Paul Iacono, Star Of MTV’s The Hard Times of RJ Berger, Comes Out Of The Closet

Actor Paul Iacono, star of MTV’s The Hard Times of RJ Berger, has come out of the closet in an interview with the Village Voice‘s Michael Musto.

Musto asks the 23-year-old actor if he’s openly gay now, and he responds:

“Yes. I’m rolling with the punches here. I was asked if I was comfortable doing gay press. I said, ‘Of course.’ I didn’t think I’d be coming out. But why not now? I think it’s the right time to say something. It’s not about me, it’s about change and the work.”

Iacono also discusses his MTV show Kenzie’s Scale (a play on the Kinsey Scale, we assume), in which he plays gay. He says:

I play Cole, Kenzie’s boyfriend. It’s about a high school sweetheart couple who move to New York for college. He has this gay awakening when they get there. So they continue living together more as friends than lovers. It’s like a radical young Will & Grace. It explores the sexual spectrum from a millennial, ambiguous generation [point of view]. I believe that in 100 years, none of us will be having to identify ourselves as gay, straight, bi, or otherwise. Sexuality will be a more fluid thing. The show is a progressive outlet of that idea…

The whole reason we came up with Kenzie’s Scale is to give young gays characters to look up to. It’s great that we have Chris Colfer, but we need more characters. I was so moved by your comment on Facebook that ‘If I’d grown up with gay TV icons that were out, I’d have been so much better off.’ I didn’t have much to look up to as a kid. I had to search to find like-minded images. I’m happy to be that person so kids won’t have to grow up and be afraid of their sexuality and this won’t be an issue.

RJ Berger—from out co-producer Seth Grahame-Smith—was cancelled last year, but we’re looking forward to Kenzie’s Scale. Its placement on MTV, along with Dan Savage’s new Savage U, begs the question: now that Logo is not featuring all-gay programming, will the LGBT-interest stuff become more visible on its corporate sisters, MTV and VH1?

Photo: Kgarrett, MTV

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #comingout #gayactors #hardtimesofrjberger stories and more


  • M

    MTV seems to like him as well. They keep using him. He’s a funny guy and a good actor. Welcome to the club.

  • MEJ

    I’m genuinely shocked that he came out. With people like Matt Bomer dancing behind his glass closet door, to see a young actor be so openly gay is really surprising, and special.

  • Seattlegrrrl

    If the TV show Kenzie’s scale is all about someone that’s bisexual or who has a fluid sexuality then why is the main character in the show “gay”? Then again Michael Musto is highly bi phobic and practices bisexual erasure.

    MTV is a joke and Dan Savage is a media whore who is r acist, trans phobic, bi phobic, and he doesn’t care about LGBT youth but just wants our money and started It gets better just to get a reality TV show on MTV.

  • Joshua

    @MEJ: Matt Bomer isn’t in the closet, he came out….I think three weeks ago (don’t quote me on the time though)

  • Stace

    Do people get killed for being bisexual? Who is out bisexually? I doubt Anne Heche considers herself bisexual. Anna Paquin considers herself bisexual, but what does that mean she’s in a marriage to a man? Or is she just a straight woman who has had bisexual desires like most of the population and isn’t uptight about talking about it? If “bisexual” didn’t read as “closeted” much of the time, people would have less of a problem with it.

  • kouros

    @Stace: Just because she is married to a man doesn’t mean she isn’t bisexual. Bisexuality does not mean multiple partners just means the attraction to both sexes. Thats like saying why isn’t a straight man or a straight woman hooking up with someone outside of their marriage if their not having sex with their partners.
    A lot of people are out bisexually, we unfortunately have this issue where we just don’t get shit from the straight community but also from the gay community so we don’t tend to be part of the scene or out in the open about it. One of the first things i heard when i came to college from another gay kid was that bisexuality did not exists it just wasn’t plausible it was stupid and just for people in the closet. So when you get comments like that from people who are supposed to understand your struggle you tend to not want to even deal with it

  • Ok, ok

    About as surprising as Zachary Quinto coming out.

    When is Colton Haynes coming out? Oh that’s right, MTV shut that down with their massive legal team. Same network…hmm.

    Yeah MTV can go back to sucking it. This kid coming out doesn’t hurt their bottom line.

  • M

    @Ok, ok:

    Colton coming out won’t affect their bottom line, either.

    Dude is 4th lead on that show, minimum.

