Michael Cimino, the star of Hulu’s Love, Victor, is opening up about the comments he has received since taking on the role of Victor on the Love, Simon spinoff.
Cimino revealed to Attitude UK that he has received death threats for playing a gay character on TV.
“I got some homophobic comments — I kind of expected that to happen. I didn’t expect it from my own family members, though,” Cimino, who is straight, explained.
“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 actor said that the hate towards the series and the LGBTQIA community comes from ignorance.
“There’s nothing wrong with being gay,” he added.
“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 have changed opinions,” Cimino said.
“I had some friends who are religious and they’ve changed their perspective on things.”
Cimino revealed that he was advised he should not play gay roles.
“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,'” Cimino dished.
“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“Here I am playing a gay role that might not be considered masculine in an outdated idea of what masculinity is.”
Cimino explained that he has also faced adversity from within the LGBTQIA because he is a straight actor playing a gay character.
“I’ve definitely had some criticism from the LGBT community for being in the role… I’ve had death threats, which is horrible,” Cimino said.
“But the show is important to me. The messages of hate— I came into it knowing that would happen, regardless of how good I was.”
“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.”
He said he did not want to forget about the role.
“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?” Cimino wondered.
“It’s an honor to play Victor, and a big responsibility. I went in with the pure intent to represent that correctly.”
“I held myself to a really high standard to make sure everyone going through this story felt represented by the show.”
Love, Victor’s first two seasons are available to stream on Hulu.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.