Words: Steve Brown
Gus Kenworthy hits back at criticism after playing straight in American Horror Story: 1984.
The Olympic skier has joined the ninth season of Ryan Murphy’s hit anthology series and has been cast to star as Chet, the love interest of Emma Robert’s Brooke.
After being cast, Gus faced backlash online and many people asked him whether he could even ‘play straight’.
Now, as the first episode of the new season aired this week, Gus has responded to backlash he faced in an essay in ESPN.
He said: “When Ryan [Murphy] announced he’d hired me to play Emma’s boyfriend, he and I both received a lot of negative comments online.
“Some people wanted to know how I was cast as a straight man or if I could play straight. Is that even a question?
“I spent the first 23 years of my life playing a straight man.”
“Every gay man has the experience at some point in his life of pretending to be someone he’s not.
“I knew as a teenager that I was gay, yet I was still sleeping with girls, pretending to be straight, playing this persona I thought I needed to be for my sport.
“The stakes were so high. I remember going to crazy lengths to make people believe I was someone I was not. That’s acting.”
He then opened up about straight actors playing gay roles and argued that it’s more OK for a gay actor to play straight than vice versa.
He continued: “Maybe this sounds unfair, but I feel like it’s much more OK for a gay man to play a straight role than vice versa.
“Most characters are straight. Most shows are about straight people and straight lives and straight dynamics, and if there is a gay character on the show, it’s usually a sidekick.
“Allowing a gay person to play that character does a lot in terms of visibility and breaking down perceptions and stereotypes.”