conservative international audiences are a deal breaker for actors who want big box office numbers. Television is a much more local phenomenon. Which is something "useful" to contribute to the debate, because now I'm going back to hmmmmmm...

    1. Yes, The Wrap article also talks about international audiences affecting a movie star's decisions......China was cited as one of these countries with big box office dollars, but conservative views.

      However, within the US, the stereotypes still exist. People think if a star is manly, they are straight. If they are effeminate, they are gay. If I actually listed some of the rugged movie stars that are gay, I think it would surprise a lot of America.....but we are not here to out someone.........our country is also a source of the problem.

  2. I believe this is correct, matter of fact I believe that Tom Cruise is still hiding in the closet. I am not "against" people being gay, I just truly don't want to know. I have had a crush on Anderson, he looks so good in his cloths and his smile makes me melt. Finding out that he was gay and always had been gay really crushed me. I truly believe that a person's sexual preference should be kept to themselves; I mean do we really have to have a mental image of what they are doing behind closed doors.
    p.s. gay, straight or 50 shades of grey, there has to be some things that we keep for ourselves. @kelvalen

    1. I don't think it is any of our business.....BUT I think many feel an obligation to go public because of all of the harassment and bullying going on in our society. I think many want to be a role model to the younger generation to let them know it's okay to be yourself. I hope we get to a point when it doesn't matter and our society becomes more accepting.

  3. I understand the Bullying thing, however speaking as a mother, I think it is ridiculous the way the children in High School are allowed to make out in the school hallways and at their locker. My daughter always saw the same to girls making out in the hallway. If the schools would put a stop to this, maybe their wouldn't be so much bullying in regards to sexual preferences. Please know that I agree with you 100%, in this case I am just taking my frustrations out on the Schools. So I do understand the reason's for these famous adorable ppl (Anderson) coming out, it's just hard for me at the same time. We are who we are, I don't believe we "choose" to be gay or straight, but I just think there are some things we need to keep to ourselves. AND if our society becomes more accepting this would be really great and helpful! (sorry for the rambling) Love Ya Kristyn Burtt, you Rock!

    1. to=two. I am sitting out by the pool in the heat drinking coffee and my brain is melting.

    2. Wow. Yeah, there needs to be standards in schools that apply to everyone. We are all exposed to sexualized images each and every day......you would think the schools would try to keep a lid on it.


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