We're still all trying to figure out whether British actor Ben Whishaw is gay or not and New York magazine isn't helping. They're trying to deflect blame for the hubbub back onto Out magazine. Damn, everyone. Why the drama?
It seemed that actor Ben Whishaw, who doesn't like labels and is currently playing a homosexual character off-Broadway in The Pride, obliquely came out to Out magazine, but then an article in New York assumed that he was straight. The web version of the story was changed to remove his heterosexuality. So, why the change?
In an IM Q&A gay editor Chris Rovzar and gay reporter Mike Vilensky talk about what happened. It seems New York changed the item voluntarily. Vilensky says that his gaydar is thrown off by "super-deep doe-eyes, skinny, hipster Brits in tight sweaters, and accents." After all, that is why God invented the "gay or European?" game in the first place. They then go on about how crazy it is when people assume they're straight. But then the conversation takes a strange turn, and Rovzar seems to say, "well, maybe it's not such a big deal because Out is overstating their case."
If a male star is talking to J-13, he'll talk about how he loves kissing, but not on the first date. Or if he's talking to Maxim he'll talk about how he is an ass man. Or if he's talking to, say, Out, he'll studiously answer romantic queries with vague, double entendres, so that the editors like Aaron Hicklin can tantalize their readers with the thought that one of their most favorite hot actors might actually be available to them. Gay magazine editors can get a whole lot of mileage out of an actor not denying that he's gay.
A very good point, but that doesn't mean that Vilensky should have assumed the actor was gay.
We emailed Hicklin for a response and he said, "I think Whishaw's interview with Out speaks for itself. Obviously I would like it to get exposure-it's a good piece, with a great photo shoot. I just think it was sloppy of New York's writer to assume that Whishaw was straight. It would be remiss of us not to point out his error."
If New York's Whishaw story wasn't pitched to them as "two straight guys playing gay" (which it wasn't) then the reporter should have asked. In this instance the actor's orientation is germane to the story, so even asking someone who is married whether or not he likes a little piece of man meat on the side would seem par for the course. As this whole thing has taught us, it's better to ask a stupid question than to make a stupid assumption in print. It seems Vilensky has learned his lesson, but if he hasn't we will personally take him out behind Anderson Cooper's boyfriend's gay bar and give him a spanking ourselves.
As for Whishaw, he seems to want to have his cock and eat it too, like Rovzar claims. He puts one foot out of the closet for the gays in Out, but is content to slam the door shut for New York. He claims not to like labels, but when he won't even pipe up to correct someone's incorrect assumption he's just perpetuating this whole back and forth about "is he or isn't he?" What are we left with? A bunch of queens on the internet trying to parse his every word digging for uncovered clues like a bunch of 13-year-old girls trying to decipher the Facebook status updates of the cute boy from their geography class. Ben, just tell us already so we can start speculating about the next cute, British actor to come down the pike.