    Plus, a lot of Colton’s shit is already out there for all to see. Colton really isn’t hiding as much as people believe he is.

  • zach

    @Seattlegrrrl: wow what a pessimist. who else is doing the work that dan savage is doing? and getting the right kind of exposure for gays that he is? i know a ton of straight people who love him and respect him and he is a voice for us. we should stop hating on our own people. dan has made a few wordy mistakes, just like anyone, especially in such a wordy position as he is. not sure where this comment is coming from…

  • Ok, ok

    @M: Yet MTV pulled out their lawyers and shut it down.

    I’m assuming you’re a gay man and as such you should keep up to date on gay issues. It’s well known that Hollywood has beards, lawyers, contracts, photo ops, and even adopted children in place cover up someone being gay.

    Hollywood views homosexuality as being worse than having a criminal record, especially when it comes to potential heartthrobs. Colton has someone invested in him, the other kid doesn’t. There’s a huge difference.

    Chad Allen came out and said all of this and more when he was outed so many years ago. What would he have to gain by claiming that people shoved a beard, contracts, and more down his throat to get him to deny the pictures of him with another guy were real? He turned it all down, came out, and Hollyweird kicked him out. Now he does Indie projects that make him happy, but he was their investment, a future heartthrob who would most likely be A-list had he not been outed.

    In short: MTV is still full of it like always. The network like any other Hollyweird entity is very homophobic.

  • AEH

    What a welcome (and cute) addition to the team!

  • M

    @Ok, ok:
    Yes, Hollywood does employ beards etc. and yes, part of this town is homophobic, but that doesn’t automatically mean Colton’s career is in danger. With everything Hollywood is, Matt Bomer, NPH, Chris Colfer, Wanda Sykes have come out and kept their careers.

    He could come out and be fine and STILL work for MTV. Paul did and I have yet to hear MTV cancelling the show he’s filming or firing him. What’s the problem?

    Hollywood isn’t perfect, FAR FAR FAR from it, but it is a different place from when Chad Allen, Melissa Etheridge and Rupert Everett came out.

  • Pickles55

    How did this thread about Paul Iacono become about Colton Haynes and Dan Savage?
    Can’t the boy even have his own coming out article without bringing in all these other actors?
    It’s like mob mentality.

  • Ok, ok

    @Pickles55: Who?

    @M: It’s more about Hollywood maintaining control and keeping only certain players in their game. They will not allow gay actors to come out unless they choose them far in advance and ok it themselves.

    Hollywood much like the porn industry is controlled by certain individuals who benefit from treating the entire thing like a game of chess.

    I’d wager a vast majority of Hollywood is actually gay because most of the players behind the scenes are gay as well. Casting directors troll porn sites with live cam sessions looking for new “talent” more often than actually waiting for them to come into casting calls.

    Matt Lanter started in gay porn live cam sessions but Hollywood tried it’s best to cover that up too and they have A LOT invested in him for some strange reason. There are people with enough info on him to blow his career out of the water and most if not all of them have had their entire hard drives confiscated and been hit with lawsuits.

    Sure times have changed, Hollywood hasn’t. Matt Bomer never officially came out, he tip-toed, because that’s all he’s been allowed to do. NPH was allowed and has a limit on how far he will go, not because of society, but because Hollywood said so. Colfer will disappear. Wanda is a stand up comedian who does not rely on Hollywood in the first place.

    If you manage to pull an audience despite Hollywood trying to freeze you out they will obviously allow you back in to an extent to continue cashing in. That’s called control. Just look at Charlie Sheen, he went against them, got some attention anyway, so they gave him a short leash so they could cash in.

    The Hollywood machine is by far the most homophobic thing I’ve ever seen in my life and it’s crazy because it’s driven and fueled by gay men. Adding to the irony they then pretend to be the biggest supporters of gays and gay rights.

    I didn’t notice most of this until I actually moved to LA(more specifically West Hollywood) where you can be with pretty much any man as long as you don’t mention being gay or try to label your relationship. I’m not even kidding. Married men(and guys with “girlfriends) will sleep with you, date you, and even be affectionate with you as long as you never ask them directly what the hell is going on. I was so confused by it until I asked them about their careers and they’re all “actors”, “writers”, or “directors”. If Colton or any other future Hollywood “It Boy” came out without their permission their career would certainly be over, despite the fact that the rest of America doesn’t really care. My aunt always said don’t try to understand crazy.

