Queer Town has noticed a number of comments, on this blog and others, where people are assuming how things went down on July 12 at the Outfest panel titled “Taking It to the Street: LGBT Directors Get Political,” where openly gay, Emmy-winning director Todd Holland said he advises young, gay actors to “stay in the closet.” We'd like to clear things up.
We attended the panel at Theater 2 of the Directors Guild of America building on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and then broke the story on Monday, July 13. Moderator and openly gay director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, who directed Legally Blonde 2 and later described himself to the audience as a “communist,” started the discussion that lead to Holland's remark. He noted that many gay actors are still closeted, and asked the panel, “We know it's a problem. What can we do?”
Kirby Dick, a straight man and director of Outrage, a documentary
about closeted, gay politicians, first addressed the question. He said
that during his research for Outrage, he also looked into closeted,
gay actors. Through that work, he said he came to the conclusion that
“there is an argument to be made that the Hollywood gay community is
not doing enough in this area.” He added, “There's an unwillingness to take
Todd Holland spoke right after Dick, but
seemed to ignore the filmmaker's observations and addressed Herman-Wurmfeld's question of
“what can we do?” by saying that when young, gay actors ask for his advice on whether or not they should come out in Hollywood, “I say, 'stay in the closet.'”
That was Holland's
response to how things should be fixed in Hollywood — supporting the status quo. Holland, as a result, unwittingly backed up Dick's initial observations that gay Hollywood “is not doing enough” to tear down the gay closet and “there's an unwillingness to take this on.”
Dick responded to Holland's remark, saying, “I know where you're coming from, but it's a regressive argument.” Holland replied that he was just being realistic. Herman-Wurmfeld appeared uncomfortable with where the discussion was heading and quickly ended it by showing a clip of
an unrelated movie.
went out in the theater, the clip was shown, and the
topic was never brought up again.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.