Ryan Murphy was mocked by TV executives for having a ‘gay voice’.
The Glee and American Horror Story creator has spoken about the homophobia he has faced in the TV industry.
‘I had one meeting with an executive about a script and I showed up at the meeting and he started imitating my voice and sort of making feminine hand gestures, which I don’t have,’ Murphy said on the I Think You’re Interesting podcast.
‘I never thought that my voice was gay until he repeated it back to me, but I literally was stunned into silence. He was just being really, really brutal to me.’
He continued: ‘I was very pained by it. I never understood it. But right from the beginning of my career, interestingly enough, I did feel homophobia and I did feel “No.” And I remember one of my early agents was fired for being gay. This was in the mid-90s if you can imagine.’
He also said it was hard to get LGBTI characters on television.
‘It was really difficult…I don’t really talk about it too much because it really is painful and a lot of these people still have jobs,’ he revealed.
‘But it was really rough because I was a gay kid and I was both popular and persecuted, so I always sort of understood both angles.’
He added: ‘I didn’t dare even start off writing gay characters, but I had sort of outlandish characters in there and I would get notes literally from executives saying, “Can this character dress less gay?” Even if it was like a straight woman.
‘Or, “The language coming out of this character’s mouth seems very flamboyant, which we think is too gay and will offend some of our viewers. Can you take that out?’
‘Then two things happened,’ he added. ‘It just sort of made me mad, so I just sort of leaned into it and, you know, I wrote a bisexual character. I started to write about lesbianism … I had gay characters. I would say, “No. I won’t do it. Why do you want it taken out?”‘