Jane Lynch on 'Newsweek'/'Glee' controversy: Murphy and Chenoweth 'heroic'

jane-lynchImage Credit: Michael Yarish/FOXGlee creator Ryan Murphy and occasional guest-star Kristin Chenoweth both released statements last week condemning the Newsweek article “Straight Jacket,” which claimed gay actors could not convincingly play straight characters. Murphy then announced that the article’s writer, Ramin Setoodeh, had agreed to visit with Murphy and his Glee writers.

EW spoke with Glee star (and out lesbian) Jane Lynch, who applauded Murphy and Chenoweth’s statements but also believes that Setoodeh is allowed to have his own opinions. “The thing is, actors are actors: You can’t play gay anymore than you can play somebody who’s Catholic,” says Lynch. “Aaron Sorkin wrote a wonderful thing in the Huffington Post. I don’t think you have to slap somebody down for making an opinion that you don’t agree with. But I do think what Kristin and Ryan did was so important, and I’m glad that they said it. It doesn’t mean, ‘Off with [Setoodeh’s] head.’ But I’m very glad, and I thought it was very heroic what the two of them did.”

What do you think of Lynch’s take, PopWatchers? Is Setoodeh entitled to his opinion?

More Glee coverage on EW.com:
Read our Glee recaps

Gallery: 11 laws of the Glee universe

Gallery: 20 outrageous Sue Sylvester quips
Gallery: Sue Sylvester’s Glee style

Comments (123 total) Add your comment
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  • atavanhalen

    who gives a crap. dollhouse was cancelled. fans of this chose the wrong show to support.

    • Connor

      Actually, Glee has nothing to do with it, especially because they’re extremely different shows. They weren’t even on the same night! I love both shows, and I watched both. Glee had nothing to do with Dollhouse being canceled, so don’t wrongly accuse.

    • Andy Bluebear

      Move on, Whedonite. For the love of God, move on.

      • Brooke

        Not all Whedonites agree with that, I’d like to say. I’m a Whedonite through and through, and I don’t blame Glee for the death of Dollhouse.

        I blame Fox, the Friday Night Death Slot, and the fact that networks aren’t smart enough to realize that people are DVRing now and that the Nielsens are about as outdated as TGIF.

        Back on topic: I <3 Jane Lynch.

      • AcaseofGeo

        Jane Lynch is RIGHT and it ECHOES what I said when the hubbub first started. Go back to the original articles and read what I wrote. The writer is allowed to have his opinion, and its not really a homophobic opinion. We often BUT NOT ALWAYS think of an actor’s background and history when seeing them on the screen. A performance can be great but still give the viewer the idea of….”yeah but”.

      • esquirrel

        whedonite, that’s a good one.

    • M.R. in L.A.

      I enjoyed both shows…at least one of them is still on.

    • KRibbons

      hahaha. wow, I was not expecting a Dollhouse reference as the first comment. I miss the the show, but totally unrelated.

    • atavanhalen

      i’m actually just jealous of glee’s success and had re-watched the dollhouse finale. Also i really don’t care about this “controversy.”

      • Nadine

        Were they ever aired on the same night at the same time? Dollhouse was awesome. At least we enjoyed a terrific ending.

    • anonymous

      You made me laugh, at least? Not sure if that was the intent, but…

      • Jerry

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    • DW

      As a huge Joss Whedon fan, I’d much rather see him directing this week’s Glee episode instead of torturing me with more terrible hours of Dollhouse.

      • mary q contrary

        agreed. Dollhouse was crap. Glee is pretty good, most of the time, but I’m still waiting for another Buffy. Not necessarily something similar, but something as good.

      • Angie L

        I agree as well. I tried so hard to like Dollhouse but could never get into it. I really like Glee and like Mary q, am waiting for something like Buffy or Firefly.

    • James Adam

      If you watched every episode of Dollhouse, you would know it was incredible. Don’t judge a show by a few episodes. Glee is fun and cool, but it’s no Dollhouse.

