Jodie Foster criticizes people who demand she come out, then she does (kinda)

Jodie Foster accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award last night at the Golden Globes, and her speech was, well, different.  The video is below.

She started off making it sound as though she was going to come out as gay, but then ended the build-up by saying, yes, she was…. “single.”

She then proceeded to lecture people who were demanding that she tell more details of her private life. Clearly she meant people who want her to talk about being gay.

It was a bit odd and uncomfortable. But she then made a point that I think has some merit:

Jodie Foster at the Golden GlobesI’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a primetime reality show…. I’m sorry, that’s just not me, it never was and it never will be…. But seriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too would value privacy above all else – privacy. Some day in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was. I have given everything up there from the time that I was three years old, that’s reality show enough don’t you think?

She then went on to mention her “co-parent” and “ex-partner in love,” Cydney Bernard, which certainly counts as coming out.  Albeit somewhat tangentially.  Then again, one could argue that it’s simply more graceful and classy than simply saying, “oh yeah, by the way, I’m gay.”

Here’s the thing. I think the only problem I might fault Foster for is conflating something relevant with something irrelevant. She’s understandably frustrated with the Paparazzi life she has to lead from the age of 3. But is it really the same thing, Entertainment Tonight wanting you to come out because it’s great for ratings, and the gay community wanting you to come out because it’s great for our youth’s future survival?

I think the immediately chorus of confusion and criticism I saw from my gay friends and colleagues online, in response to Foster’s speech, were justified. Scold the paparazzi who want you to come out because they’re bloodsuckers. Don’t scold your own community who has learned over the years that the best way we have of securing our civil rights, and saving gay kids who are at far too high a risk of suicide (and bullying), is by giving them role-models, and giving society yet another “she’s gay? I like her.”

I’ve had a…. what do you call a man-crush a gay guy has for a lesbian?… for Jodie Foster since I was a kid.  So maybe I’m just prone to giving her a break.  I do think that she was somewhat “off” tonight at the Golden Globes.  Maybe someone pestered her about coming out right before the awards.  Who knows.  And I can respect the overwhelming desire for privacy from any movie star, especially one who has sought it since the age of 3.  I just think that perhaps she could have responded, to the legitimate desire of the gay community to publicly welcome her into the fold, with something less than a scold.

Here’s more on my theory on why coming out matters, when I was writing about Nate Silver:

Nate silver

Nate Silver by Randy Stewart.

It matters because it matters. When gay people still are having their civil rights voted on, like some high school popularity contest, and we often lose, then it matters who in famous-land is gay because it puts another face to the “gay menace” and makes it that much less menacing.

It’s long been held that people become more supportive of our civil rights if they know someone gay. And even if (or perhaps even better if) the person is a “celebrity” who you don’t know personally, but perhaps feel even more strongly about than someone you actually know – finding out they’re gay helps to soften any internal opposition you might have.

It also doesn’t hurt, when gay kids are killing themselves because they refuse to believe that it will ever get better, for those same kids to see adult role models who are happy, successful, well-loved and admired, and yes, gay.

So yeah, until it stops mattering that we’re gay, it matters that you’re gay.

Here’s Jodie Foster last night:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agqEuFIQjYs]


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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127 Responses to “Jodie Foster criticizes people who demand she come out, then she does (kinda)”

  1. Sweetie says:

    again, not a rebuttal

  2. Sweetie says:

    that’s not a rebuttal

  3. karmanot says:

    I’m attacking your ideas nitwit. That you take it as a personal attack only highlights your immaturity and narcissism.

  4. karmanot says:

    Bravo! Well said.

  5. karmanot says:

    And your s**t doesn’t stink? Take a deep whiff, evidence is to the contrary.

  6. Sweetie says:

    Pretty platitudes won’t change BS into flowers.

  7. karmanot says:

    Provide proof of exact quote insect.

  8. karmanot says:

    Jodi does and you are not invited.

  9. karmanot says:

    Well, where is the link? I want to read it.

  10. karmanot says:

    What, no response. I thought as much.

  11. VictorGNYC says:

    What a selfish bitch. She chose a career in movies, in which she has had enormous success, all the while denying that she is a lesbian, then talks about privacy for 7 long boring minutes while accepting a totally undeserving award. Who will get it next year, John Travolta? Then the HFPA could rename it the Closet Case Award, there seem to be plenty of them in Hollywood, thanks to the fine example set by Jodie Foster et al.

    I’m fed up with these late blooming closet cases who have practiced denial for most of their adult lives and then expect to be accepted with open arms by the LGBTQIA community (whomever we may be), which often happens because in the words of a poet, we are a peaceful loving people. But I call bullshit when I smell it and her speech stunk.

