Rupert Everett has claimed the lack of gay athletes and torch bearers in the Olympics reflects how homophobia is still very much present in sport.
The 53-year-old actor, best known for his role in My Best Friend’s Wedding, criticised the lack of gay people that took part in the Games, arguing that the commentators failed to discuss an openly gay person.
Everett said: ‘You listened to the commentary and they would say "this is a mother…this is someone else." But they never said "this is an openly homosexual person."’
Everett, who was promoting the second volume of his memoirs at the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival yesterday (8 October), suggested actors and sportsmen alike often try to hide their sexuality.
‘Sport and showbiz are still very homophobic and it’s strange that no-one has noticed,’ he added.
Clare Balding, a presenter for BBC Sport who is a lesbian, was involved in the torch relay however, casting a shaddow over Everett’s beliefs.
He then went on to blame not just businessmen in Hollywood but also the media for promoting straight relationships and children.
‘If you want to get to the top in Hollywood it’s essential not to be gay,’ he added.
There have been two well-known cases in which sportsmen have come out including Gareth Thomas, the former Wales rugby captain, who hit the headlines in 2009.
Before this was footballer Justin Fashanu, who came out in 1990 but committed suicide eight years later after a 17-year-old boy claimed he had been sexually assaulted by the star.
Everett’s comments follow his controversial outburst last month when he drew criticism from gay rights groups whilst speaking about same-sex parents.
He said in an interview: ‘I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads. Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That’s just my opinion.’
The actor, who came out 20 years ago, has urged others in the industry not to come out for fear of losing work, claiming that in 2009 his homosexuality damaged his career.