      • atavanhalen

        Was just going to angrily type up exactly what this guy said, but he did it so well and without caps… blood pressure subsiding… ahhhh

      • Brian

        Dollhouse was a waste of time and I saw almost the whole series waiting for the greatness the fans said it was. Never happened. Weldon made a bad show, My Own Worst Enemy with Christian Slater was a better show and that is not saying much.

      • ChrisM

        You are absolutely correct “Glee” is no “Dollhouse” – thank goodness!

    • kmb

      I like Glee but I’d pick Dollhouse over it any day. It may have started out kind of shaky but by the end it was way better than Glee could ever hope to come close to. But that’s just my opinion of course. And just like Jane Lynch said, everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

    • Rob

      Dollhouse FTW!

  • Franco

    Why are we still talking about this? It’s received more attention due to the reaction as opposed to the actual article itself. Although I don’t agree what Ramin wrote, I also believe his article has been misinterpreted, overblown and mis-communicated by individuals who have nothing better going on in their lives. Just drop it.

  • Edmonton Girl

    Well, atavanhalen, I care. I can`t believe it is 2010 and someone could say what this guy said in his column – what a goof. The question is not `Can gays play straight`- it is `can this actor do this role`. Sexuality should be a non issue at this point in time.

    • atavanhalen

      right, because by 2010 we really should have fixed this whole freedom of speech problem…

    • HC

      In your quest to be so “modern,” Edmonton, you must have overlooked the fact that over half of this country still isn’t on the gay bandwagon–myself included.

      “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” Albert Einstein

      • GGG

        HC – Way to use Einstein to support your bigotry.

      • nat

        Touche GGG!
        You don’t have to agree with it HC, but you shouldn’t be allowed to suppress another groups rights because of your beliefs. Doesn’t the declaration of independence say “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. So its just some?

      • atavanhalen

        hey, come on now. I’m on the “bandwagon” but I think GGG and nat are spewing their own variant of bigotry. HC didn’t say anything about ‘suppressing rights’ or inequality.

      • s-k-s

        HC, you do realize that your quote pretty much supports the opposite of your position? Not that I should expect great thinking from someone who resorts to a cheap quote rather than expressing thoughts in a logical manner. …

    • ChrisM

      There really wasn’t anything wrong with what he said – it was the way he said it. There are no A-list (above the title) openly gay actors and most likely won’t be as long as people continue to believe that someone’s sexual orientation is their business. But Setoodeh’s past history of writing of his dislike for effeminate men made this op-ed piece a bit difficult for me to stomach. Seems that Ramin is either very young or has a short memory as it wasn’t very long ago that many people held the same opinion concerning gay journalist such as himself writing serious pieces dealing with anything but gay related topic.

  • ObiHave

    Leave it to Jane to put everything in perspective. Well said. Americans still have the right to their opinions whether we agree. Boycotts,etc are just another form of censorship.
    I happen to think the guy is full of it but legally he can be full of it and say so and all we can do is disagree…thus we have the right to disagree.
    It’s called acting…according to this guy only killers should play killers only; only football players should play football players. Acting is a sham, it’s pretending, it’s fake and we all take that into account. He should look up willing suspension of disbelief.
    The good thing is maybe he can learn something from this…but maybe we all should.

    • D’s Advocate

      I agree with everything you’ve said here, except for “boycotts, etc, are just another form of censorship”…censorship is what the people in power do; boycotts are generally a response to the decisions made by the people in power.

      • thin

        Yeah, I agree. There’s a world of difference between a boycott and censorship.

      • dustin

        While i agree there is a difference between boycott and censorship, one has to also observe the modern reasons for censorship. On the public level, censorship is basically for the protection of our children, just as it always has. But on a private level, many networks enforce thy’re own censorship regulations to avoid outrage, shown through boycotting. So boycotting does hold a great amount of power in the over task of censorship.

      • @dustin

        “On the public level, censorship is basically for the protection of our children, just as it always has.”

        What world are you living in? Censorship has not ‘always’ been about the protection of children. It has mostly been about the government and the church controlling what ideas that they want adult minds exposed to.

