BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Wilson Cruz -- the gay movie, theater and TV actor who came out before he entered show business -- excitedly took to Facebook just after Jodie Foster gave her Golden Globes acceptance speech:
'I'm glad that Jodie Foster thinks that coming out publicly is no big deal and that you don't have to do interviews and make a big deal about it," he wrote. "She's right...TODAY, you MAY NOT HAVE TO, but there was a time, not too long ago, that it was an act of PRIDE, it was ACTIVISM, to proclaim your truth in order to shed light and, sometimes, save lives."
Cruz ended his late Sunday post with an expletive to Foster: "Fuck you."
Moments later, he calmed down a bit and took down the post.
"I thought the tone of it was rude. I thought I was being rude," Cruz, 39, told The Miami Herald on Monday. "It was my -- slash -- reaction. I have to remember that I’m not just talking for myself in this job anymore."
Last September, Cruz became strategic giving officer at GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"When one of the most critically-praised actresses speaks about her identity and relationships on one of the largest stages in the world, it shows just how much the tide has turned. Given Jodie Foster's lifetime of achievements, this is a significant moment for LGBT visibility. As more and more high-profile LGBT people like Jodie speak openly, those who do not accept LGBT people will continue to fall behind the times," Herndon said.
Cruz says he might not have removed his Facebook comment if he hadn't ended with the expletive.
"My feelings on it haven’t changed very much. I voiced them in an inappropriate way. I took it down because I wanted to think about it more," he said.
Whether she wanted to be or not, Foster on Monday became a lighting rod for discussion by LGBT personalities, activists and allies.
- Blogger Andrew Sullivan: "What unadulterated bullshit."
- Ricky Martin: "Jody Foster On your terms. Its your time! Not before nor after. Its when it feels right!"
- Writer and comedian Bruce Vilanch: "it's so disappointing that jodie foster still has so much internalized self-hatred."
- Comedienne Kathy Griffin: "I'm a big
#JodieFoster fan, especially 2nite. Her speech tells LGBT youth: America has evolved, b proud of who u are!!"
- Broadway's Harvey Fierstein: "Trying desperately to be fair to JODI FOSTER, but what she did last night by standing in front of millions of people and being too ashamed to say the word lesbian or gay sent the message that being gay is something of which to be ashamed."
Cruz's "visceral reaction" to Foster's speech came because he feared that "she was being dismissive of people who came out in the past."
"Fifteen or 20 years ago, it was an act of advocacy. It was an act of activism. It was a response to the lies being told about who we are and who we loved," he said. "Clearly times have changed and they’ve changed for a reason."
Cruz specifically points to Fierstein, who became a Broadway sensation in 1982 starring in his groundbreaking play, Torch Song Trilogy.
"When I see Harvey Fierstein, the first thing I do is run up and give him a hug and say thank you."
Winning a Tony the next year, Fierstein made awards show history when he thanked his lover at the time.
Thirty years later, Foster's Golden Globes appearance was more ambiguous. She mentioned her ex-partner and their children, but never said the words gay or lesbian.
"She clearly was talking about that she had a partner and they’re no longer together. We can’t hand-feed peoples' language, said Cruz, adding that he admires Foster for never publicly pretending about her sexuality.
"She didn’t lie about it. She didn’t go around with a cute boy toy at any time in her career and that’s something to be commended, as well. People come out in due time," he said. "At least she didn't go to her deathbed with it.
"All I wanted was more of an acknowledgement of that. And not be so dismissive of people who risked their lives."