“Yep, I’m Gay… Now Step Off!” Jodie Foster’s Sad, Defensive Coming Out Speech

Jodie FosterWho would’ve guessed that an A-list actress admitting her real age would be a footnote of her awards show acceptance speech? Jodie Foster had bigger things to confess at the Golden Globes… or did she? You’d think with all the years she had to plan her big coming out moment, she would’ve seemed better prepared for it, that she at least would’ve owned it more.

I know we’re in for some kind of Big Gay Debate over what happened tonight and, especially, how it happened. And straight people, for the most part, are going to shrug and say, “What’s the big deal?” or accuse the mean gays of being too rough on Jodie, thus validating her resistance to come out in the first place.

I don’t want to attack Jodie Foster, who I will always think of first as a brilliant actress and filmmaker before I give a rat’s ass about her personal life. I’m not going to judge her reluctance to come out for all those years. Coming out wasn’t easy for me, and I didn’t have 100 million fans to do it to.

But I want to say something to her.

Look, I know it’s really petty and condescending and almost always a lie when you’re having an argument with someone and you say, “I’m not mad. I just feel sorry for you.” Honestly, though, that’s how I feel.

I feel sorry for you, Jodie Foster.

I know celebrities appreciate the Golden Globes as much for their open bar as for their prestige, but for whatever it’s worth, those nice, befuddled foreign press people were trying to tell you how much they like your movies. They were saying, “Hey, in case your money and your fame and all the other awards you’ve won haven’t clued you in, you’re kind of good at what you do, and we’re grateful to have you around.” And then you take their statue made of precious metals and wave it around and start settling scores. I’m sure quite a few of the people who nominated you were backstage warbling, “Que?” and “Porquois?” and however you say “WTF?!” in German.

Nobody told you to do that, Jodie. Instead of giving the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the viewing audience a good anecdote from Taxi Driver or even a spirited defense of The Beaver, you chose to make the moment all about your sexuality. And at the same time, you were saying, “It’s none of your business!” Or something. Maybe it was the open bar, but your point was a bit unclear.

All I know is that you weren’t coming across the way people should in their acceptance speeches for lifetime achievement awards. What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, right. Proud.

You want to keep your private life separate from your filmmaking? Do a damn Advocate interview about the gay stuff and then use the Golden Globes to talk about, I don’t know, movies.

The strangest part of the whole thing was your joke about your publicist being nervous about what you were about to do. Really? Because if your publicist was nervous about anything, I’m guessing it’s that you wouldn’t need her anymore. That’s what it’s like to be open about who you are, especially if you’re as boring as you say. Once it becomes clear that you have nothing to hide, people will stop looking.

Your publicist’s phone is going to ring a lot in the next few weeks, sure, but then it’s going to stop. Eventually, all the calls she makes will be outgoing, the next time you have a movie to promote. You being a lesbian can’t compete with Lindsay Lohan being a total train wreck, especially not in 2013. There’s even a lesbian senator now, you know? You are approximately the 9,438th high-profile lesbian to come out of the closet. Um… congratulations?

Look, you’re a one-in-seven billion type of talent, a totally uniquely gifted person, and I forget sometimes that people I respect as much as you can be sad sometimes. You weren’t just hiding your sexuality all those years. It appears you were hiding a lot of anger, too. I’m sorry to hear that, but honestly, now that you’ve come out, I hope you can let that go.

If you were worried that homophobia would sink your career, I think you’ll find that Hollywood and America love you and always will.

If you were worried that the gay community would shun you because it took you so long to come out, I think you’ll find them swooning over you even more now, whether or not you ever grand marshal a pride parade.

And if you were worried that you wouldn’t win any more awards now that we know this little fact about you, I think you forget how easy it is to win a GLAAD award. Christina Aguilera has one. Seriously.

I still love you, Jodie, and I think you’ll find that admitting your sexuality isn’t some horrific surrender of your privacy, like you seemed to fear. It’s empowering, exhilarating and one hell of a big relief. Take some time now that you’ve made the big announcement, but I guarantee you’ll be glad you did it.

And you know how you can let people know that you’ve made your peace with who you are and how the world sees you? Maybe next time you win an award, you’ll just hold it up and say, “Thank you.”

56 comments on ““Yep, I’m Gay… Now Step Off!” Jodie Foster’s Sad, Defensive Coming Out Speech

  1. I got a feeling – she decided to come out tonight because of a dumb remark someone might have directed at her at the event. What brought me to tears was when she professed her lonliness after she expressed her right and need for privacy..I agree with you — it’s sad that instead of an expression of gratitude she turned the honor into an unnecessary confessional.

