You may know openly gay British actor Rupert Everett from such films as My Best Friend's Wedding, Shakespeare in Love, or perhaps Shrek 1, 2, and 3 -- but you've probably been seeing his name lately because of the jaw-dropper he shared in an interview with the U.K.'s Sunday Times Magazine last weekend. I call it a jaw-dropper because I'm pretty sure I've never heard an LGBT person publicly say anything like this: "I can't think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads."
Naturally, the statement has caused quite a stir online and off, with GLAAD quickly stepping in to condemn Everett's "outdated opinion." He's since clarified exactly what he meant by his criticism of gay parenting ... and I have to say, I completely respect where he's coming from.
That's not to say I agree with him. Not only do I hold the opinion that gay parents are every bit as loving and capable as straight parents (and truly, the sheer effort it takes for a gay couple to have children makes me assume that in many cases their family environment is far more positive and responsible), but I also think it's pretty obnoxious he went so far as to say he can't think of ANYTHING WORSE.
I mean, really? You can't? Because as a writer for a parenting-based website who is constantly combing through news items that have "baby" or "child" in the headlines, I could probably send you some links, Rupert.
Anyway, the full comment by Everett is this:
(My mother) thinks children need a father and a mother and I agree with her. I can't think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads. Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That's just my opinion. I'm not speaking on behalf of the gay community. In fact, I don't feel like I'm part of any 'community.' The only community I belong to is humanity and we've got too many children on the planet, so it's good not to have more.
The backlash, particularly among the gay community, was one of overwhelming disappointment. Everett has since responded to the criticism, saying,
The good news on this is I'm not applying for any sort of public office. I don't want to be a Mp (Member of Parliament), I don't want to be in a council, I don't want to be the head of (actors' union) Equity. I'm just an individual with my own life and the things I want to do myself. I'm not against anybody doing anything.
You know, what he said was probably hurtful to a lot of people, but he's right -- he was only talking about his own opinion. You can argue whether he's right or wrong all day long, but the fact is, Rupert Everett believes that a child should be raised by a father and a mother. It's surprising to hear this coming from such an outspoken gay man, but, well, not everyone conforms to the belief system we think or hope they will.
Everett may lose some fans as the result of the comment, but I'm not sure he'll care all that much. After all, this is the same guy who once mocked Jennifer Aniston's "tasteless rom-coms" -- despite the fact that's he's been in quite a few of those himself. I'm just saying, I don't think he's out to win any popularity awards, nor does he seem like the most self-aware guy who's ever strolled across the big screen.
What do you think of Everett's comments? Do you think he deserves the backlash?
Image via Vishdish/Flickr