Alex Blaze

Rupert Everett talks about homophobia in Hollywood

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 30, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, Hollywood, LGBT, military, richard chamberlain, rupert everett, star

Rupert Everett is the latest star to come right out and say it: Hollywood is a pretty homophobic place to work.

Rupert EverettWhen asked about the professional reaction he received after he came out of the closet, Everett responded, "Nothing very much [in terms of Hollywood reaction]. I just never got a job there, and I never got a job here, after [coming out]. I did a couple of films, I was very lucky at the beginning of my career... and then, I never had another job here for ten years probably and I moved to Europe." Despite a general view to the contrary, Everett calls Hollywood "an extremely conservative world" that "pretends to be a liberal world."

Earlier, he said he felt, "show business is ideally suited for heterosexuals, it's a very heterosexual business, it's run mostly by heterosexual men, and there's a kind of pecking order."

Michael Hamar posted about this yesterday, asking where is the outrage. I'd imagine it's in the same place when it comes to outrage against other homophobic professions that don't have explicit bans on LGBT people: up in the ether.

It's hard to pin down where discrimination comes from and it's easy to blame individual people even while it's obvious that there's a systemic problem. How do we know the reason Everett didn't get another job wasn't just because he wasn't that great of an actor? How do we know there wasn't some personal issue in the background that we don't know about? How does one disprove any of the excuses that could be made?

Discrimination claims are notoriously hard to prove, and it's a lot easier for people to ignore that kind of bias than it is to fight against it. The powers-that-be find it easy to sweep the problem under the rug as people who aren't directly effected are unlikely to notice that there's a problem.

The military will be an interesting example to watch, since even after DADT repealed it doesn't mean that discrimination against LGB people who work for the military will be ended. I doubt even a tenth of them will come out the day DADT is officially gone, and afterwards there will be stories of harassment and direct job discrimination. But will the media care as much as it did about DADT repeal? It's doubtful.

Anyway, I don't know the particulars of Everett's story, but there's little doubt that Hollywood, generally, has a problem. And what's interesting isn't that Hollywood is "liberal" and they still don't like gays much. What's interesting is that people think Hollywood is "liberal" at all.

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How about if every GLBT person working in Hollywood or the entertainment industry in general stopped working for a week in protest. Let's see the impact!

Richard Chamberlain says don't come out. Then we complain that Hollywood does not employ openly gay actors. Well, if the pool of openly gay male and female actors is so small, partly because of Chamberlain's attitude of staying in the closet for selfish reasons, then how can we complain when we see so few openly gay actors getting work?
Either Chamberlain's attitude needs to be rejected by self-respecting and selfless gay men and women, or we should not be surprised that Cynthia Nixon is one of only a few.