    • I think you might be right. It didn’t seem like a moment she had fully prepared for. It was a little too off-the-cuff. Hey, I applaud anyone for coming out under any circumstances, and I’ll always love Jodie. But she deserved to have that moment as a reward for her incredible filmmaking career. Sad that, for whatever reason, her personal life stole the spotlight.

  2. (Warning: Sarcasm Content.) What, Jodie’s gay? No? Perhaps the “Globes” weren’t the time or place. Who knows? Regardless, it could worse. She could have revealed that she’s an alien and eaten the audience. That would have both sucked but been awesome too.

  3. I am probably in danger of having my gay card revoked. I didn’t watch the golden globes tonight. Instead my sons and I watched reruns of LOST. But now I’m going to have to google this speech. I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments here though. And I don’t mean to be crude, but. . . didn’t we already know this, like back during “Silence of the Lambs?” Or maybe that was just my ex bf’s sister who had a complete crush on her. Maybe it was having faced the difficulties I faced when I came out sixteen years ago, but sometimes (Ricky Martin anyone?) I just feel disappointed when they come out long after everyone already knew. I know, it’s been said before–the anti-climax. I’m being petty, but we could have celebrated and been inspired, and Rick and Jodie could have had, well a hell of a lot less stress over the impending controversy, and celebrated with us. It’s like when an aunt says, “Honey, we always knew. I mean, you asked for a Charlie’s Angels doll for your 12th birthday!” I hate to say it, but maybe I just feel like we needed them, and they had it easy. Well, who am I to say? We each had to walk our own path. Welcome, Jodie to a life of nothing else to fear. You’ll settle in soon enough.
    Thanks for letting me ramble.

    • I know a lot of people feel the way you do, but honestly, I don’t think Jodie, Ricky or anyone else “owes” us a coming out. Would it help other gay people? Absolutely. But their life is their life, and they’re free to live it how they want. Jodie has always been very supportive of gay causes, certainly not a hypocrite, so whatever her reasons for staying in the closet, she’s entitled to them.

      I agree so much though with your last sentiment “a life of nothing else to fear”. I really hope she finds some peace now. I always think people should come out, not for what it might do for others, but because it’s such a positive thing to do for yourself.

      • Oh, I agree, Jerry. I should be careful how I word things. It’s not that I have ever felt resentment exactly toward celebrities who have stayed in the closet a long time; it’s not that they owe us, and I would never condone outing someone or pressuring them to come out. That would be heartless to impose the same punishment on them that was dealt to me. And maybe that’s where some of the resentment comes from for people. Maybe it’s just another form of celebrity envy.

        It’s just the waste involved, the anxiety, depression, sadness, fear– for both them and those of us who have looked up to them, who could have benefited also from their honesty. How often we turn to others for inspiration that we should get from within? But I can understand the feelings that are often expressed about this sort of thing.

        Imagine a boy being bullied in school, and then think of him a couple of years later at a bar, meeting the man who had been most popular guy in school, football captain, trophy winner. The former footballer admits to the bullied kid, yeah, I was gay all along. I just didn’t want to come out because it might hurt my chances at a scholarship. I know, school is tough for everyone, but it’s a bit harder to feel bad for him. You do, but it doesn’t come as easily for those who have been in the trenches for so long already. It’s like, gee, thanks. Could have used your help in that fight back at the stadium. Eventually, let’s imagine, they become friends, and understand each other. It just doesn’t happen instantly. You know?

        I really appreciate your writing your view on this. I still haven’t watched it, but since I have this Monday off, I guess I’ll get googling. Have a great day, Jerry!

      • It’s OK. It’s a tricky subject, and a lot of people have been making the argument that celebrities SHOULD come out because of the good it could do for non-famous gays, especially suicidal kids. My feeling about that is that I don’t know what it’s like to be famous and have that kind of pressure on me, so who am I to judge? It’s not like I dealt with my own coming out so elegantly.

        Also, pretty much all celebrities are INSANE. We really shouldn’t make them role models. πŸ™‚

        I totally agree that any time anyone spends in the closet is kind of a waste. On the bright side, it’s getting less and less scary for celebs to come out of the closet now that so many have done it and remained successful. So bravo to Jodie no matter how she went about it. I think she’ll be glad she did, and even if it doesn’t have the same impact it might’ve had 20 years ago, the impact will be felt.

