Ian McKellen got real candid about Hollywood sticking up for straight, white men.

Hollywood has some serious issues. It treats women terribly, overlooks people of color, and erases disabled and LGBTQ people from its stories, for starters.

Someone who doesn't need reminding of the industry's embarrassing failings is openly gay actor Ian McKellen.

Photo by Tristan Fewings/WPA Pool/Getty Images.


The 78-year-old stage and film actor who's spent the better part of his life working in the industry got candid with Time Out London about Hollywood's tendency to only defend and empower white men and their heteronormative stories.

Take Albus Dumbledore, for instance. Years ago, author J.K. Rowling divulged that the wizard headmaster in "Harry Potter" is gay. Yet in the newer movies in the franchise, filmmakers have shied away from allowing the character to display any sense of explicit queerness, to the disappointment of many fans.

Time Out London's Phil de Semlyen asked McKellen, who routinely gets mistaken for the actors who actually played Dumbledore on screen — Richard Harris till his death, then Michael Gamdon — about the ongoing controversy: "The younger Dumbledore isn't explicitly gay in the new 'Fantastic Beasts' movie. Why do you think there are so few gay characters in blockbusters?"

McKellen responded:

"Isn't he? That’s a pity. Well, nobody looks to Hollywood for social commentary, do they? They only recently discovered that there were black people in the world. Hollywood has mistreated women in every possible way throughout its history. Gay men don't exist. 'Gods and Monsters' [in 1998], I think, was the beginning of Hollywood admitting that there were gay people knocking around, even though half of Hollywood is gay."

You can't knock him for a lack of candor.

Photo by Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images.

Do you think his comment seems melodramatic or unnecessarily harsh? They seem pretty on-the-nose to me.

Keep in mind, Hollywood is just now reckoning with its massive sexual abuse epidemic, its white-washed and racist systems of production, and the fact the industry is still run by an overwhelmingly straight, cisgender, white, and older group of men who choose which projects get made and by whom.

McKellen's comments also come on the heels of a damning new report from GLAAD on LGBTQ representation in film.

In its Studio Responsibility Index, the advocacy group found a sharp decline in the percentage of queer-inclusive movies across the largest production studios. Between 2016 and 2017, that figure dropped from 18.4% to 12.8% — the lowest since GLAAD began tracking data six years ago.

It's easy to assume progress just happens. But it doesn't.

McKellen rightly suggested that Hollywood continues to fail women, people of color, and other marginalized groups. But he's also been around for quite a long time, and he's hopeful the future is bright for LGBTQ people — on screen and off.

"When I go to schools to talk about gay rights, the kids can't believe it," McKellen explained of younger generations showing acceptance. "It's not an issue for them."

Queer kids deserve to see a world on screen that reflects their own. And if it takes a gay wizard flicking his wand to help send that message, sign me up for the next train to Hogwarts.

Learn more about GLAAD's Studio Responsibility Index findings here.

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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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