This image was lost some time after publication.

Many were confounded by the character of Zach on Heroes, the cheerleader's best friend who seemed to be inching out of the closet, but who abruptly disappeared from the series without ever uttering the magic words. After Elton then elicited an official statement from NBC saying he was "not gay," leaving the world scratching their heads at what straight guy would list Priscilla Queen of the Desert as his favorite movie on his fake MySpace page, to say nothing of accompanying the homecoming queen to prom without once ever trying to get all up in her taffeta. Talking to the PopGurls blog, co-EP Bryan Fuller explains the behind-the-scenes power struggle that led to the last minute straightwashing of the popular character:

There was an unfortunate miscommunication and when the script arrived that had the line in it, 'I would take you to homecoming but you have to know that I don't like girls that way.' The actor [Thomas Dekker]'s, manager threatened to pull him from the show because he was up for the John Carter role in The Sarah Connor Chronicles and she didn't want him playing a gay character because it might affect FOX's interest in hiring him. It got really ugly. [...]

I was very upset by it - I was not happy about it at all. There were times I had to avoid talking about it because we didn't want to have a negative reflection on the show. The show's been such a positive experience for so many people, we didn't want to get hung up on the fact that one actor's management felt that it was a career killer for him to play a homosexual which, as a gay man, I found incredibly insulting.

We had episodes planned for him to be in, and she pulled him from the show altogether. So that's why he sort of disappeared.

Whoever this nameless manager was, it remains noteworthy that, even in this post-Brokeback age of greater gays-on-TV openness, so gripped was she by pink panic that she would sooner exercise the "No Gay" clause in her client's contract than risk jeopardizing his burgeoning career by subjecting him to the mark of the Fuchsia Letter.