Hayes is among Hollywood’s best verbal slapstickers, but his sexual orientation is part of who he is, and also part of his charm. (The fact that he only came out of the closet just before Promises was another one of those Ricky Martin-duh moments.)
But frankly, it’s weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he’s trying to hide something, which of course he is. Even the play’s most hilarious scene, when Chuck tries to pick up a drunk woman at a bar, devolves into unintentional camp. Is it funny because of all the ’60s-era one-liners, or because the woman is so drunk (and clueless) that she agrees to go home with a guy we all know is gay?
Kristin Chenoweth, now starring opposite Hayes in Promises, did not take kindly to that assessment:
This article offends me because I am a human being, a woman and a Christian. For example, there was a time when Jewish actors had to change their names because anti-Semites thought no Jew could convincingly play Gentile. Setoodeh even goes so far as to justify his knee-jerk homophobic reaction to gay actors by accepting and endorsing that “as viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker-room torture in junior high school.”
Really? We want to maintain and proliferate the same kind of bullying that makes children cry and in some recent cases have even taken their own lives? That’s so sad, Newsweek! The examples he provides (what scientists call “selection bias”) to prove his “gays can’t play straight” hypothesis are sloppy in my opinion. Come on now!
This isn’t the first time Setoodeh, Newsweek‘s go-to for all things gay, has turned progress in the gay community into a negative. In November, he argued the fey gay characters on shows like Ugly Betty and Glee were bad for America’s young gays, seemingly unaware that these kids get the shit kicked out of them daily.
Setoodeh’s theses aren’t just a Slate-izations of a topic, where taking the unpopular view counts for intellectual hyperbole.
He has a history of arguing for going backwards in our march toward acceptance. This man is a deterrent, not a catalyst for change. If he wants to continue spouting these nonsensical views, let him do it on a personal blog. Not in a newsweekly that’s already having a difficult time keeping America’s attention.