  12. dula says:

    Does Ellen have a perfume out?

  13. dula says:

    I never said she was brave. If she didn’t want to put her career at risk or deal with the media constantly referencing her sexuality in order to help forward Gay visibility, that was up to her. She never fraudulently tried to appear Straight so I never faulted her for taking the easier path.

  14. Bill_Perdue says:

    Privacy – avoidance of bigotry by remaining closeted – is not something that Foster and others need in order to live. If they come out they’re protected by wealth and position. Others, like Larry King and Sakia Gunn are victims of the unrelenting violence of a society mired in bigotry and violence.

    Coming out is always complex and no one, especially youth, should be hectored or pressured into coming out.

    Clearly coming out is a political decision but it’s also deeply rooted in personal circumstances. How many of us, over the years, have been killed just for coming out? How many tossed out of our homes and onto the streets to face the option of prostitution or starvation? How many of us have been denied an education, decent housing and a good job for being out? How many have been driven to suicide, whether quick of slowly by drugs, booze or barebacking?

    No one should mistake the mores of gay communities for the mores and norms of a society where racism, woman hating, homohating and other forms of bigotry are woven into it’s very fabric. They are not the same.

    That said, her coming out and Obama’s years of bigotry followed by an election eve ‘evolution’ are both testaments to the power of bigotry.

  15. Badgerite says:

    Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop of the Espiscopal Church, who is retiring, was on NPR show Fresh Air with Terry Gross tonight. It was a really good interview. Really good. He was asked to give an invocation at Obama’s first inaugural but not at the main event. Maybe they should consider him for the main invocation this time around. His book, God Believes in Love,Straight Talk About Gay Marriage is one I will have to read.

  16. karmanot says:

    Yep, as I said. She’s not one of us.

  17. karmanot says:

    Oh come on. That’s all you’ve got?

  18. karmanot says:

    “I see it as routine–and to be expected.” So do I and I believe in a Democracy that allows for choice. And, yes, I will always see coming out as extraordinary. What I do find appalling is your disrespect for the history and pioneers that allow you to be an inflexible ideologue.

  19. karmanot says:

    You do realize of course, that ‘those types’ are dead?

  20. karmanot says:

    What are you talking about? What freeloading? You mean raising her family in privacy and protecting them from the media mob?

  21. karmanot says:

    I missed her mocking. Link?

  22. karmanot says:

    I missed that. Give the quote and link.

  23. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No, for you, it’s generational. Now your closet-defending attitude makes perfect sense. You’re living in 1978.

  24. karmanot says:

    It’s not a gay bashing blog,

  25. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Whom Jodie Foster just derisively mocked.

  26. karmanot says:

    Your buttal is off topic.

  27. karmanot says:

    “That’s all there is to it.” Ah, a perfect example of a closed mind.

  28. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Those types deserve OUTING. Not just criticism for nit coming out.

  29. karmanot says:

    Completely wrong, Looking in the mirror?

  30. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No. Go fuck yourself

  31. Skeptical Cicada says:

    And it is very important when these people rear their heads, present gayness as a dark private secret, and mock people who are actually out for the rest of us to loudly object before the straight world starts repeating that garbage and lauding her like some kind of role model, as they’ve already begun doing.

  32. karmanot says:

    I suspect, most of us would agree that coming out is not only an act of courage and essential to building an authentic identity, but an extremely personal decision and not some inflexible or rigid ideology as you insist. And BTW anyone who disagrees with you is not homophobic or a straw man.

  33. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No. She’s had a partner for 20 damn years. Her time to come out without being criticized passed a very long time ago.

  34. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Agreed, particularly when she mocks everyone who, unlike her, is actually out

  35. Skeptical Cicada says:

    If she wanted to hide her lesbianism, she shoukd’t have exploited rights that noncowards won for her while she was freeloading.

  36. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I could not care less how furious an apologist for cowardice is.

  37. karmanot says:

    “The same thing might be said about the words of” Sweetie. Warped is warped

  38. karmanot says:

    yadda yadda

  39. karmanot says:

    “little self-enclosed mirrored bubbles instead’ Ah, like the one you have exhibited here?

  40. karmanot says:

    zero

  41. karmanot says:

    Ah, it’s all about you is it? Pathetic

  42. karmanot says:

    zero

  43. karmanot says:

    We’ll leave the hog to you, sweetie.

  44. karmanot says:

    sourpuss

  45. karmanot says:

    “More homophobic nonsense.” Bullshit as usual from you Ellen is Ms gay face you dumbbell. She has created a great niche for illuminating GLTBQ causes and culture.

