'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy pens another open letter; says he's spoken to author of 'Newsweek' article (exclusive)

Ryan-Murphy-GleeImage Credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage.comTwo days after penning a letter calling for the boycott of Newsweek following their publication of Ramin Setoodeh’s controversial “Straight Jacket” article, Glee creator Ryan Murphy has written another open letter — exclusive to EW — that states Setoodeh has taken him up on his offer to meet with Murphy and Glee‘s writers to observe the show’s creative process. Read the letter in its entirety after the jump.

I want to issue a personal thank you to GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, writer/director Dustin Lance Black and countless others who have joined me in condemning Newsweek magazine and asking for an apology for their recent article ‘Straight Jacket,’ a hurtful bigoted diatribe in which they basically asserted that gay actors should not play straight roles because they are not “believable.” So far, Newsweek magazine has declined to issue an apology, other than to say they are big fans of the show I co-created, Glee — even the straight dudes around the Newsweek offices. I say thanks for your support, however glib, and continue — with many others offended by the article — to wait for a more substantial articulate response.

But in better more constructive news: Ramin Setoodeh, the author of the article, reached out to me today and accepted my offer to sit with myself and the writers of Glee — Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan — to discuss not only why we found the piece so offensive, but also to observe our creative process and see how we construct a TV show dedicated exclusively to the idea of inclusiveness and acceptance for all — ideas solely absent in his ‘Straight Jacket’ article.

Along with inviting him into our Glee writers room, I will also let him observe our casting process…so he can witness first hand — and speak to — actors who audition for our show and who are already series regulars — actors who are encouraged to read for ALL roles, no matter what their sexual orientation, color or gender. Who cares who you are or who you sleep with — men, women, sheep — frankly, it’s none of our business or concern. The actor with the best audition should get the part. On Glee, straight actors play gay roles, gay actors play straight roles and no one is discriminated against. I hope observing this process firsthand — and talking with our cast — will be illuminating to Mr. Setoodeh, and inform his future journalistic endeavors.

In my telephone conversation with him, Mr. Setoodeh mentioned how he feels cornered, misunderstood and unfairly attacked. I look forward to hearing his reasons for writing the article, and will of course listen with an open heart and mind. Vicious anonymous attacks — which Mr. Setoodeh feels he has been subjected to over the past two days — aren’t cool or acceptable, and get us no where. What DOES move the ball forward is education and a fair and open dialogue, and I want Mr. Setoodeh to know that all of us at Glee are committed to that, and encourage it.

Ryan

Comments (145 total) Add your comment
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  • PJ

    What’s the point of sending a letter to EW? As much as Ryan Murphy is offended by this, he seems to be loving the attention.

    • Me

      And the author of the original piece isn’t? whinning about being a victim and misunderstood and yet wanting his trip to Hollywood to watch Glee filmed in hopes of getting the same actor he trashed to kiss up to me. He is also in this for attention.

    • Rich

      agreed

    • Maggie

      There has been great public outrage about the article. Murphy called for a boycott of Newsweek. He’s just letting the interested public, many of whom posted here at EW, know about his contact with Newsweek and the author.

      • Brett

        If you think Ryan Murphy isn’t actively seeking the publicity that this “controversy” is generating for his show, you’re mistaken.

    • Ben

      He sent the letter to EW because EW has become his bitch — it’s the conduit for his incessant whining. I totally disagree with the thesis of the original article, but come on already. Can’t we talk about Leno and Conan?

    • anna

      I agree.

      • J.P.

        Ryan Murphy perpetuates gay stereotypes. Look at the characters featured in practically all of his work from Nip/Tuck to Glee. As his target audience, rarely do I feel any relation to his cookie-cutter gay characters. This guy needs to get off his high horse! I would love an apology from him! I’m just glad he’s realized a boycott doesn’t fall in line with his idea of “inclusiveness”, I hope Sedooteh gets a chance to untwist his words and show he isn’t homophobic, something I concluded quite sometime ago.