    • Jennifer

      I strongly disagree. Boycotts are in no way censorship. He is free to say what he wants and everyone is free to respond however they see fit. There is freedom of speech for not just the newsweek writer, but also all those who disagree with him. Boycotts are a form of speech. It is a way to send a message and as long as no one is forced to boycott, it is individuals expressing their own opinion.

    • bootsycolumbia

      Boycotts are not another form of censorship. A boycott is an effective way of letting an organization know that you don’t agree with its policies and therefore won’t financially support the organization. If I boycott Newsweek because of its decision to print this article, I’m not advocating censoring Newsweek. I’m just saying I won’t be supporting Newsweek by buying the magazine or checking out its website. Other people are welcome to, though.

  • Ed

    I think it’s important to discuss the issues the Newsweek article brings it, but what I do find puzzling is that EW only seems interested to talk about these issues if they are somehow connected to Glee.

    • Danielle

      Well..the Newsweek article did single out “Glee”. So..it’s not surprising that it gets mentioned in most stories about this.

    • s. marie

      well, it is an ENTERTAINMENT magazine…not really a place to talk about the BIG ISSUES, ya know?

  • bruno

    for sure he’s entitled to his opinion (and from the examples he used to support it i hate to say it but i agree with him). casting is casting, gay or straight. it just so happens here that glee cast a high profile love interest character with someone who’s not necessarily selling the “man” equation of the chemistry. no, it doesn’t mean a gay character should never play straight because they can’t, it just means sexuality sometimes shines through, regardless of the role, and casting directors should be aware of it. good for lynch and sorking, who actually seem to have their heads on straight.

  • Jonathan F.

    Lynch is right, and that Huffington Post piece is superb.

    • Ariettty

      I agree. Sorkin addressed the real issue. And just a reminder that actors are ACTING. Does anyone in their right mind think that Jane Lynch in real life is a small-minded, petty, backstabbing b&^$#? Of course not, but she is superb at portraying one. And I am sure that the wonderful Sean Hayes, gives a convincing and remarkable performance on Broadway. If an actor turns in a good performance you believe the role no matter what you know about the actor’s personal life. The very art of movies, theater, and literature is to get wrapped up in the portraits created by the writers and actors.

      • Mia

        Yeah, the only reason he singles out Sean Hayes is because everyone is so used to seeing him for 8 years as Jack McFarland, one of the most flamboyant characters ever on TV…I don’t think this writer can separate the two characters that Hayes plays…it doesn’t mean that he can’t play them both convincingly.

      • Brett

        My point exactly. We’ve never seen Sean Hayes in anything else, and he’s so closely associated with “Just Jack!” that the writer mistook his inability to divorce the actor from the role for a perception that Hayes couldn’t play straight. (Has Hayes ever actually come out, by the way? I remember during the run of “Will & Grace” that he was famously reticent about not discussing his sexuality.)

      • nat

        He finally came out about a month ago.

    • GGG

      @ Brett – He came out on the cover of the Advocate last month… Which makes the writer of the Newsweek article an even bigger jerk – Beat someone down after they just came out. Turd.

  • Jeanne

    There was a good point buried somewhere in the Newsweek article, the problem was it was very badly written. Which speaks more to the quality of Newsweek than anything.

    Some gay actors can play straight better than others. Sean Hayes is not a very good actor, ergo he has trouble pulling off a straight role.

    And before anyone points out that he got a Tony nomination, let me say this: so did Scarlett Johansson.

    • D’s Advocate

      So the real point is that some actors are better than other actors, and gay or straight doesn’t enter into it, right?

    • Brett

      Because Scarlett Johansson gave an outstanding performance.

    • Johnification

      Anyone who actually SAW A View From the Bridge wouldn’t question that woman’s Tony nomination. Apparently for all the crap she puts on the screen, the woman BELONGS on a stage, and that it was a marvelous performance.

  • YBKGirl

    Jane Lynch is just plain awesome. And the Huffington Post article is so important for everyone to read. It gives a fresh new perspective on the “Straight Jacket” article that we all need.

