When Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly said last month that watching an episode of Glee featuring a transgender character might lead to some kids experimenting with their gender identity or sexuality, Grant Gustin immediately took to Twitter to dispute the notion.
The 22-year-old actor, who pays gay villain Sebastian Smythe on the show, tells Gay Star News that he quickly became aware of the show's impact on LGBT kids.
''Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel has had a huge impact in everyone,' he says. 'Any young man who is unsure about his sexuality, Kurt has opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people. So has Darren Criss as Blaine and I'd like to think that Sebastian has done the same.'
Sebastian arrived the show earlier this season as a classmate of Blaine's at the Dalton Academy. He quickly set his sights on Blaine who had just begun a committed relationship with Kurt.
The scheming Sebastian has shown that he will stop at nothing to get what he wants and has caused trouble for lovebirds Kurt and Blaine.
'It's a lot of fun,' Gustin says. 'I'd like to think he's very different than me! We have about the same face and that's it. It's very funny writing and it's a great role. It's really fun to be a part of the show.'
But fans, especially in the beginning, have had trouble separating fact from fiction.
'A lot of the reaction to me was negative at first,' the actor admits. 'But I think it has slowly swung the other way a little bit as people get to know me as Grant Gustin a little bit separately from Sebastian Smythe. Sebastian's not nice, he's not supposed to be liked. If people hate me then I guess I'm doing my job right.'
Prior to being cast on Glee, Gustin played the role of Baby John in the Broadway Revival Tour of West Side Story for a full year. He wrapped up his stage role on a Friday night last September and began work on Glee the next Monday.
'It's been life changing,' he said of his breakthrough television role. 'I'm very grateful for the opportunity. I could never have expected this to be the first big thing to kick-start my career. This series is going to be an iconic thing for decades to come and I think everyone is very aware of that. It's very humbling.'
'Obviously a lot of doors have opened,' he added. 'Hopefully I can stay on the show and continue this journey a little bit.'