Matt Wilson, the 29-year-old actor who plays gay character Aaron Brennan on Australian soap opera Neighbours, caused an uproar this week after saying that his character was “specifically designed to act straight and normal.”
Matt Wilson was interviewed on The Wright Stuff TV show, where he was asked whether he ever faced problems for taking the part over a gay actor, given he is straight himself.
At that point, Wilson explained that it’s like saying you should get someone in a wheelchair to play a character in a wheelchair – but things got worse from there.
“I think it’s important that we are expressing it. We specifically designed the character to act straight and act normal. When I say ‘normal’, I mean he’s not like the characters on Modern Family, where they are flamboyant and camp and they walk around tiptoeing.
That creates separation – that’s us and them. It shouldn’t be like that. It should be all equal and no-one should have a problem with that. The way other characters act around my character is that there is never a problem at all.”
Wilson’s unfortunate words were heavily criticized later, for equating being straight with being normal, and seemingly praising gay men who act ‘normal’.
Wilson later took to Twitter to apologise – sort of – for his “bad choice of words.”
Hi guys. Agreed. Choice of words wasn't right and apologies if it comes across as offensive! The message I want to get across (and this is –
— Matt Wilson (@MattyWilson88) June 29, 2017
“The message I want to get across (and this is in support of one of my closest friends as he is having issues coming out) that he [is] sick and tired of people assuming that because his sexuality is different to the guy next to him that they ‘expected him to act different’. This isn’t the case, and shouldn’t be preached on TV.
Once again – apologies for offending you, I trust you can see through this and see we are promoting the same message.”
So please, if you’re gay, or at least if you play one on TV – stop acting different. Or something.
Watch the cringe-worthy part of the interview right here:
— Wayne Dhesi (@WayneDavid81) June 29, 2017