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Dustin Lance Black on closeted gay actors who mislead: ‘I have no respect for someone who lies about their sexuality’

Dustin Lance Black on closeted gay actors who mislead: ‘I have no respect for someone who lies about their sexuality’

Screenwriter and producer Dustin Lance Black

Dustin Lance Black may understand the business reasons why gay A-list actors remain closeted but he has strong feelings about those who are blatantly dishonest.

‘I have no respect for someone who lies about their sexuality,’ he says in the new issue of Attitude.

‘At the very least say “no comment,” just keep your personal life personal. But if you’re going to closet yourself, that sends a negative message.’

Oscar winning screenwriter Black has never had any openly gay A-list actors portray any of the main roles in films he’d written.

Straight actors Sean Penn and James Franco were among those who played gay roles in Milk.

Then in J. Edgar, Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer played closeted gay characters.

Black, whose miniseries We Shall Rise premieres in March on ABC, blames the institutional homophobia mostly on agents and managers who don’t want to risk their star’s earning potential.

‘I’ve never encountered homophobia in casting from the studios or networks, not once, not ever,’ he says .

‘Where you encounter it is with the agents and the managers, they’re the ones who have an outdated notion of the price an actor might pay if it’s discovered that they’re LGBTQ… often they don’t want to see anything happen that might compromise their investment.’

Black thinks this hurts the actor personally and professionally.

‘I think they cripple their actors because they stunt the star’s ability to be open and honest, and an audience can feel that.’

** Headline has been updated to make clear Black is speaking about closeted gay actors who intentionally mislead the public about their sexuality.