  • wakeforce

    Exactly which straight actor plays gay? I’ve been watching the show since the very first episode. I doubt Chris Cofer is actually straight.

    • Doug

      He’s not, according to Wikipedia he’s “openly gay.”

    • Julie

      Stephen Tobolowsky, a straight and married actor, plays Sandy Ryerson who is a gay character on the show.

      • Ceballos

        Sandy’s gay?! What about his “long-distance girlfriend in Cleveland”?

      • Suzanne

        you’re kidding, right? That’s the joke. It’s a way to hide in the closet to claim a paramour who’s “away.”

      • mary q contrary

        C’mon Suzanne. Get with the picture.

      • wakeforce

        He’s such a minor character I forgot all about him.

      • Ceballos

        Suzanne-
        For the record…yeah, I was kidding.

        Oh well, at least mary q understands me.

    • Amy

      Using the term “gay” somewhat loosely, and not actually knowing the actors’ sexual orientations, both Heather Morris (Brittany) and Naya Rivera (Santana) have played “gay” – several innuendos that the two characters have hooked up throughout the series thus far. And we don’t know the sexual orientations of every actor/actress, either. Nor does it matter. The whole point is that it’s _acting_ and the truth is that the actor’s sexual orientation really doesn’t matter.

      • Nicole

        Whoa – Amy, clearly we’re sharing a brain tonight! :)

      • Suzanne

        You don’t have to look that hard. It’s the Stephen Tobolowsky character, as Julie, above, said.

    • Nicole

      I thought about this for a minute too, but he could be referring to Heather Morris and Naya Rivera who play Brittany and Santana. While their characters definitely date and sleep with boys, they’ve also established that there is a sexual relationship between the two girls, so they’re at least playing bisexual characters. Although, I have no idea whether they’re gay or straight in real life, but you know what I’m saying.

    • Whivit

      Naya Rivera and Heather Morris play Brittany and Santana, who seem to be a bi relationship with each other.

    • Libby77

      Jane Lynch is gay and plays a straight woman on the show.

      • mary q contrary

        Jonathon Groff and Jane Lynch are both filling that role, but gay playing straight has already been discussed. They’re discussing who’s straight and playing gay.

      • Kieran

        Check out the movie “A Mighty Wind” and see Jane Lynch play a ex-porn star married to John Michael Higgins’ character. She and Higgins are very believable as a couple — and they are hilarious.

      • Juuust a little outside

        The look on his face as she says with some pride how she used to do stuff that the other girls didn’t is hilarious.

    • Wayne Newton

      Eric McCormack played Will on Will and Grace he is straight and many other actors have done the same.

      • chris

        Tom Hanks and Antonio Banderas in Philadelphia. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Greg Kinnear in As Good As It Gets. Billy Crystal in “Soap”. The list goes on.

      • ChinaDoll

        You are right….you have a lot of straight actors playing gay and gay playing straight….that is why it is called ACTING…the premise is to have people not play what they actually are…they want them to play against the grain….I worked with Susan Lucci on AMC and she always back in the day played a B#$ch…but she was the nicest individual that you would ever want to meet. And Wayne…I worked with you in Las Vegas and every character that you have played in movies is a “BADASS EVIL PERSON” and you are really a TEDDYBEAR….so I know that every character is not what they portray on stage or in front of a camera……most of my male friends are “gay” why? Because STRAIGHT MEN are afraid of a strong woman and therefore they stay away from us…..watch the show and enjoy the music….I LOVE GLEE and the fact that they show bullying, backstabbing and hatefulness and that is just with the teachers!!! God Bless, ChinaDoll

    • JJ

      I don’t think observing one of the more prominently gay shows on TV today really helps. I think he was attacking more of the traditional shows.