    Welcome to Hollywood.

  • AEH

    I learned nothing new here…

  • jj

    Good for him! There are actually so many closeted young actors in hollywood its hard to keep track. When i moved here a year ago and started meeting some people in the industry and hearing gossip about some of these young actors i was really shocked. Its like there is a bubble around los angeles and you can be as gay as you want and as long as you take a beard everyone outside of la is convinced your straight. Like colton, taylor, chace, bomer ect. are obvious but i genuinely thought hugh jackman was straight or at least bi until i met john p.

  • Hephaestion

    Bravo to Paul Iacono!

  • James

    :( I only like it when hot guys come out.LOL

  • Andrew

    Zach-Who cares if Savage is worshipped by heteros and is a media whore? Dan Savage contrary to what you think is highly bi p hobic, trans phobic, and r acist. Those of us in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest have known for decades that if you don’t agree with everything he says and his Log Cabin Lite conservative politics-he supported the 2nd Iraq war completely!-he’ll be the first to throw you under the bus.

  • Andrew

    OK OK-What about Alan Cumming who has been out as a bisexual man for awhile? Or does the fact that he’s originally from the UK and not the United States play a big part about that?

    BTW who were some of the married actors who hit on you that are closeted bisexual or gay?

    I heard that Hollywood is so closeted that Will and Jada Smith are both a gay man and a lesbian woman and it’s just a marriage of convenience for their careers and images in the public. Is it true that they’re scientologists?

  • Andrew

    Also I read on a blind item gossip site that Quinto’s ‘handlers’ or his agents didn’t want him to come out at all and he was closeted for awhile but then ignored them and came out.

    I’ve heard that Vin Diesel is closeted but then again he’s a Muscle Mary!

  • MikeNYC

    JJ who are the other gay and bisexual closeted actors that you know of?

  • So Yo

    @James: Boo on you. He’s totally cute!

  • cdubois

    Hate to keep changing the subject, but can someone elaborate on the racism Mr savage has exhibited? I’m not finding much on Google and I would really like to know…

  • MikeSF

    cdubois look up how when prop 8 passed in CA Savage blamed the entire election result on black voters in the state of CA and wrote about this. Not only is this r acist, but it’s completely wrong too.

    I’ve also read writings of his where he uses r acist stereotypes about black men such as “big black dick” and the concept that having sex with a black man or someone who is African American is somehow completely different or a novelty when it’s just like having sex with anyone of any race. I have also seen writings where he writes about people “sleeping with black men” and is cool with treating a black man like a sex object.

    A lot of people have also complained about his it gets better project and how it focuses mainly only on rich white LGBT youth and not people of other races.

  • Mark

    Stace, way to be a hypocrite and total bigo ted bi p hobe who practices bisexual erasure.


    * Assuming that everyone you meet is either heterosexual or homosexual.
    * Supporting and understanding a bisexual identity for young people because you identified “that way” before you came to your “real” lesbian/gay/heterosexual identity.
    * Expecting a bisexual to identify as heterosexual when coupled with the so called different gender/sex.
    * Believing bisexual men spread AIDS/HIV to heterosexuals.
    * Thinking bisexual people haven’t made up their minds.
    * Assuming a bisexual person would want to fulfill your sexual fantasies or curiosities.
    * Assuming bisexuals would be willing to “pass” as anything other than bisexual.
    * Feeling that bisexual people are too outspoken and pushy about their visibility and rights.
    * Automatically assuming romantic couplings of two women are lesbian, or two men are gay, or a man and a woman are heterosexual.
    * Expecting bisexual people to get services, information, and education from heterosexual service agencies for their “heterosexual side” (sic) and then go to gay and/or lesbian service agencies for their “homosexual side” (sic).
    * Feeling bisexuals just want to have their cake and eat it too.
    * Believing that bisexual women spread AIDS/HIV to lesbians.
    * Using the terms “phase” or “stage” or “confused” or “fence-sitter” or “bisexual” or “AC/DC” or “switch-hitter” as slurs or in an accusatory way.
    * Thinking bisexuals only have committed relationships with so called different sex/gender partners.
    * Looking at a bisexual person and automatically thinking of their sexuality rather than seeing them as a whole, complete person.
    * Assuming that bisexuals, if given the choice, would prefer to be in an different gender/sex coupling to reap the social benefits of a so-called “heterosexual” pairing [sic].
    * Not confronting a biphobic remark or joke for fear of being identified as bisexual.
    * Assuming bisexual means “available.”
    * Thinking that bisexual people will have their rights when lesbian and gay people win theirs.
    * Being gay or lesbian and asking your bisexual friend about their lover or whom they are dating only when that person is the “same” sex/gender.
    * Believing bisexuals are confused about their sexuality.
    * Feeling that you can’t trust a bisexual because they aren’t really gay or lesbian, or aren’t really heterosexual, and that someone coming out as bisexual means someone’s closeted or can’t be trusted and isn’t telling the truth about their sexuality.
    * Expecting a bisexual to identify as gay or lesbian when coupled with the “same” sex/gender.
    * Saying that you’d never date or enter into a relationship with a bisexual person because they are bisexual.
    * Claiming that the rights of bisexuals don’t matter and that political and equality for gays and lesbians is more important and pressing.
    * Expecting bisexual activists and organizers to minimize bisexual issues (i.e. HIV/AIDS, violence, basic civil rights, fighting the Right, military, same-sex marriage, child custody, adoption, etc.) and to prioritize the visibility of so called “lesbian and/or gay” issues.
    * Avoid mentioning to friends that you are involved with a bisexual or working with a bisexual group because you are afraid they will think you are a bisexual.

