Today in celebrity gossip: Two surprising celebrities said some questionable things about gay people, Dennis Rodman has checked into rehab, and Johnny Depp is definitely engaged to Amber Heard.
Just as fish can't feel water, many heterosexuals just can't seem to detect homophobia—and that includes even famous ones. Over the weekend and perhaps due to some strange confluence of cosmic forces, two very prominent (and beloved!) heterosexuals of note have suddenly decided to speak truth to power about gay people. A more studied trend piece is probably more appropriate at this point (because, seriously, WHAT is going on?), but let's at least name some names:
1. The Bachelor's Juan Pablo Galavis, perhaps the most widely beloved Bachelor to date, recently gave an interview in which he suggested that a gay version of The Bachelor would be inappropriate because "I don’t think it is a good example for kids to watch that on TV." When pressed to elaborate he continued:
There's this thing about gay people... it seems to me, and I don't know if I'm mistaken or not... but they're more 'pervert' in a sense. And to me the show would be too strong... too hard to watch.
In his swift retraction, Galavis apologized for having offended gay people (he has gay friends, after all!) and insisted that his use of the word "pervert" was a mistake resulting from his shaky grasp on the English language. But, of course, we knew what he meant: Gay people are too innately sexual to appear on a television show in which a man makes out with several dozen women over the course of a few days. The problem is that Galavis (and presumably people who would defend him in this case) believe that homosexuality is explicitly about sex rather than romance, a belief which is a major cornerstone of general homophobia. Make no mistake: He meant to invoke sexual perversion, because nobody is as obsessed with gay sex as those who are uncomfortable with its existence. Even a modicum of big-picture awareness would reveal that everything from billboards to advertisements to 97% of all movies and TV shows are about straight men getting laid or trying to get laid. Yet gay people are the overly sexualized ones? Galavis might not be intentionally bigoted but he was certainly giving voice to one of the most popular forms of homophobia currently going: That gay people are fine, but their behind-closed-doors behaviors are not. We get it. Loud and clear. [Us Weekly]
2. Then there was One Direction's Liam Payne, widely considered the more thoughtful and grown up of the five lads (when he's not tip-toeing around on building ledges). For some unexplained reason, and just after the controversy about Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson's anti-gay comments to GQ had finally started dying down, Payne tweeted an unsolicited statement of support for the family:
@williebosshog huge love to you/your family huge respect for your business prosperities and the family values you still all behold. big fan— Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) January 18, 2014
Uh, A LOT of people instantly noticed Payne's display of camaraderie with the compatriots of a noted bigot and immediately called him out for it. (Payne then tweeted something vague about not agreeing with everything Robertson has said, but never specified what he didn't agree with.) But unlike Galavis who quickly clarified and/or apologized, Payne went on the offensive, declaring that anyone who criticized him for supporting Robertson's "family values" (which in 2014 America remains a dog-whistle euphemism for anti-gay rhetoric) was either wrong, not a fan, without balls, and/or needing to grow up. Which, fine, Liam Payne is allowed to defend himself by any language he sees fit. But let's close-read the intentions behind that tweet. Why a random tweet of support for a family who's currently under fire for one specific reason? Why now? It reeks of the kind of just-beneath-the-surface homophobia hundreds of thousands of people embraced when they rallied to show their support for Chik-Fil-A while claiming it was a celebration of freedom. Nope, it wasn't. It was straight-up bigotry disguised as something more socially acceptable (the only thing bigots hate more than a particular minority group is being labeled bigots). Payne may not be anti-gay in life, but something deep within him inspired him to support a known homophobe; something deep within him decided to dig in and lash out at rightfully offended gay people (who, after several centuries' worth of institutionalized discrimination, remain a bit touchy on such issues). As Galavis demonstrated, it's usually best for a famous person to apologize, clarify, backtrack, heck, even LIE, about a statement's original meaning, if only to immediately shrug off any whiffs of homophobia. But Payne has opted not to. Message received, Liam Payne! (Save us from this, Harry Styles.) [TMZ]
Speaking of celebrities who have made unfortunate public statements lately: Dennis Rodman! The former professional basketball player has annoyed most of America for the past few months by palling around with murderous North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, going so far as to sing him "Happy Birthday" and give interviews praising the communist leader. But after a recent incident in which Rodman angrily defended his despotic "best friend" to American press, he backtracked and claimed he'd been inebriated during that interview. Well, now he's officially checked into a rehab facility for alcoholism. So uh, sorry, Kim Jong Un. That is one less friend for you to hang out with. But fortunately for Rodman, it's also one less friend for Kim Jong Un to spitefully execute via wild dogs. [Us Weekly]
This next story does not yet involve wild dogs: Johnny Depp is engaged to actress Amber Heard! Rumors first swirled at the Golden Globe Awards where Heard was spotted wearing a dazzling jewel on her ring finger, but an "inside source" has now "confirmed" to Us Weekly that the pair are definitely engaged and have been for a while: "The proposal happened a while ago. She just didn't wear the ring." Meanwhile, Us Weekly dug up an interview with Depp demonstrating that as recently as 2010 he was giving big excuses as to why he never married Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his children: "Marriage is really from soul to soul, heart to heart. You don't need somebody to say, okay you're married." But Depp seems to need that now, though! Congratulations, you pair of lovebirds. [Page Six, Us Weekly]
In the world of celebrity gossip, this is considered nothing less than a heist-of-the-century: Laura Linney has given birth without anybody even knowing she was pregnant! The 49-year-old actress and husband Marc Schauer welcomed a baby boy, Bennett, to this mortal coil last week. According to Us Weekly, Linney hadn't been photographed in public in seven months! Didn't she realize that pregnancy news is like sweet, sweet, heroin to a celeb gossip rag? Does Laura Linney realize that by depriving these e-scandal sheets of their precious baby bump scoops that she's putting tons of hard-working gossipmongers' jobs at risk? Ugh, Laura Linney, only thinking about herself. How truly reprehensible. Congratulations on your news, though, Laura Linney!
Finally, because your day can only be improved by yet another an image of Lupita Nyong'o looking immaculate: Here is the 12 Years a Slave Actress hanging out with Oprah! (Oprah should probably figure out how to spell Nyong'o's last name, though.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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