Last week, Heroes co-EP Bryan Fuller said in an interview that the character of Zach (actor Thomas Dekker) was supposed to have come out as a gay teen, but that his management, concerned that it might affect his casting as young John Connor in a Terminator TV series, balked at the prospect and pulled him from the show. A Defamer reader forwarded us Dekker's own response to the controversy, posted in a MySpace bulletin. An excerpt:
I would like it to be known by everyone, that I have played a gay character three times before in my career, one when I was twelve (which is on youtube), one when I was fifteen, and another when I was seventeen. I, nor my management have ever had any kind of problem with creating a gay character...What transpired on heroes is something far more complicated than anyone being "afraid" to make Zach homosexual.
Some of Dekker's earlier gay character work is indeed available on YouTube, including this episode of short-lived Darren Star comedy Grosse Pointe, in which he plays a flaming pre-pubescent who wins a date with the show-within-the-show's resident heartthrob (the money shots are at 2:27 and 3:45), and this musical number from 7th Heaven in which he's flipped by soft-shoeing baseball players, all the while bringing to mind a young Sanjaya Malakar. We've reprinted the whole bulletin after the jump, so you can decide for yourself whether you'd like to thank Bryan Fuller or Dekker for the MySpace add.
"The Truth about Heroes"
Hello everyone, this is Thomas. First of all, I would like to thank everyone for all their messages and comments on my page. For those of you interested in my music, I am in the middle of working in the studio on my second album right now, and your support is especially appreciated at this time. For those of you who have sent me messages regarding heroes, and more importantly "the gay controversy", I hope my words of explanation will not fall on deaf ears or hearts. I am truly sorry for what transpired on the series and who it has effected. I have been shown a lot of, to be blunt, hate mail directed at me and my manager for the way the character of Zach played out. I would like it to be known by everyone, that I have played a gay character three times before in my career, one when I was twelve (which is on youtube), one when I was fifteen, and another when I was seventeen. I, nor my management have ever had any kind of problem with creating a gay character. To me acting is about being prepared to play all kinds of roles and it is an honor and a challenge to portray ANYTHING that comes my way. What transpired on heroes is something far more complicated than anyone being "afraid" to make Zach homosexual. The character that I created in the beginning of the show, a process I take very seriously, was based on Zach being an outcast who had a burning love for Claire, a crush that drew him to her and effected every ounce of his self esteem around her. I created the character that way because it was WRITTEN IN THE ORIGINAL SCRIPT that he was in love with Claire. Please do remember, I was never under contract with heroes. I was hired per episode, and was not informed in the beginning of the series, of any planned character arc, because I was told there wasnt one. What ensued later was a combination of miscommunication, confusion, surprise and last minute desicions, not a knee jerk reaction from me or my team. Lastly, I want to make it VERY clear that me leaving Heroes has NOTHING to do with this "gay controversy". You will notice, I filmed five or so more episodes after the situation, and only at that point, months later, did I even begin to audition for Sarah Connor Chronicles. Only then, once I got the part of John, was I not permitted to do any more episodes of Heroes. That's just how television networks work. I write this because I believe it is only fair, that you know what actually happened and how, and not what you are being told in other areas of information. mis-information. I would love at some point in the future to play a gay character, that I was aware was intended to be gay, that I had a chance to know, and a chance to really infuse with the performance that THAT character would deserve. Thank you for your time, your support, and to those that this situation has hurt, I, and everyone affiliated with the series are truly sorry.