Since Newsweek's Ramin Setoodeh wrote a now-infamous criticism of Sean Hayes' capacity to step out of gay and play straight in 'Promises, Promises,' he has fielded attacks from all sides. Hayes' costar Kristin Chenoweth called Setoodeh "horrendously homophobic," GLAAD has demanded a Newsweek apology and 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy has called for people to boycott Newsweek until it apologizes for the article. (Setoodeh's piece also took on 'Glee' actor Jonathan Groff, whose performance "feels off.")
Setoodeh is slowly mending bridges with the masses he offended, starting with a response to Chenoweth in Newsweek earlier this week. He doesn't apologize for his earlier article but argues it was meant to open a dialogue about the thorny politics of gay actors playing straight, not condemn Hayes for trying:
If an actor of the stature of George Clooney came out of the closet today, would we still accept him as a heterosexual leading man? It's hard to say, because no actor like that exists. I meant to open a debate--why is that? And what does it say about our notions about sexuality? For all the talk about progress in the gay community in Hollywood, has enough really changed? The answer seems obvious to me: no, it has not.
Setoodeh stands by his criticism of Hayes' performance--not his audience--and points out that the New York Times theater critic wrote "his emotions often seem pale to the point of colorlessness ... his relationship with [his costar Kristin] Chenoweth feels more like that of a younger brother than a would-be lover and protector." He says that he, an openly gay man, said the same without hiding behind euphemism.
Newsweek has declined to issue an apology for the article, but Setoodeh has taken Ryan Murphy up on his offer to meet with him and the 'Glee' writers to discuss why they found his remarks offensive and observe the inclusiveness of the show's creative process. Murphy, who has spoken to Setoodeh, wrote an open letter to Entertainment Weekly, excerpted below:
Along with inviting him into our Glee writers room, I will also let him observe our casting process...so he can witness first hand--and speak to--actors who audition for our show and who are already series regulars--actors who are encouraged to read for ALL roles, no matter what their sexual orientation, color or gender. Who cares who you are or who you sleep with--men, women, sheep--frankly, it's none of our business or concern. The actor with the best audition should get the part. On Glee, straight actors play gay roles, gay actors play straight roles and no one is discriminated against. I hope observing this process firsthand--and talking with our cast--will be illuminating to Mr. Setoodeh, and inform his future journalistic endeavors.
In my telephone conversation with him, Mr. Setoodeh mentioned how he feels cornered, misunderstood and unfairly attacked. I look forward to hearing his reasons for writing the article, and will of course listen with an open heart and mind. Vicious anonymous attacks--which Mr. Setoodeh feels he has been subjected to over the past two days--aren't cool or acceptable, and get us no where. What DOES move the ball forward is education and a fair and open dialogue, and I want Mr. Setoodeh to know that all of us at Glee are committed to that, and encourage it.
We'll let you know how Setoodeh's visit goes.