  • Brand

    Congrats and thanks to Paul Iacono. I haven’t watched MTV in a while but I’ll be looking for his new show.

    @Ok, ok: If you thought about what you said, you’d realize you’re placing the blame in the wrong place—and perhaps “blame” is even the wrong word. You blame MTV for closeting Colton Haynes and then say, “people shoved a beard, contracts, and more down [Chad Allen’s] throat to get him to deny the pictures of him with another guy were real? He turned it all down, came out, and Hollyweird kicked him out. Now he does Indie projects that make him happy, but he was their investment, a future heartthrob who would most likely be A-list had he not been outed.”

    Then a little while later you write, “[Chris] Colfer will disappear”.

    Yet when Pickles55 wrote, “How did this thread about Paul Iacono become about Colton Haynes and Dan Savage? Damn,” you responded “Who?”

    Meaning you’re the one to blame. You, the gay guy who doesn’t give a fuck about the subject of this article, a young actor playing a gay character who has just come out in real life. How are you any better than the guy who said he only likes it when “hot guys” come out? (I agree with someone else who said Paul Icono is plenty cute, he was playing a quintessentially awkward teenager in the first picture.)

    You don’t even seem to realize what you, yourself just said. Chad Allen was offered the chance to lie about hidden-camera paparazzi photos of his actual life that had come out, and he declined. As it was 1996—just after the country had responded to President Clinton’s efforts to allow gays to serve openly in the military by declaring it wanted neither to ask nor to be told about gay people—Hollywood decided to move on from the former child actor whose career in Hollywood had already outlasted most—and Allen did continue with his family-oriented network series for two years following the outing. This was before Will & Grace, and even then gay characters were an anomaly.

    The Colton Haynes denial comes along almost 15 years later. Obama is president and working to end DADT and allow open service of gays in the military (which he does). The photos that come out aren’t surreptitious candids from Haynes’ personal life but posed shots for a gay magazine. Haynes isn’t in a family show about a throwback to a chaster, more puritanical time but two series (yes two, the same year, one for MTV and the other for ABC) about werewolves, both described as “darker, edgier, sexier” than earlier TV representations of the genre.

    Hypocritically, Haynes lawyer objects to the XY photos Haynes posed for as a paid model on the grounds they are “private, obscene, lewd and pornographic”, and “sordid, grossly perverted and can only appeal to those with the most prurient of interests,” yet the same year Haynes gets a third series, on Showtime, where he plays a 17-year-old who pushes the envelope a good bit farther in some particularly risqué nude sex scenes (with a girl). He’s also masturbated on the show. What kinds of interests do this more mature Haynes ouevre appeal to?

    Adults in Hollywood behave as adults do anywhere there are attractive young people looking for a leg up—they’re giving it to some of them, and diddling them as they do it; and they’re not giving it to others, but taking liberties nonetheless. For that matter, no one person can assure anyone truly becomes a star (for some reason I always think of the shameless attempt to launch Pia Zadora), but the one person who can most assuredly hamper that is the would-be star themselves. And for this reason, most people who get into the position of would-be star have already sacrificed many other things in the single-minded devotion necessary to getting to and staying near the top, and pursuit of an active social life much less an active sex life is often among them. But this has long been true about just about any major success that launches at a young age. Olympic athlete, military, politics, business, education. The average American just finds it more startling that people we see ripping off their shirts and locking lips with the opposite sex for pay in mainstream film or television would not be letting it all hang out about their personal lives.

