Lee Pace responded to the backlash over his sexuality. Was he in the wrong?

Actor Lee Pace just reignited a dormant debate in Hollywood.

Should LGBTQ celebrities feel a responsibility to live out and proud? Or should they have the same right to privacy when it comes to their sexuality and identity as anyone else?  

The actor (known for "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "The Hobbit") once played a gay character on Broadway in "The Normal Heart," a story reflecting the pain and injustice of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.


He recently spoke with W magazine about his return to the stage in the revival of "Angels in America."

Pace said he thought it was important for LGBTQ actors to play LGBTQ characters — yet called interview questions about his sexuality "intrusive."

In the Feb. 28 article, Pace seems to fire back at the interviewer, Brian Moylan, who wrote:

"[Pace] seemed a bit flustered and surprised by the question. 'I've dated men. I've dated women,' he explained. 'I don't know why anyone would care. I'm an actor and I play roles. To be honest, I don't know what to say — I find your question intrusive.'"

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Pace's response both raised eyebrows and rallied defenders.

To many, it felt hypocritical for Pace to note the importance of LGBTQ actors playing LGBTQ roles only to take offense to a journalist asking about his sexuality.

On the other hand, anyone — famous or not — is entitled to keep their sexuality private, Pace's defenders argued.  

Pace's remarks added to an ongoing and often knotty debate over actors' sexual orientations and their right to privacy.

It's tempting to brush aside the issue and argue that the best actor should always get the role, regardless of sexual orientation. But that attitude ignores widespread problems that systematically diminish the value of LGBTQ actors.

In an entertainment industry oversaturated with straight (and white) roles, it's still relatively uncommon that queer characters take center stage. When those characters do appear, Hollywood tends to give those parts to straight, cisgender actors — and then reward them mightily come award-show season.

On the flip side, actors are often penalized when they come out as LGBTQ because their casting potential seems to weaken to many executives who are hesitant to place a "riskier" bet on their hire. The industry has evolved immensely for the better since Ellen DeGeneres famously lost her sitcom — and, at the time, her entire career — after coming out as a lesbian in 1997. But anti-LGBTQ discrimination is still pervasive.

While the new film "Call Me By Your Name" has been celebrated by critics and LGBTQ fans alike, many also panned its casting of two straight men in the lead queer roles while gay and bisexual actors struggle to find work.

Stars of "Call Me By Your Name" Timothée Chalamet (left) and Armie Hammer (right) both identity as straight men. Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images.

In lieu of the backlash to his remarks, Pace took to Twitter to clarify how he feels on the issue.

"My privacy is important to me, so I protect it," he wrote. "When interviewed by the media, I keep the focus on my work."

But Pace does, however, understand the value in living openly and honestly as a queer man in the spotlight, he wrote.

Pace's remarks fell perfectly into the crosshairs of this thorny debate.

His hesitation to discuss his sexuality openly — whether it be because he's simply a private person or he fears his queerness could hurt his career (or both) — is understandable. But his call to cast openly LGBTQ actors in LGBTQ roles also recognizes the importance of representation in our media and why it's so critical ample opportunities be provided to queer entertainers.

Pace has been — and will continue to be — part of the solution.

"It's been important to me to portray queer characters with dignity for my entire career," he said. "Onward, with pride."

More
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared