Billy Eichner Slams 'Completely Ignorant' Aaron Sorkin Over Tweets About Straight Actors In Gay Roles
Comedian and actor Billy Eichner called writer and director Aaron Sorkin "completely ignorant" after Sorkin said casting gay actors as gay characters is an "empty gesture."
Writing on Twitter, the star of Difficult People and Billy on the Street said Sorkin's remarks are "Completely ignorant of how Hollywood has treated its openly LGBTQ+ actors for a century."
Eichner urged Sorkin to "write yourself a ‘walk and talk’ back into the past."
Completely ignorant of how Hollywood has treated its openly LGBTQ+ actors for a century. Talking about shit he doesn\u2019t fully comprehend. Scared that Hollywood isn\u2019t (entirely) ruled by straight men anymore. Go write yourself a \u201cwalk and talk\u201d back into the past. Merry Christmas!https://twitter.com/ST_Culture/status/1472484341884362756\u00a0\u2026— billy eichner (@billy eichner) 1640038142
Sorkin, best known for writing The West Wing and The Social Network, unwittingly kicked off another debate about representation in Hollywood films after he responded to criticisms about his decision to cast the Spanish actor Javier Bardem in the role of Cuban actor Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos, a film about the marriage and career crises faced by Arnaz and his wife, the comedian Lucille Ball, who is played by Nicole Kidman.
Sorkin called the criticisms "a little chilling" and commented on casting LGBTQ+ actors in LGBTQ+ roles, saying:
"You can act attracted to someone, but you can’t act gay or straight. So this notion that only gay actors should play gay characters? That only a Cuban actor should play Desi?"
"Honestly, I think it’s the mother of all empty gestures and a bad idea.”
What Sorkin does not get is that Hollywood has excluded LGBTQ+ actors from playing cisgender roles, arguing that audiences would not find them convincing if they knew the actors were LGBTQ+ offscreen.
However, the same industry has also excluded LGBTQ+ actors from playing LGBTQ+ roles, regularly casting straight actors onscreen.
Many agreed with Eichner's assessment and further criticized Sorkin for being out of touch
As a huge fan of The West Wing, The Social Network and his other works (as problematic as they were), it sucks when you witness the Rowlingification of a writer you admirehttps://twitter.com/billyeichner/status/1473052853455384578\u00a0\u2026— Francisco Saul (@Francisco Saul) 1640138823
Preach Billy! Preach!https://twitter.com/billyeichner/status/1473052853455384578\u00a0\u2026— Gregory Ellwood - The Playlist \ud83c\udfac (@Gregory Ellwood - The Playlist \ud83c\udfac) 1640130718
Honestly Sorkin and @billmaher are part of a list of old white men who are actively living Bob Dylan\u2019s line \u201cyou\u2019re old road is rapidly aging\u201d— JimmyGlenn\ud83c\udf54\ud83e\udd2b\ud83c\udf54 (@JimmyGlenn\ud83c\udf54\ud83e\udd2b\ud83c\udf54) 1640143573
I really can't understand why in 2021 you wouldn't try to hire an actor with lived experience to play the part of any minority.— Trystate Community Forum (@Trystate Community Forum) 1640039515
I think that Hollywood would love to cast Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee, take us back to the 1940s, it\u2019s easier, more predictable and safer. How will gay actors get a job if they won\u2019t even get a leg up playing a gay character?— Thomas E Flinn (@Thomas E Flinn) 1640119022
Yup. Always disappointed when folks can't get it.— Jim Harmes (Vacced) (@Jim Harmes (Vacced)) 1640038952
Watching the world come to dislike Sorkin the same way I have for most of my like is a truly satisfying experience.— Thomas Smalley (@Thomas Smalley) 1640100561
Agreed. Authenticity in representation is important. The same goes for Deaf characters! Deaf characters should be played by Deaf people!— Brian A. Cheslik (@Brian A. Cheslik) 1640157705
Hollywood doesn't cast openly gay actors in str8 roles & until they do- we can demand they don't cast str8 as gay! How many gay actors has Sorkin cast in str8 roles??? Probably ZERO! If we can't play str8 & the str8 guys get most of the gay roles- what's left? It's time to sue!— bryn weston (@bryn weston) 1640126605
Conversations about representation in film and theater have become more common in recent years and some cisgender actors have even expressed regret over playing roles that could have gone to LGBTQ+ performers.
Recently, the actor Eddie Redmayne, who received an Academy Award nomination for playing the transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, called his decision to take the role a well-intentioned "mistake."