Dear Jodie Foster,
Good to see you at the Golden Globes. Your acceptance speech was not what I’d expected.
Jodie, come out, or don’t come out. Whatever. I’m not that invested either way, and I’m not interested in your being a role model for my gay kids. But please don’t claim that you have been out all along, or come out without acknowledging that you were able to stayin — and be wildly successful — thanks to those whodid come out and then got screwed by the very industry in which you have been wildly successful, or go on about wanting a private life while reaping all the benefits of living as a celebrity, or behave as if privacy were any less important to those of us who have come out, or as if we all came out because we’re press whores.
I know it’s way too much to ask other celebs to stop fawning all over you for your “courage,” because all their brown-nosing makes them feel better about themselves despite having done jack shit about gay equality for decades.
You’ve done many good works (for the Trevor Project, for example), your talent is formidable, and you’ve skillfully navigated the sexist Hollywood boys’ club and become a powerful star and director. And you won that Golden Globe. My beef is not with your unlikely friendship with Mel Gibson or the rambling quality of your speech, nor is it with your decision to stay in, or half in, the closet. And yes, sister, you do look fabulous for 50, and for 40, for that matter, although I might have picked a different dress and hairdo for you to rock. But you were at best insensitive and at worst clueless, self-absorbed and condescending in the way you spoke about the out gay men and women — many of whom are your fans — who are largely responsible for your ability to stay in the closet and become a prosperous, award-winning actor and director. And frankly, masquerading as a straight woman in order to reap the benefits of heterosexuality plays to the worst kind of sexism.
Ultimately, all this is important not because the entertainment industry is intrinsically interesting or essential (and I hope we can now move on to whether John Boehner will or won’t destroy the world economy) but because it is influential, and the high-profile press that covers such stories is unable to analyze the backstory and presents you as — whatever else — indisputably heroic for “coming out,” an idea that your colleagues and the millions who follow the Hollywood press have gobbled up and swallowed without chewing.
You are many good things, which made it all the more infuriating and painful to watch you make a fool of yourself in front of a worldwide audience. I’d have more compassion for you if you hadn’t been so snotty and disdainful while making arguments that could only come from someone who has led a thoroughly sheltered, privileged life. Celebrities are not some sort of oppressed minority, after all.
All the best,
Andrew Miller/Huffington Post