AceShowbiz - Michael Cimino, who is straight, has spoken about the hate speech he received for playing a gay character. In his new interview, the actor famous for his portrayal of Victor in "Love, Victor" revealed that he even got some "death threats."
"I've definitely had some criticism from the LGBT community for being in the role… I've had death threats, which is horrible," the 21-year-old actor opened up in a new interview with Attitude. However, he pointed out that "the show is important" to him. He went on to add, "The messages of hate -- I came into it knowing that would happen, regardless of how good I was."
Michael continued, "But there are some straight actors who play gay characters, who are all about supporting LGBT rights while they're promoting their project, but once they're done, a year later, it's kind of forgotten." The "Annabelle Comes Home" actor elaborated further, "That's not how [to] be an ally, that's not how you support LGBT rights. If you're not an actual ally, then what are you doing?"
Michael also told the magazine, "Honestly, it wasn't really a thought in my circle not to even play these characters." He confessed, "I got some homophobic comments. I kind of expected that to happen. I didn't expect it from my own family members, though."
Adding more details, Michael recalled, "Some of them reached out, saying, 'You used to be so cool, now you're so gay.' I chalk it up to ignorance. People have that programming and they often don't have to evolve and try to push past that." The "Shangri-La Suite" actor went on to note, "There's nothing wrong with being gay. That ignorance is often something that's been passed on from generations prior. I always approach that [by saying], 'These are normal people that are struggling and they shouldn't have to struggle.' "
"I've been advised that you shouldn't play gay roles, especially [for] your first big role. 'Everyone will think you're gay' or 'You won't be able to book anything,' 'You'll never be able to build a fan base,' " Michael reflected. The Hulu star then stressed, "I'm not a traditional 'masculine' man, so that would be people trying to force me into something I'm not. Here I am playing a gay role that might not be considered masculine in an outdated idea of what masculinity is."
In fact, Michael declared that he will continue to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights even after he finished portraying Victor. "It's an honor to play Victor, and a big responsibility. I went in with the pure intent to represent that correctly," he said. "I held myself to a really high standard to make sure everyone going through this story felt represented by the show."