    • Brett

      Well, I would hardly agree with Lynch that Chenoweth and Murphy are “heroic” for their comments. I think we should reserve heroism accolades for people who do something more important than simply issuing press releases or otherwise using their celebrity to voice their opinions about something. They didn’t like the guy’s article. Fine. They’ve said their piece. They haven’t cured cancer, saved any lives, or ensured world peace.

  • Abbey

    Leave it to Jane Lynch and Aaron Sorkin, really.

  • Andy Bluebear

    Jane Lynch is the voice of reason. A much better response to the issue than Murphy and Chenoweth. Respect other people’s opinions, even if you don’t agree with them. She is awesome.

    • Jenny

      That’s a cute sentiment, but personally I will never respect the opinions of neonazi, KKK, terrorist, westboro church, etc. Heck, I don’t even respect 90% of glenn beck’s opinions. But that’s just me. Respect has to be earned. I respect their right to say what they want, but I will never respect their opinions.

      • Jing

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  • DFSF

    Sure, some people’s “opinions” are that Jews should be gassed into extinction, but you won’t see Newsweek publishing that. The last thing gay people need is another reason to go in the closet. Stuff it, Sawtooth.

    • Kermonk

      “Sure, some people’s “opinions” are that Jews should be gassed into extinction, but you won’t see Newsweek publishing that. The last thing gay people need is another reason to go in the closet. Stuff it, Sawtooth.”

      This is just you being a sick freak – thinking like the damn terrorist. You should be ashamed of yourself, you give humans a bad man!

      • GGG

        @Kermonk – Yeah, it’s extreme but the point is correct. Yes people are entitled to their opinions. I mean, who can control what people think? But the point is that the article, with those biggoted opinions, shouldn’t have been printed. Or at least, have a corresponding opinion page with the opposite point of view.

      • Kiki

        I am all for everyone’s freedom of speech and therefore it was fine to publish the piece, but a counterpoint should have been made. Otherwise, Newsweek runs the risk of being seen as supporting a bigoted point of view– which given their response to Murphy seems to actuallY BE their pov. Given that, I only regret cancelling my subscription a few months ago when they published a book review advocating censorship. If only I could cancel my subscription yet again. And given they published a review advocating censorship, I’m not sure they can use the freedom of speech argument on their own behalf.

    • katiemariie

      Ladies and gentlemen, we have Godwin.

  • M.R. in L.A.

    I certainly agree with Jane’s stance. Ultimately what Ramin Setoodeh said was that he’s too prejudice to get past an actor’s homosexuality and fairly watch and judge the performance. Nothing more or less. It’s his fault…his character flaw. Maybe admitting his prejudice is his first step in moving past it.

    A lesser man would probably point out that homophobia coming from an Iranian shouldn’t really be that shocking…but I’ll try to steer clear of such generalizations…

  • TJ. Church

    I agree sexuality is a non-issue, but it’s funny “Glee” stuff gets all the attention; That guy they added from “Spring” is not believable in that part, regardless of sexuality.

    • Woot

      I think he does a pretty good job as a straight dude. The only reason I knew he was gay was because in interviews Lea Michele called him her “best friend.” Not stereotyping, just the way she said it made me think he was probably gay, then wikipedia confirmed it. If I hadn’t seen that interview I probably wouldn’t have guessed. The point is, Jonathan Groff has an amazing singing voice that compliments Lea Michele’s. That’s why he was cast.

      • Adilson

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    • ChrisM

      Personally I think that “Glee’s” Jonathan Groff (Jesse St James) a Broadway performer who is openly gay is totally wrong for the part and it has nothing whatsoever to do with his personal sexual orientation. I think the character was poorly written and the “relationship” even more contrived than many of the “Glee” plot lines – but as importantly I think that Groff, who is 25, is too mature and simply not believable as a high school student. I know that the other actors are in man cases stretching the boundaries of believability between their true age and the age of their character but in most cases, at least to me, it doesn’t seem to be a evident as Groff.

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