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PREACH IT! Kristin Chenoweth does our job for us. Thanks, doll! [poll]

Hayes-chen-web It’s a lazy day here for us here at Preach It! Why? Because someone else stepped up and did our job for us. Thank you, Kristin Chenoweth, for calling out Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh as a complete, utter and quite possibly self-hating dingbat, and doing with almost as much panache and verbal jiu-jitsu as we would have mustered ourselves.

It all started when Setoodeh posted an article essentially saying that gay actors should stay in the closet. He cited openly gay thespians like Sean Hayes -- star of the Broadway revival of “Promises, Promises” with Chenoweth -- and “Glee’s” Mr. Vocal Adrenaline, Jonathan Groff. Setoodeh’s general point: Gays can’t play straight, because they’re just too gay, gay, gay.

“Frankly,” Setoodeh writes, “it’s weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he’s trying to hide something, which of course he is. Even the play’s most hilarious scene, when Chuck tries to pick up a drunk woman at a bar, devolves into unintentional camp.”

Of Groff, Setoodeh says, “When he smiles or giggles, he seems more like your average theater queen.”

Setoodeh also argued that none of this hetero bigotry is anybody’s fault. It’s just, like, how we’re raised: “We are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker-room torture in junior high school.”

This ticked off some people, including Chenoweth, who wrote an angry letter ...

... in response. The letter kicks way too much booty to be summed up in this tiny blog -- you can read the whole thing here -- but here are some of the finer uppercuts:

-- “We’re actors first, whether we’re playing prostitutes, baseball players, or the Lion King. Audiences come to theater to go on a journey. It’s a character and it’s called acting, and I’d put Hayes and his brilliance up there with some of the greatest actors period.”

-- “Setoodeh even goes so far as to justify his knee-jerk homophobic reaction to gay actors by accepting and endorsing that ‘as viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker room torture in junior high school.’ Really? We want to maintain and proliferate the same kind of bullying that makes children cry and in some recent cases have even taken their own lives? That’s so sad, Newsweek!”

-- “No one needs to see a bigoted, factually inaccurate article that tells people who deviate from heterosexual norms that they can’t be open about who they are and still achieve their dreams.”

And oh: Chenoweth wasn’t done. Oh no, she was not.

“I am told on good authority that Mr. Setoodeh is a gay man himself and I would hope, as the author of this article, he would at least understand that. I encourage Newsweek to embrace stories which promote acceptance, love, unity and singing and dancing for all!”

Boom! Served! Or ... you tell us, in our nonscientific online poll.

-- Leslie Gornstein

Photo: Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth attend the party after the Broadway opening of "Promises, Promises" on April 25, 2010, in New York City. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

Related dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip:

Kristin Chenoweth on 'Glee,' Meniere's and Feeding America

'Glee' guy Matthew Morrison sings Kristin Chenoweth's praises at the Geffen

Click and scroll down to peruse the Preach It! archives, or if you're feeling gay, gay, gay, check out our items of LGBT interest (readers of all sexual orientations are welcome). Want the headlines? Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter (we're @LATcelebs) or get us in your news feed on Facebook.

Comments () | Archives (6)

This Setoodeh guy has opened my eyes to tons of fakers and their shoddy attempts to bait-n-switch me! How'd anybody ever buy Catherine Denueve as a femme fatale; Dirk Bogarde as a ladykiller; Rock Hudson as a major heartthrob? Luckily Jodie Foster really is an abused barfly with bad taste in men and Sean Penn really is a murdered gay politician, because everyone knows there's no such thing as a-c-t-i-n-g! I just hope Setoodeh isn't a big HowIMetYrMother fan, because there's no way that show's gonna last....:).. are they really that hard up for writers at that mag? Cuz I'm not a paid writer but I'd be happy to ACT like one.
-- janeykins

Hmm, that would be like me saying Setoodah was here on a student visa and decided he had so many freedoms in America he didn't want to go back to his homeland...

Many stars are absolute monsters: Vile, ignorant, self-centered, attention-sucking beasts -- it's why all Tom Hanks has to do is say "hi" back to people to get labeled the Nicest Actor Who Ever Lived.

At minimum, stars are Martians. They live in gilded fishbowls, no one treats them normally, and the scale and tenor of their day-to-day and year-to-year lives have nearly nothing to do with the world as experienced by you and me.

My point is that when ANY of these individuals play "regular" people, they are ALL bridging a gap far larger than that between merely "gay" and "straight."

Everyone knows this, and it bothers nobody. So what we are talking about is, as always, pure bigotry.

Difficult to leave a comment, when anything written that doesn't support such an extremely left POV will probably be trashed in future blogs.

As a professional actor and entertainer, I can understand Mr. Setoodeh's rant. I have worked with several actors who, as a cast mate, made it difficult to watch because for some, playing straight is obviously difficult. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm simply saying that has been my personal experience. But I chalk that up to a lack of confidence, just as some would have a lack of confidence to play Hamlet.

I guess the bigger issue is: Does it matter?

Kristen is very well-spoken in her letter, approaching the issue from a solid point-of-view. But her attack on Newsweek will only drive traffic to their site. Now THAT'S solid business journalism. You can bet that the people at Newsweek are just "oh, so upset" about her letter.

The biggest issue of all is this: People who absolutely INSIST on forcing us to sit and watch all the crap that is going on outside the theater. THAT'S what Ms. Chenoweth missed. I'm tired of paying good money to be beaten over the head with politics, sexual preferences, violence and the such when all I want to do is be taken away from the world's, and my own, problems for a couple of hours. If I want to see self-serving product, I'll turn on the glamorous news bunnies of Los Angeles.

I don't care about a person's politics, sexuality or "inner monologue" of demons. I just want to see good entertainment.

Mr. Hayes does just that.

He got served, owned, and smacked up-side his pointy head.

Setoodeh is now obviously back-pedaling, claiming he was misunderstood, only wanted to open a dialog, and is trying to obtain sympathy by saying he's receiving hate mail and has been verbally attacked over the essay. Really, did he expect flowers and candy? Obviously, whatever point he was trying to make was lost in his sophomoric jabs.

He got a very justified smackdown and thank you LA Times for such a great mention about it. I like what Phil has to say about the outside bs no one cares about and Ms. Chenoweth deals with that in her initial letter. Also from what i can gather, From what a friend told me in LA, Chenoweth seemed to tweet other sites to visit to see the entire letter more than she did the Newsweek site (Newsweek actually didn't run the letter in its Letters page or anywhere on its main page. One had to look for it long and hard in a comments section. I am guessing this helped keep Newsweek traffic down. Now with Mr. Murphy's call for a boycott, this magazine seems like it really has alot to answer for but ultimately the magazine seems so irrelevant and old fashioned now.


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