Does Noah Galvin Owe Us All An Apology?
Two days ago, 22-year-old actor Noah Galvin was best (but barely) known for the Dan Savage-produced sitcom The Real O’Neals. Then came the Vulture profile that made him the most polarizing topic on Gay Twitter, pushing Galvin to issue a thorough apology.
Those are the broad strokes. Here are the specifics.
Galvin spoke candidly about the challenges an openly gay actor faces in Hollywood, both personally and professionally. Of Los Angeles’s gay scene he said, “Half of the men are closeted and the other half are just dumb.” The outspoken ingendude complained he’s sometimes considered “too gay” for straight roles, and admits he worries that playing a funny gay teen will pigeonhole him and prematurely end his career. The whole thing reads as unflinchingly frank. But where Galvin inspired ire was when he dropped names and threw shade.
Taking issue with straight actors playing gay characters as stereotypes, he specifically cited Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet, saying:
“I’ve thrown Eric Stonestreet under the bus a solid seven times this week. No, I think as wonderful of an actor as Eric Stonestreet is — I’ve never met him, I assume he’s a wonderful guy — he’s playing a caricature of a caricature of a stereotype of stereotype on Modern Family. And he’s a straight man in real life. And as hilarious as that character is, there’s a lack of authenticity. I think people — especially young gay kids — they can laugh at it, and they can see it as a source of comedy, but like, nothing more than that. And I want Kenny (from The Real O’Neals) to be more than the funny gay kid.”
He also slammed openly gay actor Colton Haynes as “The worst,” calling the Arrow star’s coming out as “fucking pussy bullshit,” explaining:
“That’s like, enough people assume that I sleep with men, so I’m just going to slightly confirm the fact that I’ve sucked a dick or two. That’s not doing anything for the little gays but giving them more masturbation material.”
(You can read Haynes’ response on Instagram.)
But Galvin’s most eyebrow-raising comment concerned X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer. Asked about “an industry network,” he joked:
Bryan Singer likes to invite little boys over to his pool and diddle them in the fucking dark of night. (Laughing).
After this remark sparked headlines boasting words like “accusation” and “bombshell,” Vulture pulled this section from the interview citing “the contentious issue,” meaning the dropped lawsuit that alleged Singer had sexually assaulted then 17-year-old Michael Egan. (You can see the full quote and context screengrabbed at Mic.)
From slamming gay stereotypes on TV, to criticizing straight actors who play them, calling out someone’s coming out, and alleging seedy sexual activity, Galvin got tongues wagging on blogs and Twitter.
Gay Twitter today pic.twitter.com/WVLlPvIWg4— Kevin O'Keeffe (@kevinpokeeffe) June 9, 2016
A public apology was inevitable. Arriving 10 hours after the interview went live, it began by rolling back his comments about Singer:
I sincerely apologize to Bryan Singer for the horrible statement I made about him in the interview I gave to New York Magazine (Vulture’s parent company). My comments were false and unwarranted. It was irresponsible and stupid of me to make those allegations against Bryan, and I deeply regret doing so. I have never been to Bryan’s house, and I admit there is no basis for any of the things I said or implied about Bryan in that interview. I understand now that my statements were not at all funny and have serious implications. I am very sorry and I hope that Bryan and everyone else who read that interview can forgive me for my serious lapse in judgment. I have contacted New York Magazine and the other publications that republished my statements and asked them all to print this retraction and apology.
Regarding Haynes, he said:
“To Colton Haynes and to the LGBTQ youth, especially those who have embraced our show, I have no right to dictate how or when anybody comes out of the closet; I know how difficult and scary the process of coming out can be, and the last thing I would ever want to do is make it scarier. For anyone.”
Even his Stonestreet comments were backpedalled:
“I think Eric Stonestreet is a wonderful actor. I apologize to everyone that I’ve hurt with my comments and understand the damage that has been done.”
Galvin also included the queer community and entertainment industry in his apology, saying:
“The entire interview I gave to Vulture has hurt the LGBTQ community and the industry I feel truly fortunate to be a part of. My only intention was to try and empower and promote honesty, but I fully understand that comments I made were brazen and hurtful.”
I’m disappointed in this apology. For one thing, the whole thing reads as if it was written with Galvin surrounded by a grim panel of Gilliam-esque office drones, each gloweringly determined that he sound resolutely appropriate. For another: do all of these people deserve an apology? Sure some of this is a blatant attempt to put out a bad PR wildfire. And maybe some of his statement is sincere. But do a couple of off-the-cuff remarks really require an apology to the whole of Hollywood and LGBTQA people? No.
What Galvin said was provocative, rude (and possibly suable). But he is speaking as 22-year-old actor who’s elated and cocky about his first brush with fame, and who references forthright activist/social critic Savage as a personal mentor. Galvin was not anointing himself THE representative for the whole LGBTQA community, rolling out a new Ten Commandments on how all queer people are to behave from here into eternity. So let’s treat this interview like what it was: A young man giving us unapologetic insight into his life, thoughts, and experience.
There’s a way to have a productive discussion about the issues raised by Galvin’s interview. But throwing up our hands with an “OH HOW DARE HE” is not the way to go about it. As Galvin said himself in the original profile:
“I’m still figuring out my own bullshit. I’ve got struggles of my own. I don’t have time to be your fucking soothsayer.”
I’m not defending what Galvin said. I’m defending his right to figure out his own bullshit.
Kristy Puchko is really craving tea now.
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