      • Marshall

        Eat More Chicken is a brand new, LGBT friendly caasul and raiding guild for people with jobs, school, and families. We enjoy playing WoW, but realize that other things are more important. We want to experience all the game has to offer, but don’t want to schedule our lives around it.We’re on the Horde side on US-Smolderthorn PVP server.The guild was created by my boyfriend and I who had been playing and raiding since vanilla. We’ve done hardcore raiding , but at this point in our lives we cannot commit the hours per week required by most hardcore raiding guilds. However, the game too has changed to allow a caasul, laid-back approach while still being able to complete all the content.We currently have 4 bank tabs and ventrilo and the guild pays for your repairs. There is also an abundance of items in the bank available to help with leveling your toon. Any level is welcome Send a tell to anyone on for an invite or visit our website to fill out an app. cheers!

    • Zeeshan

      Jane Lynch is gay and plays straight. And she is so not a minor character

    • Stephanie

      Jane Lynch is openly gay and plays straight Sue Sylvester…damn well, I might add.

      • Kieran

        “I checked out of this conversation a minute ago.”

        There have been so many times when I wish I had the guts to say something like that. The “Glee” writers are great, and Jane Lynch is so cool.

    • Leah

      What about Santana and Britney? lol

  • Natalie

    He didn’t. It’s an open letter.

    • a

      What part of “exclusive to EW” do you not understand?

      • Hannah

        Well, it has to be published somewhere in order for it to be public. Jeez.

      • mary q contrary

        Geez, a. Lay off the hatorade. Find an outlet for all that anger, or one day you’re gonna snap. Oh, and by ‘find an outlet’, I don’t mean let it out here.

      • a

        Bite me, mary. Ah… I feel better already.

      • Wayne Newton

        what party of nasty do you understnd, all of it i see

      • Wayne Newton

        If I bite you B–ch you’ll get rabies and die

      • a

        I’m sick to death of people correcting others in that finger-waggy, hall-monitor kind of way – especially when they can’t even be bothered to be right about what they’re correcting someone on. As PJ correctly inferred, a letter written and distributed as “exclusive” to one magazine is not exactly an “open” letter.

      • Wayne Newton

        I am sick to death of a and her uncalled for attitude. Congratulations..you are th emost superior of all gleeks..your life is complete.

      • Cee

        An “open” letter just means a letter addressed to no one in particular/everyone, versus a traditional letter which has a specific recipient in mind. It has nothing to do with being exclusive to anyone.

  • Ed

    EW should be writing about Aaron Sorkin’s article in The Huffington Post. It gave some smart, spot-on commentary on the situation.

    • Travis

      A lot of that has to do with Aaron Sorkin being the smartest man alive.

      • HIro Kitty

        Is that why he keeps getting caught with drugs? Because he’s so smart?

      • Johnification

        No, that’s because he has an addiction, seeks to overcome it, and relapses. Human weakness has very little to do with intelligence or talent.

    • DFSF

      Sorkin made some good points but he sabotaged his credibility with a dose of clueless, hothouse Hollywood elitism.

      • Rebecca

        Example, please?

      • DFSF

        “don’t boycott Newsweek… Boycott the red carpet instead.”
        “Boycott In Touch and Us Weekly and Brangelina Daily and every other piece of crap that makes us feel like we’re all sitting under hairdryers.”
        You think Mr. Sorkin was complaining about the wallpaper of publicity we were subjected to for his precious Studio 60?

      • Rebecca

        I respectfully disagree with you on this one. Publicity for a show is one thing, but Touch, Us Weekly, etc don’t publicize shows; they publicize the celebrity. And we should stop buying those magazines (and celebrities should stop talking to those magazines). I didn’t get any “clueless, hothouse Hollywood elitism” at all.

    • Clint

      Sorkin’s article was neither spot-on nor smart. His claim that outspoken homophobes, gay bashers, and sign-holders are the TRUE enemy only obscures the very real damage that subtler forms of bigotry (like that seen in the Newsweek article) can do. Yes, I’d rather try to reason with Ramin Setoodeh than Fred Phelps, but that doesn’t mean that Setoodeh hasn’t (in this article and in others) put forth some incredibly hurtful and damaging arguments. Sorkin’s red herring argument only seeks to draw attention away from the quieter forms of hatred that continue to keep the closet well inhabited.