  46. karmanot says:

    bullshit

  47. Sweetie says:

    I suppose it depends upon how much it would be an imposition.

  48. Sweetie says:

    Wrong. She owes everyone, including everyone who has come before. No human life is created in a vacuum or lives in one.

  49. Sweetie says:

    That logic would work if people lived in little self-enclosed mirrored bubbles instead of living in groups, in societies.

    Real life doesn’t work your way. We can’t all be Narcissus.

  50. Sweetie says:

    “Let Ellen Degeneres do the cake walk and be Ms. celebrity gay face.”

    More homophobic nonsense.

  51. Sweetie says:

    Normally I wouldn’t invoke Godwin’s, but in this case it fits.

  52. Sweetie says:

    “That may come off as warped to us, and it probably is. But it’s the only thing she knows.”

    The same thing might be said about the words of Maggie Gallagher or Anita Bryant.

    Warped is warped. Illogical is illogical. Homophobic is homophobic.

  53. Sweetie says:

    Illogical. People don’t live in isolation. They live in groups. “It’s no one’s business” is something that people say about things that are bad, that a person wants to be kept secret.

    Your reasoning is homophobic.

  54. Sweetie says:

    What hogwash.

    “I suspect that the unannounced ‘gay’ label was unnecessary because love and acceptance were operating on a more integrated and ‘higher’ level.”

    Are you posting in the right blog?

  55. Sweetie says:

    Attacking me personally is an admission that you have no rebuttal.

  56. Sweetie says:

    Odd. I didn’t realize this is a gay-bashing blog.

  57. Sweetie says:

    Ad hominem noise is not a rebuttal.

  58. Sweetie says:

    When a person accepts the judgment that homosexuality must be hidden, they are accepting it. The closet is acceptance of that judgment and it perpetuates it. That’s all there is to it. People in rather safe conditions like Jodie Foster certainly do not have the same level of excuse for being selfish as someone in Uganda.

  59. Sweetie says:

    What’s disgusting is the refusal to reckon with the severe consequences the “closet” entails. What’s disgusting is the use of straw men to apologize for perpetuating shame.

  60. Sweetie says:

    It’s not complicated. All the excuses are straw men.

  61. Arled Ohara says:

    Not all gay people are meant to be role models or symbols or whatever. She can do what she wants, which is what we all want. If you want to be a role model, come out like its a sunny sunday!

  62. In the Big Scheme, who gives a flying fuck what some celebrity says and does?

  63. Gary Brunton says:

    Her speech was perfect. She doesn’t owe anyone anything. Political correctiness is soo fake.

  64. FLL says:

    Some of the other commenters made the point that Jodie Foster, who adopted children with her ex-partner, has benefited from the efforts of others who were much more open in past decades. That is true because she wouldn’t have been as free to raise her children with a same-sex partner were it not for activists and pioneers. However, I don’t find anything offensive in that. The vast majority of any population group will always benefit from the efforts of a much smaller group of pioneers. I don’t think that’s unusual in any way. The few pioneers were the leaders in earlier decades, and as more and more people benefited from their efforts, more and more people have come out. I don’t take offense at that dynamic, but more importantly, I think that dynamic has been in effect since the beginning of time. You thank the pioneers for their efforts, as you should, and the greater population is healthier as a result of those efforts. Jodie Foster, like the vast majority of any population group, is no activist. No offense taken.

  65. karmanot says:

    Thank you—–couldn’t agree more. I’ve been out for over fifty years and say: For me It’s personal, it’s timing, it’s political, it’s cultural and it’s nobody’s god damn business, unless I make it so or reacting to you making it so.

  66. karmanot says:

    Yep, the ‘OUT’ Nazis are in a swarm today.

  67. FedUp says:

    Furthermore, ironically, it is the likes of all of you that make me remain in the closet. You’re all so much better than those of us who don’t want to come out. We’re cowards. We’re weak. We’re setting bad example for kids. I’m more intimidated by the judgmental gay community than the straight one. Do you ever stop and think that YOU are part of the problem? I’m telling you, you are.

  68. FedUp says:

    I’ve never been more furious at this community. I am so tired of you and the rest, who are far more self-righteous than Ms. Foster. NO ONE owes it to ANYONE to “come out” as gay or anything else. YOU are exactly what Ms. Foster was ranting against. She thanked he ex-partner, not as her way of coming out, but because she had never explicitly done so before. She was getting a lifetime achievement award. She is allowed to say whatever she wants to summarize that lifetime. Get a grip, John and the other whiny voices who think Jodie Foster is such a disappointment.