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On Jodie Foster & the privacy of gay* celebrities

I have been a fan of Jodie Foster even before confirming, even before hearing, that she liked the ladies.  She is an incredibly versatile actress who has crafted a number of powerful performances, with my favorite one that earned her only a handful of nominations, and two only wins, but no Oscar, not even a nomination, the 1997 film Contact. And I liked her in Panic Room. And she stood out in The Silence of the Lambs, but she did win an Oscar for that–not to mention numerous other honors.

Last night, as nearly everyone knows by now, she, without using the “L” word, acknowledged (as far as I know) for the first time in a public forum that she once had a romantic relationship with another woman and asked, as per the Yahoo! headline below, that people respect her privacy:

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. . . I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now I’m told, apparently that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show.

You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me. It never was and it never will be. Please don’t cry because my reality show would be so boring. I would have to make out with Marion Cotillard or I’d have to spank Daniel Craig’s bottom just to stay on the air. It’s not bad work if you can get it, though.

But seriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too might value privacy above all else. Privacy. Some day, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was.

I have given everything up there from the time that I was 3 years old. That’s reality-show enough, don’t you think?

There are a few secrets to keeping your psyche intact over such a long career. The first, love people and stay beside them.

Read the whole thing. (H/t Glenn Reynolds.)

Privacy can still be beautiful.  And we should accord Jodie Foster the respect she requests.

In this, at least toward gay people, increasingly enlightened age, perhaps the next step is to make sure people’s private lives remain private.  “Outing” a public figure who would rather keep his (or her) private life private would do little to make better the lives of gay people.  Social acceptance continues apace, far more rapidly than any of us could have anticipated at the turn of this still-young century.

Listen to Jodie Foster’s remarks.  Read the transcript, then read them again.  She is saying something very powerful, very, very powerful, something of which many of us have lost sight in recent years.  And not just about privacy.  About the value of staying beside those we love.

It does not advance a social cause to pry into an individual’s private life, even that of a public figure.  That is where she, at least where Jodie Foster, finds refuge from the often challenging vicissitudes of a career lived, proverbially — and frequently literarily — on stage.

Les us enjoy her movies — of which there are many good ones, far more than those I listed above — and let her enjoy her personal life as she sees us fit, without us trying to peek behind the curtains and gossip about her amours.

—-

*indeed, of all.

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5 Comments

  1. Good for her! I always believed that what you do and who you do it with is nobodies business but your own. Jodie Foster (or anybody else) is under no obligation to divulge any personally information to anybody. It doesn’t matter what your neighbor, enemy, or even you friends and family may think because we are all held personally responsible for our actions. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is God.

    Comment by MV — January 14, 2013 @ 9:05 am - January 14, 2013

  2. Jodie Foster was here, I still am, and I want to be seen, to be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely.

    What a catharsis!

    Jodie, you are in the “willing suspension of disbelief” business. You convince us that you can handle Hannibal Lecter. That is your craft.

    Sure you would love personal privacy, but that is a tall order when you also employ a publicist.

    Neither your life recipe nor your family album is of any interest to me. I hire you for a brief time measured in minutes to entertain me. Like a good plumber, I want service, not a show of butt crack. I can take the butt crack in exchange for the competence at the craft, but I am not motivated by the chance to ruminate on butt crack.

    Too many Hollywood types seem to want a voice and affirmation outside of their paid jobs. So far as paid entertainment is concerned, I want the experience of the entertainment to be of great quality and then I want to move on to the next gimmick Hollywood throws my way as its business model for getting some of my money.

    How much would I pay to hear Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson and Whoopi Goldberg spend three hours on a stage probing each other’s psyches? Nothing. I would rather be at Cracker Barrel watching the tour bus passengers bitch about the bread pudding.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 14, 2013 @ 9:35 am - January 14, 2013

  3. She’s probably got an upcoming autobiography due out soon. These Hollyweird hypocrites are all about the financial bottom line. Pricks!

    Comment by Mario — January 14, 2013 @ 10:06 am - January 14, 2013

  4. I’ve never invaded Foster’s privacy. I don’t really care about her privacy or whether she, worth multi-millions, feels robbed of a childhood. Would Foster feel so comfortable discussing (oh sorry — implying) her private life on a very public stage had no one gone before her? And what are people discussing over the water cooler today? I’ll bet real money it isn’t her acting. Is what Foster said very, very important? No, because she’s not very important and any public figure who complains about a public interested in her private life while living off them is a hypocrite.

    Comment by Ignatius — January 14, 2013 @ 11:26 am - January 14, 2013

  5. Howdy from your token heterosexual! Hasn’t anyone noticed that “Privacy for Gays” (no outing) usually means ‘Privacy for LEFTIST gays’, and outing for anyone who disagrees with the leftists? Just a thought.

    Comment by craig reid — January 16, 2013 @ 9:44 pm - January 16, 2013

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