    In other words, maybe Neil Patrick Harris is as open now as he wants to be, and there isn’t actually some big conspiracy in Hollywood preventing us all from seeing him wanking on a webcam. Maybe real people (outside of porn stars and strippers and sex columnists and sensationalist bloggers and bar denizens) don’t actually get that much more explicit about their sex lives.

    And to say, after all your allegations of high-stakes efforts to hush up homosexuality, that Hollywood is looking for new talent on XXX webcam sites is particularly obtuse. Porn producers, surely; indie producers, likely; a few rogues pushing the envelope at MTV, perhaps; but it would be self-defeating behavior as the only possible outcome from making a star out of someone who has performed nude for audiences is to have those performances come out at some point. This is more likely the M.O. of the sort of guy who thought they could turn porn stars into pop stars or make Angelyne governor of California. Which is to say, they don’t really care whether or not they succeed, they just want to, erm, hang out with the exhibitionists.

    But the truth is, it’s not just the straight people who don’t really want their stars and certainly not their heartthrobs to be gays whose sex lives are documented by the paparazzi (as in obvious, in-your-face-at-the-grocery-store-checkout kind of gay). It’s the gay people who act like today’s hot new kid becomes yesterday’s news tomorrow. It’s the gay people who, again, “only like it when hot guys come out”. It’s the gay people who, like MikeSF up in here, want to hate on a gay guy and tear them down on totally unrelated blogs just because they project some kind of negative facet onto them (Mike, you totally didn’t support your allegation with the examples you cite). It’s the gay people who can’t wait to out somebody today and then when they come out, say—as again, Ok ok does—yawn, knew that, when’s the next guy coming out.

    What the hell’s the incentive for someone to identify with such a bitchy, disloyal crowd? If you can make a big splash for a couple of years among women, and have a few guys hoping or guessing you’re gay, that’s a lot more palatable than being open from the start and having yourself ravaged by “your own crowd”. Don’t get me wrong, I want there to be a lot more and a bigger variety of out, open notable people across all fields including entertainment. And I know there are a lot of closeted notable people across all fields including entertainment. But I also know that some out gay people are as much to blame as homophobic straight people for why more do not come out.

    So I’ll end this post the way I began, with the focus on applauding and supporting one gay actor who has just come out, and hope most people reading this can appreciate not only the humanity but the wisdom and the self-interest in doing so.

  • Tom

    Congrats to the young actor for coming out. It was probably a decision that he didn’t make lightly, not that any of us do make that decision lightly. I hope that He has continued success in all he does.

  • iltman

    Yes congratulations, I watched Berger and thought he is a talented and funny actor and will make some lucky chap a brilliant boyfriend

  • Continuum

    Great news. Almost makes up for MTV cancelling RJ Berger. For its two seasons it was one of the funniest programs on the air.

  • MikeSF

    Brand, you’ve got an internet connection. Use it to research how Dan Savage is r acist. It’s very well known and yes he did completely blame the passing of prop 8 on African Americans in the state of CA. As a black man I find this sort of behavior from a gay white man to be disgusting and not to mention r acist, and hypocritical.

  • Bryan

    Surprised, as in I didn’t know much about him besides watching about 5 episodes of RJ Berger. Congrats though.

  • cam

    Good for him, I’ll be sure to check out his next show.

  • Marshall

    @MEJ: actually Matt Bomer came out two months ago during an awards dinner. Score for us! Sadly though, he is a happily married to a publicist (male) and had three children via surrogate.

  • Vlad

    @Stace: Good think bisexuals like myself dont need your approval on what to call ourselves. If someone calls themselves bisexual theyre not in the closet theyre either not sure yet or they’re actually bisexual.

    Its not a competition who can be more “obviously” queer/homo than the person sitting next to you. We’re all going to hell together so just relax already.

  • G

    @Andrew: Word! I live in Seattle and I’ve never been a Dan Savage fan. He’s always rubbed me the wrong way and since when did we vote him in to be our unified voice?

Comments are closed.