  4. So very, very well said. It breaks my heart that there even has to be a “coming out” period. No person should have to proclaim their sexuality much less feel ashamed. I never had to “come out” as straight. Why should anyone have to as gay? We are all human, feeling, caring beings. Love is love and I know that sounds clichΓ©d but it is a simple truth. I look forward to the day that society learns to see each other as individuals but still at our core, the same.

  5. there’s not a single one of your posts that i haven’t thoroughly enjoyed reading! i love your blog, never stop writing πŸ™‚

  6. Wow. This blog was the first thing I read this morning and I think it was.. way off. I just watched her speech and thought it was wonderful. Why in the world would you feel sorry for her? It sounded like she was having an amazing night, doing exactly what she wanted to do, saying what she wanted to say, and living exactly as she wanted to live. And I didn’t pick up “sad” or “defensive”. More like “emotional-happy” and “amused by the thought that people would be interested in her personal life”

      • I hope so too. I seem to have watched the speech differently from many people. I saw someone glowing with pride (in her work and in her children), and being encouraged by friends in the audience. She was pushing out of her comfort zone a little with this speech, as she’s normally one of the more private celebrities, and clearly there’s some sadness in her life with her mother’s illness. But I didn’t find that those notes of sadness or awkwardness dominated her speech or her demeanor. I grinned through most of it and thought she seemed very much.. herself. And happy to be on that stage and having that moment. She’s Jodie Foster. And that was how Jodie Foster comes out.. and how Jodie Foster accepts a lifetime achievement award. And I’d feel funny saying that, since I don’t know her personally–but I take some cues from her family & friends in the audience who didn’t seem to be sad or distressed or embarrassed for her or feeling sorry for her. They seemed to be responding to what I saw.. Jodie being Jodie and having a special moment. I thought it was nice. πŸ™‚

  7. Whoa! I read this before I read this news this morning and I never watch the Golden Globes, so this was my introduction to Jody’s big confession. Since I didn’t see or hear her coming out party, I can only guess, from your description, that it was rather long, maudlin, and off key.

    I have always admired Jody as an artist. I was slightly disappointed in the way she went about having a baby because, frankly, I feel like there are so many babies without parents out there, that to go through all that fertility business seems like a humongous case of vanity. However, thanks to recent enlightenment from your blog, my stance has softened. And understanding her as a lesbian helps explain her decision to have a baby in the way she did.

    I am glad Jody came out and put an end to the rumors and innuendos that have followed her through the years. Like you, I hope she can toss off the anger and frustration that is undoubtedly a result of having to hide your inner most identity.

    I was surprised by your critique of her public coming out. But you raise a good point about appropriate time and place for such things. Your post leaves me with much to contemplate. And now I’m off to discover how the rest of the world has reacted to Jody’s award, er confession, er whatever. Thanks for giving me new perspectives to chew on.

  8. I tend to agree with Laura. Here is a woman who has been in the public eye since before puberty. I saw the speech as a plea for normalcy in her life. The “coming out” was certainly a part of that but sort of an example of how she hasn’t had the option of doing the things ordinary people do, like coming out at her own time. Everyone already knew she was a lesbian before she had the chance to announce it last night. I agree that her speech was sad, but more as a cautionary tale about celebrity.

  9. Great post…and honestly, I am relieved to hear someone else felt the way I did about it. I saw numerous comments on Facebook proclaiming her speech as things like “flawless.” I silently thought to myself, “Was I missing something? Did we watch the same speech?” I have always loved Jodie Foster, and like you, I came away from that speech feeling a little sad. Sad that she had felt that way for so many years; sad that those feelings seemed to be getting in the way of her ability to celebrate her own accomplishments at that moment; and sad that she will now likely be just as famous for that confusing, disjointed (and frankly, endlessly rambling) speech as she is for her incredible career. Hopefully she is at peace with it and feels better for doing it, because really, how SHE feels about it is all that really matters. It was her moment, not mine.

  10. I always just thought she was gay because when she has her kids there was no Dad in the picture and she was never linked up with any guys….it was nice to see her boys…..good looking kids and looked very proud of their Mom….

  11. I’ll admit it. I haven’t watched any awards shows this year. So I must have missed this. Needless to say, I have spent the last hour looking it up though. All I can think is, Poor Jodie. It does seem as if this may have been a forced thing and that she was deeply worried about how well it would go. I also understand about what you said about feeling sorry for her. I do too. She seemed rather resentful and angry in her speech. She is a wonderful woman and I can only hope for the best for her. Maybe she can find her some peace now.

