The recent actions of openly gay CBS news correspondent Itay Hod in his hypothetical outing of a closeted Republican congressman has raised some interesting questions about the 'outing' public figures in America and the role of social media and major news outlets play in the process.
"The Outing Process" From Congress To Hollywood
CBS journalists Itay Hod went on Facebook last week and provided a "hypothetical" example of the allegedly closeted Illinois Republican congressman Aaron Schock who has one of the most anti-gay voting records in Congress. His actions raise the question is it acceptable for main stream media to out a public figure?
Personally I think Barney Frank put it perfectly when he said "The right of privacy does not extend to a right to hypocrisy."
Itay Hod's Facebook Post
"here's a hypothetical: what if you know a certain GOP congressman, let's just say from Illinois, is gay... and you know this because one of your friends, a journalist for a reputable network, told you in no uncertain terms that he caught that GOP congressman and his male roommate in the shower... together. now they could have been good friends just trying to conserve water. but there's more. what if this congressman has also been caught by tmz cameras trolling gay bars. now what if you know that this very same guy, the darling of the gop, has also voted against repeal of don't ask don't tell, opposed the repeal of doma, is against gay marriage; and for the federal marriage amendment, which would add language to the us constitution banning gay marriage and would likely strike down every gay rights law and ordinance in the country?
Are we still not allowed to out him?"
The Wizard & The Dwarves
One doesn't usually read about actors in Hollywood 'outing' their fellow actors, it simply isn't done. Yet our favorite wizard and openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen is reported to have outed some of his fellow 'The Hobbit' co-stars in an interview he gave to a german magazine.
In the article Sir Ian is quoted as saying "Just look only how many openly gay actors in the Hobbit with were: two of the dwarves, to Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Lee Pace. In The Lord of the Rings I was the only one next to it there was my make-up artist and one from the wardrobe team. That’s only once a progress, right?”
One does have to give credit to Sir Ian in that two of three names he mentioned are openly gay actors like the iconic Stephen Fry and Luke Evans who came out in an article in The Advocate. It is Lee Pace who has never made public his sexuality that is causing a few raised eyebrows. Especially since Lee gained recognition for his role in the 2003 film Soldier's Girl, based on fact, in which he played the central role of Calpernia Addams, a transgender woman dating Army soldier.
Pace made this comment about Soldier's Girl :
"Not even my excellent training at Juilliard prepared me for my first movie role, where I played a transsexual who falls in love with a military guy in Soldier's Girl. Here I was, this 6'3" 190-pound lanky kid from Chickasha, Oklahoma, not knowing how to begin being a woman. So I saw documentaries about transsexuals, I lost twenty-five pounds, and I put on prosthetic boobs and hips to become that character. There were times I'd look in the mirror and wonder, "What am I doing to my life here? My dad is going to kill me!" But the reason I went into acting was to be able to play parts as complicated and important as this one. In playing a transsexual, I got the chance to help change people's perspective about other people, and that is a powerful thing. I'm playing a swashbuckling bandit in my next film, but I'll always be proud of Soldier's Girl."
Follow Justin Howard, Culture Writer @jthnomad