Kate Winslet said she sadly knows of gay actors in Hollywood hiding their sexuality out of fear they won’t get cast in straight roles.
The actress revealed she knows at least four actors who are fearful of coming out in part due to persistent stigma in the film industry.
“I cannot tell you the number of young actors I know – some well known, some starting out – who are terrified their sexuality will be revealed and that it will stand in the way of their being cast in straight roles, ” she told The Times.
“A well-known actor has just got an American agent and the agent said, ‘I understand you are bisexual. I wouldn’t publicise that.’
“I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. It’s painful.
“Because they fear being found out. And that’s what they say. ‘I don’t want to be found out.’”
Winslet claimed powerful film industry figures still perpetuate a climate of “judgment, discrimination and homophobia” in Hollywood.
She also suggested LGBTIQ people in the film industry need a #MeToo-style movement.
“It’s bad news. Hollywood has to drop that dated crap of, ‘Can he play straight because, apparently, he’s gay?’” she said.
“That should be almost illegal… You would not believe how widespread it is.
“And it can’t just be distilled to the question about gay actors playing gay parts.
“Because actors, in some cases, are choosing not to come out for personal reasons. And it’s nobody’s business. Perhaps privacy. Perhaps conditioning and shame.”
Kate Winslet stars in queer period drama Ammonite
Kate Winslet was speaking following her most recent film Ammonite, in which she plays a queer woman in the 1840s.
Winslet stars as real-life palaeontologist Mary Anning in the film. Anning starts a romantic relationship with Saoirse Ronan’s character Charlotte Murchison, a wealthy woman recovering from illness in Anning’s care.
Though the two women are from different worlds, their unlikely friendship turns into a passionate love affair.
The dramatic love story was helmed by Francis Lee, the writer and director of earlier queer favourite God’s Own Country.
Ammonite faced criticism earlier this year, with relative Barbara Anning claiming the women’s relationship is “pure Hollywood” fiction.
“I do not believe there is any evidence to back up portraying her as a gay woman,” she told the UK’s Telegraph.
But Lee defended the decision on Twitter. He argued culture “routinely ‘straightens'” queer history.
“Given a historical figure where there is no evidence whatsoever of a heterosexual relationship, is it not permissible to view that person within another context?” he wrote.
Ammonite is available to rent or buy in Australia later this month.
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