      • kate

        I completely agree. It’s like institutionalized racism – there are definitely people who think that because it’s inappropriate to drop an n-bomb, racism is no longer a problem. It’s the subtle messages we’re sent that influence more than the overt, because we often don’t recognize it for what it is. At least, that’s my opinion. I agree that tackling the subtle forms is just as important as addressing the sign-holders.

  • Sam

    Okay, I was mad about this article for about five minutes, then I got over it. Ryan Murphy, I love you and Glee to death, but I’m so sick of you making martyrs out of the gay community. Your indignation paints us to be petty and immature. You’re making a big deal about something that should have been laughed off as ridiculous. I’ve lost a lot of respect for you in the last few days.

    • Ceballos

      Although I wouldn’t go around telling Ryan Murphy exactly how indignant he should be, I think you bring up an excellent point in that this whole back and forth is getting to be a bit much.

      I’m only saying that because of my personal reaction to Setoodeh’s article, which was that it was pretty much the most ridiculous thing I’d heard of. The idea that gay actors can’t play straight is so absurd and so laughable that an all-out assault/defense isn’t even necessary. The guy hangs himself with his own ridiculous argument.

      I understand why Murphy felt the need to stand up for his guy and for his show, but I don’t love that he’s continuing to make this a thing, because it’s so ridiculous that it doesn’t deserve to be a thing.

      • kate

        Oh, if only all were as enlightened as you! I know that comes across as douchey, but I genuinely mean it. I think your reaction is absolutely how people should take it. I guess I just don’t trust that people in general saw it that way. Hope they did!

    • Joe

      Martyrs? No, gays are not asking to be put to death for the greater cause. Find another word.

      Oh, you meant suffering? Not by choice. That’s an external pressure, not a character trait as in a martyr.

    • RS

      i think what ryan murphy is doing acutally IS mature. he’s not sniping at the author; he’s trying to create a thoughtful discussion from, as you called it, a “ridiculous” article. i’m not sure why you would lose respect for someone for doing that. but that, of course, is your prerogative.

    • @Joe

      A martyr doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who dies for their sacrifice. It can also mean a person who is just plain suffering for it, a victim if you will.

    • Darien

      @Sam and Ceballos – how “ridiculous” would it be if someone had written an article about how black actors aren’t
      “believable” in certain roles? I get that the back and forth grows silly after a while, but if Newsweek hadn’t responded with their glibly smug “even the straight guys like your show” he would have let it go. I liken Newsweek’s response to the big dumb locker room jock who doesn’t get it why the little nerdy guys don’t like wedgies. It’s only a ridiculous joke if you’re not the one who has to live through the ridicule. I agree with RS. There’s nothing wrong with opening a dialogue, or with expecting Setoodeh to intelligently defend his article.

      • Lauren

        You’re an a##hole and do NOT try and bogart what black people wnet through for your own agenda dumb prick!! White and gay people don’t care about ANY agenda that doesn’t involve them especially if it’s about blacks so shove that worthless comparison back up your stupid a**!

  • Joel

    Seeing the cast picture above, now I won’t be able to believe that Artie is really a paraplegic because he’s standing up in the group photo!

    • Alia

      And how are we supposed to believe that Sue and Terri are evil incarnate when Jane and Jessalyn run around smiling and hugging people?

      • Ceballos

        I don’t know about you two, but I feel betrayed by the fact that Dianna Agron is not pregnant in real life.

        I don’t see how I can ever find her believable as pregnant Quinn from here on out.

      • MeowMix

        LOL These are great comments.

        I thought the article was asinine, but here’s the deal: It was an opinion piece. What happened to freedom of speech? I was incensed by this article and spoke out against it, but we cannot put publications out of business because they publish an opinion piece that we do not agree with. That’s ridiculous and undermines everything this country is about.

        I think it’s great that Murphy has extended an invitation to the author and hopefully the experience will open his closed mind. But in the meantime, opinions are just opinions. They’re not obligated – no matter how wrong they are (and this opinion was very wrong, no doubt) – to run parallel to our own opinions.

