Weighing Franco’s Out Cover

Actor James Franco appears on this month’s cover of Out to help hype his new gay flick, Milk. (He also did a cover for Interview magazine.)

The movie’s story should be a familiar one: Harvey Milk was California’s first openly gay elected official and was later assassinated, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Franco’s starring opposite Sean Penn, who has not been doing press for the movie, which is a bit queer.

So, Franco’s getting all this attention and people are loving him. Or hating him. It depends on who you ask.

As some of you may be aware, many readers have lambasted Out for featuring straight actors on the cover. Gawker’s Richard Lawson asks as an aside, “Plus, why does Out keep putting straight actors on their cover as if to dangle some tantalizing, forbidden fruit?”

Mr. Lawson isn’t the only one who has some unanswered questions about what would seem like run-of-the-mill straight worshiping. Rumor has it that new Advocate editor Jon Barrett isn’t so keen on the idea: “The new editor of [Out‘s] sister publication, The Advocate, has stated that he doesn’t want to put straight actors playing gay roles on the cover of that magazine.” Now, we can understand that argument – gays need to be better represented, etc, etc. But we can also understand the other side: why snub a straight man who’s perfectly willing to portray a gay man – Franco play’s Milk’s boyfriend – and embrace the land of the gay? That’s better than a distinct sexual divide, no?

No matter which side one takes, however, the end result’s the same: widespread press.