Whatever I’ve thought of the last couple of movies that George Clooney’s made, his response to rumors that he’s gay is amazing—particularly given how Hollywood used to handle that kind of gossip. He told The Advocate:
I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, “These are lies!” That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a shit.
That kind of pure confidence, or the ability to buss Billy Crystal in the Academy Awards’ opening skit without making it a joke that relies on a “gross! Two dudes kissing” reaction:
is welcome, and something we could use a lot more of. We think of Hollywood as this bastion of liberalism, but we’re not that far removed from a time when Rock Hudson was revealed to be gay only after he died of AIDS-related complications. And we’re still in a time when movies and television shows starring gay people are events. Given comments and actions like these, it’d be awfully nice to see Clooney extend his auteur project, break out of his pattern of Tortured But Honorable Heterosexual Dudes and insist that you can both be America’s Favorite Bachelor and play gay.