  12. I loved her speech. It was raw and real and gutsy.

    Yes, I agree that she deserved a moment to just enjoy her long career, but she may have had a lifetime of that- of people telling her that her acting is wonderful. That was not, for whatever reason, the moment she felt she needed to have.

    And she did seem sad and lonely, unguided and messy. Also loved and loving.

    She really let it all hang out. I’d much rather watch that than the scripted thank-you’s. I felt something, I learned something…

    Coming out is really easy for some and really difficult for others. I am glad that there are public examples of both.

    • Good point. It’s not like this is the first time she’s given an award show speech, and maybe she felt dishonest all the other times for not thanking her partner. So it makes sense why this would seem like a good moment for her to address the topic.

    • I think she would have been able to get even more rambling out had she put her thoughts to writing. Maybe a book – in the future. Hope she gets good editors.

  13. Bet she’s sorry today about that rambling confessional to the world. Blame it on the refreshments. We forgive you Jody. Just wish you weren’t so lonely.

  14. Maybe I’m confusing her with someone else, but didn’t she come out like 5 years ago? Or at least say she had a partner if not “I’m gay”? That, at least, was what got me about the whole thing.

  15. Hmm, I don’t know who she is but I like to keep track of gay power-people. Though now I am pleased to know she was in ‘Panic Room’; I still feel a little apprehensive of sleeping alone on days when I suddenly remember that movie.

    And seeing her speech, I was moved. She seemed to own the stage. Defensive, yes. Sad, it wasn’t. Or maybe it is because I am planning the same for my farewell speech in college! πŸ˜€

    • You don’t know who Jodie Foster is? Well, it’s time to brush up on your movie history, my friend. She really has an incredible body of work, and Panic Room is one of the last movies of hers I would recommend.

      Stop what you’re doing right now. Go on Netflix and get yourself Freaky Friday. Not the Lindsay Lohan version. The original.

      You’re welcome.

      • oh I am sorry to say Netflix and I are mutually exclusive worlds. I am sitting in India right now. Freaky Friday you say? I have another movie piled up in my movies-to-watch list.

  16. I’m torn about her speech. I totally agree with you on wishing she could have just accepted her award for her work and really bask in her being honoured by her peers but at the same time…..those are her peers, her community so making that speech then and there kind of makes sense. And not to mention the fact that she obviously had a message to send people, and when was the last time she had an audience as big as the Golden Globes? And will she ever again?
    I did find it way too long and at times confusing but it was moment that was all hers and was specifically focused on her life so I guess she had the right to talk about whatever she wanted, even if it brought a serious note to the huge party that is the Golden Globes.

    • Yeah, I can see reasons why she felt this was the time to do it. It just didn’t end up being the celebration of her career that I think she deserved, and that made it extra sad to me.

      You’re right, though. It was her award and her moment, just like it’s her sexuality. She’s free to handle any of them however she chooses. And like Jodie always is, she was definitely interesting.

  17. I agree with this. We do not have to “come out”. It is the business of nobody else. To me, it does seem as if we are too intrusive. Who invented the phrase anyway?

    • Well, yes, nobody HAS TO come out, but I do highly recommend it. The closet takes a huge emotional toll, and the world is a better place when gay people are visible and open about their lives. Some people’s obsession with privacy regarding their sexual orientation comes out of shame or fear. Privacy is OK, but those other things aren’t.

  18. To me “coming out” is to make a public statement like Jodie. I believe that there should be no secrecy and no lies. Relationships should be acknowledged and no shame should be felt.

  19. I also viewed her speech differently than this. My take was that since it was pretty much assumed that she is a lesbian, even though she hadn’t “come out”, she was sort of being cheeky and poking fun at how obsessed everyone is with the personal lives of celebrities. I was moved by her dedications to her partner and their sons and especially to her mom. Tears… What I’m confused about is… Was she retiring from acting/directing? Or??? Maybe I misread that as well.

  20. Oh, man! What a different way to look at it! I didn’t get that from her speech at all. I didn’t see her coming out as necessary at all. I didn’t think it was sad. It seemed like an authentic, emotional moment. The moment was hers to do what she wanted with it, and I think she did just that. She used it as she saw fit. I don’t think her chosen subject matter stole anything from her moment of glory. She looked happy, even if a bit nervous. She certainly had a lot to say and touch on a lot of things, but all-in-all, I got that she has no regrets about speaking or not speaking on her sexuality, she enjoyed her career, and she has no shame or or regret with the way she lived her private life.
    I find your assessment very interesting though! And apparently you’re not the only one. Go figure! I love how different points of view can be on one thing.