        How hard is this to understand?

        Show the author the truth and move on. Newsweek owes you nothing for exercising the right to publish opinion pieces which do not match our own opinion.

      • Alia

        EXCELLENT point, Ceballos. She should wear that pregnancy padding at all times in order to remain in the closet about being non-pregnant.

      • Alia

        MeowMix, I fully stand behind Newsweek’s right to publish opinions I do not agree with. I would now like to exercise my rights to (a) not buy their product, and (b) refute their argument with lighthearted sarcasm.

      • RS

        meowmix… i think people get confused about what “freedom of speech” means. it means the author can publish his opinion without fear of being punished through legal means. it doesn’t mean other people can’t weigh in with their own opinions or boycott his publication. that would be THEIR right to free speech. boycotting is just capitalism at work — people can put their money wherever they want — or don’t want. no one is censoring him.

  • Alia

    Utterly unrelated: I LOVE Amber Riley’s dress in this photo!

    • laylagalise

      Me too! Every time I see this pic that’s the first thing I think!

  • DFSF

    Murphy’s clearly taking the high road here, but he’s giving Sawtooth way too much credibility by doing so.

  • Travis

    Sleeping with sheep is gross, that’s all I have to say. I’m sorry I’m not as open-minded about that as Mr. Murphy seems to be. *shudder*

    • Alia

      I think you can get parasites and stuff from that, so I think if I were him, I’d be careful about hiring sheeposexuals.

    • Suzanne

      I hated that he put that in his letter. If someone had sex with animals, I would pass judgment on that. I do in fact care and wouldn’t hire them. Mr. Murphy’s exaggeration to make a point, ruined his point.

      • Welliver’s Travels

        His point, I believe, is that it is none of our business what people do in private. And has no bearing on their talent or aptitude for their work.

      • Lala

        I’d pass judgment too if I found out someone was abusing an animal, especially in that manner. I see where he was trying to go with his point, but yeesh, leave the defenseless out of it.

    • Saphron

      Maybe in a few years, we can be so great a society as to say ‘men, women, sheep, little boys…’ I mean, seriously. Don’t include people-animal sex in the picture just to prove a point.

  • Monty

    And by looking at this picture, i realize that none of these actors are in high school. How will I ever find them believeable as members of a high school glee club? AGH!

  • anonymous

    Nice thought. All this means is Setoodeh sees a golden opportunity to milk the experience by writing an exclusive behind-the-scenes article about a popular show. I am not quite so cynical as to say he won’t change his mind…just that I doubt understanding the outrage is his first impulse.

  • Jonathan F.

    I don’t believe Jonathan Groff actually auditioned. Might give Setoodeh some ammo?

  • ismiselisa

    I do believe Jane Lynch is one of the people he references as playing straight. Sue dated that TV hotshot a while back, she also tricked Figgins into thinking he’d slept with her – so they must be of the general opinion that Sue’s straight.

    On that same note, knowing Jane Lynch is a lesbian makes no difference to me at all. I don’t care. She can shag anything she pleases.

    I also had no idea Jonathon Groff was gay. He plays his part well.

    Chris Colfer is another story altogether though, bless him. He’s very camp.

    • Suzanne

      Kind of the point of Kurt though.

  • Trisha

    Only watched 2 eps of GLEE, turned off by the snark, so can’t weigh in on who’s playing what. I don’t agree with Setoodeh’s article for a second – if an actor’s good enough (male or female) they should be convincing in any role. How many actors playing murderers have actually killed someone? (Hopefully none!)

    As far as Ryan Murphy’s response – isn’t it bad enough that bigots of every stripe have always lumped homosexuality in with beastiality – now the gays are using that phrase? I know it’s “just something people say”, but really, don’t add fuel to the already out-of-control fire!

  • Eve

    Wow, that Ryan is one smart guy. Good on him for choosing the high road in a situation that could have easily become all about hate and finger pointing.

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