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"Homophobic" Newsweek Writer Responds to Actress Chenoweth

Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh has responded to actress Kristin Chenoweth's description of his May 10 article as "horrendously homophobic," saying he meant only to "open a debate" on the gay community's place in Hollywood.

In the article, titled "Straight Jacket," Setoodeh asserted that gay actors could not convincingly play straight roles, and cited Sean Hayes' performance in the Broadway play "Promises, Promises" as an example.

Chenoweth, Hayes' costar in the play, left a comment on Newsweek's Web site condemning Setoodeh's article. "No one needs to see a bigoted, factually inaccurate article that tells people who deviate from heterosexual norms that they can’t be open about who they are and still achieve their dreams," she wrote.

In an article posted on Newsweek's Web site yesterday, Setoodeh says the response to his original article has been "vicious" and that Internet commenters have "piled on the attacks." He contends that he's been misinterpreted. "...What all this scrutiny seemed to miss," he continues, "was my essay's point: 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."


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