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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Screen Actors Guild Responds to “Straight Jacket” Newsweek Article

Los Angeles (May 13, 2010) - On April 26, 2010, Newsweek printed an article entitled “Straight Jacket” in which contributor Ramin Setoodeh contends that audiences do not accept openly gay actors playing straight roles, while offering no proof to support this claim other than his own discomfort. Screen Actors Guild rejects the notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) actors are restricted in the roles they can play.

Intentional or not, Ramin Setoodeh’s wrongheaded argument sends a damaging and false message that we are limited in the roles we are able to play,” said actor Jason Stuart, chair of the SAG National LGBT Actors Committee. “This committee was formed to provide support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender actors so that they no longer need to feel as if they must hide who they are in order to work in this business. Unfortunately, harmful attitudes like those of Setoodeh are used to pressure actors to stay in the closet. Our work is clearly not done and we will continue to fight to end fear within the acting community that being open about who you are means the end of your career. I’m an actor; it’s not who I am but what I can play that counts.”

SAG’s Affirmative Action & Diversity Department and the SAG National LGBT Actors Committee work to support LGBT actors in the workplace. “Screen Actors Guild is committed to supporting all of our members in their pursuit of work in order to attain full inclusion within the industry,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG deputy national executive director and general counsel. “Despite the progress made over the years, our LGBT members face discrimination and harassment as do other historically underrepresented groups and SAG will continue to demand that all performers have equal employment opportunities and insist that qualified individuals are hired regardless of how they may identify.”

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