OUT OF THE CLOSET, INTO THE FIRE
It’s been over a week since we wrote one of the first stories about Jodie Foster sort of outing herself at the Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast on Dec. 4 by thanking her partner, Cydney Bernard, when accepting the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, but the mainstream media is only just starting to take serious note of this story.
Yesterday, CNN aired a segment anachronistically titled "The Homosexual Taboo," in which entertainment reporter Kiki King actually offered a surprisingly balanced report (for a mainstream news channel) on the state of homophobia in Hollywood today. .
Other news stories about Jodie’s statements, many of them from the U.K. (those Europeans — they’re always ahead of us Americans), imply that the press has been sitting on this story for years. Here’s a sample of some of my favorite headlines:
- "Jodie Foster Comes Out (Duh)" (Gay City News)
- "Jodie Foster comes out … finally" (The Times)
- "Jodie Foster comes out — at last!" (The Guardian)
- In the category of bad writing, we have: "My Beautiful Lover, By Gay Jodie Foster" (Daily Express)
- And my favorite headline, from the scrappy Blogger News Network: "Jodie Foster Nearly Admits Being Lesbian" — because even though Jodie thanked "my beautiful Cydney," she didn’t actually come out and say "I’m a lesbian."
This is something that Andrew Gumbel picked up on in a thoughtful story published in the Belfast Telegraph titled " The day Jodie came out (and became the Accused)." He wrote:
What was striking was not the acknowledgment itself. (Websites that breathlessly proclaimed Foster had "come out" were surely overstating their case.) Rather, it was the sadness of everything that had gone before and the peculiar agony of being anything other than a straight up-and-down heterosexual in a town as supposedly progressive and forward-thinking as Los Angeles.
Here was one of the world’s most successful women, with an enviable and growing body of work to brag about, and she couldn’t — except in the most roundabout way and after 14 years — feel comfortable acknowledging her life partner in public.
Imagine Gordon Brown never being able to acknowledge Sarah, or the Queen being unable to talk about "my husband and I."
When you put it that way, that really does make me sad. We still have a long way to go, don’t we?
Cydney Bernard and Jodie Foster
In a sign that Jodie’s low-key statement is blowing up big-time, Joan Rivers recently stopped by the Today Show, where she sneakily got co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Natalie Morales to state that they knew all along that Jodie is a lesbian:
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It seems pretty clear to me that the cat is so far out of the bag now that it’s beyond the time for lesbian cat jokes. It’s time for Jodie to call Barbara Walters. Or Diane Sawyer. Or Oprah (if she has time off from campaigning for Barack Obama).
‘Cause something tells me that Ms. Foster isn’t going to give her long-awaited coming-out interview to AfterEllen.com. But if she does, I’ll bet Sarah would consider changing the name of the site to AfterJodie.com!