During a panel discussion at Outfest 2010, Los Angeles’ gay and lesbian film festival, openly gay director Don Roos tells gay actors to stay in the closet for the sake of their careers:

“Most of the audience is going to be homophobic, they’re mostly violent in their hearts and that’s what they’re responding to on the screen and you can’t wait to have a career until the audience is not homophobic. That’s never going to happen.”

This reminds me of the controversy over the Newsweek article by Ramin Setoodeh, who has since departed that publication to join People magazine, wherein the writer unartfully said gay actors are too distracting to even gays like him.

Openly gay actor Jonathan Slavin, also on the panel, voiced his concerns about such an approach. “Don’t you think that there were people who said to Sidney Poitier that an audience is never going to accept a black man as the lead of a film? At a certain point, you have to just cast (gay actors) and grab the reins and move forward and see what happens. It is about taking risks and taking risks and not waiting until it’s safe. We’re accommodating a narrow-minded mentality.”

Tyler DeVere is a former editorial intern for QNotes.