It’s not Tom Cruise’s arranged marriage, or those expensive male escort stories, or his allegiance to Scientology that make us think he’s a gay. It’s the actor’s record — in his young twenties — of inserting something anti-gay into normal conversation.
Tom’s Risky Business co-star Bronson Pinchot (yes, the Perfect Strangers fella) says that during filming, not only did Tom adopt the annoying habit of referring to everyone by their characters’ names, but he laced his off-set dialogue with homophobic banter. Pinchot tells AV Club:
We thought Tom [Cruise] was the biggest bore on the face of the Earth. He had spent some formative time with Sean Penn—we were all very young at the time, Tom was 20, I was 23. Tom had picked up this knack of calling everyone by their character names, because that would probably make your performance better, and I don’t agree with that. I think that acting is acting, and the rest of the time, you should be you, but he called us all by our character names. He was tense and made constant, constant unrelated homophobic comments, like, “You want some ice cream, in case there are no gay people there?” I mean, his lingo was larded with the most… There was no basis for it. It was like, “It’s a nice day, I’m glad there are no gay people standing here.” Very, very strange.
Oh, but there was retribution!
Years and years later when people started to torment him with that [about being gay], I used to think “God, that’s really fitting, because he tormented a lot of people as a 20-year-old.” He made such a big deal about it. Same thing with Eddie Murphy—I remember somebody calling and saying, “You’ll never guess who was just caught with a transvestite!” [Laughs.] And I remember thinking that seemed fitting, because there are certain people in showbiz who make it an agenda, every third sentence has to have something knocking that life choice, and you think, “What are you doing?” Like, these women came up to me in a restaurant—I was wearing a bright red shirt, and I was with some friends, and they said, “Would you like to join our club? We wear red.” What kind of choice is that? If you spent many years in the theater, and then you show up in movies, and people have on their to-do list for the day that they’re going to make a comment every third sentence, it strikes you as very strange. I just thought it was very funny that years later, that became his bugaboo. Which is a nice 1930s term I thought you’d enjoy.
[...] If someone’s 20 years old and every third line out of their mouth is anti-something specific, then draw your own conclusion. I thought it was very weird.
As history tells it, it’s always the guys saying “faggot this” and “gay that” who are the first to throw their ankles in the air.