Wentworth Miller has said he is stepping down from hit series Prison Break because he doesn't "want to play a straight character."
The actor, who came out publicly as gay in 2013, has played Michael Scofield on the Fox drama since 2005.
The star took to social media this week to announce his decision in an Instagram post - while also explaining why he homophobic trolls may drive him to turn his comments off.
" I'm out. Of PB. Officially"
"'This is my favorite IG account,' someone wrote in response to a recent post," the 48-year-old explained.
"Thank you. I want you to know I saw that. I see the positive comments and DMs (a lot of them anyway). Affectionate. Supportive. Appreciated (by me).
"Obviously there are comments and DMs I appreciate less. Who are these people? On my page? What backwards-ass, Stone Age values country did they crawl out of? The U.S.
"I won't be disappearing (too many cool things to repost). The ability to comment likely will.
"I'm not concerned for myself. I can't be 'bullied' in this space. I have too much power. 'Delete. Block. Deactivate.' Etc.
"But I take seriously the possibility of queer kids visiting here, recently out of the closet or exploring the idea... I don't want them exposed to bullshit.
"On a related note... I'm out. Of PB. Officially.
"Not bec of static on social media (although that has centered the issue). I just don't want to play straight characters. Their stories have been told (and told).
"So. No more Michael. If you were a fan of the show, hoping for additional seasons... I understand this is disappointing. I'm sorry.
"If you're hot and bothered bec you fell in love with a fictional straight man played by a real gay one...
"That's your work. - W.M."
"Do I want to see more gay parts played by gay actors? Yes"
In a follow up post, Wentworth said: "So many messages of support and encouragement... Thank you. I'm taking it in. I only hope - thru my acting/writing, what I share online - that energy is returned in some way/shape/form...
"I didn't anticipate my previous post going so far, so fast, and I feel motivated to offer a follow-up...
"Am I saying gay actors (gay men, specifically) should only play gay parts? No. I was speaking for myself. At this point in my life/career, it's what feels interesting, inspiring, right.
"That said, do I want to see more gay parts played by gay actors? Yes. It makes a difference performance-wise (IMO), but also bec straight actors playing 'gay' centers straightness. Doesn't matter if they're 'acting' - I still know what I'm looking at. (Does this dynamic exist on a spectrum with porn genres like 'gay-for-pay' and the prioritization/fetishization of straight/'masc' men over gay/'femme' men within the gay community? Conversations for another time.)
"PB was challenging, onscreen and off. Did anyone involved tell me, explicitly, to bury my gayness for the show's sake? No. Had I already received enough messaging from Hollywood/the larger culture/the schools I went to/my family of origin such things go unspoken lest you risk punishment, losing rights/privileges? Yes. One of the ironies of the closet is I became my own jailer. 'Prison Break' indeed. (I've said it before - the universe has a sense of humor.)
"I haven't spent my career on 'Pose' and 'Looking.' Didn't work out that way. What I've done is a lot of action-adventure, and that's come with a diverse fanbase. Within that is a homophobic subgroup and their shit's been washing up on my shore. They dig 'Michael' but have a problem with me. It's got that 'Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin' energy. They'd prefer I keep quiet, dial it down. Don't Remind Them.
"My gayness was largely erased (by me, for starters) in the first decades of my career. It is my want, now, to center it in a way that cannot be missed by myself "or anyone else. - W.M."
Miller has appeared in all five seasons of Prison Break to date.
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