  21. All you have to do is look at speeches past and see how the greats of old did it – with gratitude, class and inspirational words. I know. I spent far too much time watching YouTube videos of previous winners. I do think that there were moments of grace peppered throughout her speech. Everything related to her kids, her ex, her mom was eloquent. But her focus on privacy instead of her experience in film disappointed, and her friendship with Mel Gibson made me want to shower.

  22. Awesome post! It’s funny, I thought that’s what she was trying to say but I wasn’t quite sure. Thanks for clarifying! πŸ˜€ And yes, we all still love Jodie Foster. I know I do, even more!

  23. Being someone, who has had many people choose to come out first with… it didn’t read to me like a coming out. But I haven’t had to come out, so I can’t really say much about it feeling like a coming out.

    It seemed like she wanted to just talk about all of the wonderful experiences she’s had, how she can be honest with all of those wonderful friends who helped to lead her to getting that lifetime achievement award.

    I don’t know if you’ve had any experience in theater, or performance-based things. I did drama, I did debate, and in the end, we were all family. I shared things about myself that I never shared out loud, in a pretty public setting, because I felt safe, and I wanted for my classmates to understand me as well as I understood them with their stories.

    Acting is a weird beast. You share things with audiences that would normally be very private, openly weeping is exalted, rather than shamed, all while pretending to be someone else.

    I think she was being honest. That she wanted people to know her. When she was receiving an award for being herself, she shared what she thought would allow people to understand her. I think she decided that she’s been in this for 47 years and it’s about damn time, to be known.

    I think that was the end she was talking about. The end of being careful, and just being her. I don’t think it was defensive. I think it was her, turning 50, and letting go.

    That’s my 2 cents. Nice Post.
    -Mel AKA Aspiringtobesomeone

    • Thanks for the comment, Mel. One thing that’s clear to me now is that everyone had their own impressions of this speech. I’m not an actor, but I’ve known plenty, and they certainly are a unique breed. I can see how actors might have heard something very different in what Jodie was saying, and perhaps related better.

      • No problem.

        Yeah, went through the comments a bit,,, entirely different ideas… curios how we can all interpret things so different.

        I don’t know, I was probably projecting my own feeling of acceptance through theater onto Jodie… who knows…

        Have fun. Thanks for replying. Your blog is awfully swell.

  24. and that’s the very first post where I do not agree with you,, but that’s fine too,, and the reason is that I believe we should not judge people for the way they choose to talk about very private things in their life,, take me for example,, I had absolutely no issue in stating that I’m a lesbian,, as soon as I figured it out for myself, I made it obvious for the others too,, meaning that I’m not hiding,, I’m not showing off either,, it’s just a normal part of my life and well,, when it comes to love I can easily and openly say that I love a woman,, and than start talking about how amazing she really is,, and she is,, for real,, now, if she didn’t come out from the very beginning, it’s obvious for me she was very afraid to do so,, and maybe she was expecting tones of negative reactions and she got defensive,, all the tension in this huge period of time when she was pretending to be somebody else came out together with the announcement,, I think she was angry on herself for not being stronger, and also on the others for not showing more acceptance,, look at Ellen, she went trough some rough times after coming out,, there is stress I guess in thinking that you might louse your career because of that,, and I think that more you wait to make this statement less courage you have to actually go for it,, again, personally, I could never hide something like that, it doesn’t make me feel strange, inferior or guilty,, but looking at people around me,, I think I’m just very lucky to think like that,, so let’s all move in our own timing so we can really transfuse what we’re doing and make sure it’s a step we are comfortable doing,, in the right moment,,

    • I agree with everything you said. I think you missed my point. I don’t judge people for staying in the closet, I just think it’s sad that Jodie seemed so defensive about it. And I got a little angry thinking that she was taking shots at how other people chose to come out before her. That’s all. Still love Jodie. Still love everyone stuck in the closet. Just hoping the NEED to hide becomes a thing of the past ASAP.

  25. is it time to say “aw, we were just fuckin’ with ya’ll april fools!” yet?also, i’m not sure how much spin could save this movie, but the sdutios should really get somebody to write the logline for their imdb page. “A guy walks around with a puppet of a beaver on his hand and treats it like a living creature.” Really? That’s the pitch someone took into a financing meeting, and they came out with $19 million?

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