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Hey, Kristin Chenoweth -- that Newsweek guy is explaining himself [updated]

May 11, 2010 |  1:49 pm

Hayes-clooney-web-split Ramin Setoodeh, the Newsweek writer whose article "Straight Jacket" drew the wrath of one Kristin Chenoweth, responded to critics Tuesday, describing what's happened since his essay was published last week and clarifying the point he was trying to make in the first place. 

He says he received a lot of vicious criticism over the weekend, including "e-mails that said I will be fired, anonymous phone calls on my cell phone and a creepy letter at my home." His picture was posted on several blogs, leading inevitably to criticism of his haircut, because that's how the Internet works.

Chenoweth's letter was detailed in a Preach It! post from the Ministry, and though we know this isn't traditional "celebrity" news, we're going to follow up briefly with a few quotes from Setoodeh's response, which can be read in full here.

-- "[W]hat all this scrutiny seemed to miss was my essay's point: if an actor of the stature of George Clooney came out of the closet today, would we still accept him as a heterosexual leading man? It's hard to say, because no actor like that exists"

-- "You can disagree with me if you like, but when was the last time you saw a movie starring a gay actor? The point of my essay was not to disparage my own community, but to examine an issue that is being swept under the rug."

-- "Chenoweth's argument that gay youth need gay role models is true, but that's not what I was talking about. I was sharing my honest impression about a play that I saw."

After reading the original article and Setoodeh's response, do you think Chenoweth was off-base or right on target? Or doth the writer protest too much? If an opinion article has to be explained, perhaps the point wasn't made that well in the first place. Then again, maybe the essay's readers were just too simple-minded to follow the arguments.

Let us know what you think in comments.

[Updated, 7:35 p.m.: "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy has written an open letter, posted at, asking for a boycott of Newsweek "until an apology is issued to Sean Hayes and other brave out actors who were cruelly singled out" in the "Straight Jacket" article. Murphy also invited Setoodeh to visit the "Glee" writer's room and set. (Setoodeh has tweeted that he likes the show, on which Chenoweth has guest starred.) ]

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photos: Sean Hayes, left, is gay; George Clooney, right, is straight. But would you buy Clooney as a straight male lead if you suddenly found out he was gay? Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh says he doesn't know the answer to that question. Credits: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images, left; Matt Sayles / Associated Press, right 

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