Jake Gyllenhaal (via Adam Levine) and George Clooney: a different approach on speculated sexuality

I remember well when in 2010 I read Adam Levine’s statement on this issue of OUT magazine about his buddy Jake and his speculated sexuality. I remember I raised my eyebrow and thought “Was it really necessary? Did Jake approve of this act of defense?”. That feeling of incredulity stayed with me for quite a while because somehow I couldn’t imagine Jake ask his friend to publicly announce how so not gay he was and I wondered if they discussed about it beforehand, if the statement was somehow concerted, or afterwards, if it wasn’t.

This is what Adam Levine said:

Q: You’ve also gotten a lot of attention for hanging out with Jake Gyllenhaal.
Will everyone stop thinking that dude is gay? Seriously guys. How immature is it of the media to perceive this guy — it has to be because of Brokeback, right? I’ve known this dude forever. He’s one of my oldest friends, and it’s very weird that they have this — it’s very immature and infantile the way they treat his whole situation. If him hanging out with his bros means he’s gay, it’s like further perpetuating that weird homophobia that exists in our culture, which is just stupid. So, yeah, he’s my buddy. I fuckin’ love the guy.

Such a passionate declaration. And as hard as I try not to see that as an unnecessary stand-up on Adam Levine’s part, I still think that the subject could have been handled much, much better.

Like how it is handled by George Clooney in this interview on the current issue of The Advocate (hence this post today) where he talks, among other things, about his own speculated sexuality:

Q: The gay rumor has followed you for years.
I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, “These are lies!” That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a shit.

Q: You’re right, because some people are still trying to make the case that Cary Grant was gay. 

Oh, I know. I met Cary once, I read his daughter’s book, and I’ve gotten the sense that he would’ve laughed at that and not cared what people thought. He was a confident enough man to feel perfectly fine in his own sexuality and in his own life. Compared to other stars, he seemed much more together in a way. You know, you live your life well, you treat people well, and you hope that other people won’t make stories up about you, but they will anyway. It is what it is.

I really couldn’t help but compare the two approaches. I’m not going to start a debate about whether it is convenient or not to be gay or be rumored so in Hollywood, or how playing a gay role can affect your career (I could talk about Jake’s brother-in-law Peter Sarsgaard though, who played three or four gay roles already). I see how it is a very delicate and controversial subject and I don’t know enough about how the cinema world works and what’s truly behind a film but I can’t shake the feeling that if George Clooney can say this…

And if your flattering remarks at the Golden Globes were any indication, Shame’s Michael Fassbender has also caught your eye.
[Laughs] Well, c’mon. Every guy who saw that movie was like, “Jesus Christ,” at the exact same time.

…then Jake Gyllenhaal should have felt safe to carry on living his private life without having friends say what he is or what he is not.

I guess I needed to take this out of my chest, you know, I didn’t have a blog then. It’s the only thing that has ever bugged me about Jake since I first started to care about him back in 2006, even though I’ll never know for sure if he agreed on Adam’s statement or not (I still hope he didn’t, anyway).

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19 thoughts on “Jake Gyllenhaal (via Adam Levine) and George Clooney: a different approach on speculated sexuality

  1. I personally like what Adam said about his pal Jake. I like the way he did that. Like he couldn’t stand it anymore. Not that is something wrong about being gay, but when he’s not and there are no signs for that, how many times one can proof he’s not a horse? I am annoy as well and have enough of those stupid, nonsense gossips. Jake was joking about that for a long time, but I don’t think it’s funny to him anymore.
    Honestly saying I’ve never heard any rumours about George Clooney being gay. First time in this interview. He’s so obviously not a gay to me.
    Jake is different type of man than George. I think Jake is very appealing for both sexes, if he likes it or not. Nothing he can do about it. He’s just so fantastic in body, spirit and heart. 🙂

    • Exactly, there’s nothing he can do about it. I would be flattered, honestly, if both sexes went after me 🙂

      Anyway, gossip will follow celebrities wherever they go and whatever they do, it’s just the way it works so why not shrug it off and have a good laugh about it? either he is or he isn’t, there’s nothing wrong about it.

      And about being “obviously not gay”…girl, you have no idea LOL

      Thanks for commenting, it’s good to see you here!

  2. Ha! I know that some gorgeous, masculine men turn out to be gays, but in GC case, I don’t think so. Though I would never give my head for such a things. Also – knowing a man, I never question his sexuality, it’s not my business. Sometimes it’s just too obvious to ignore that, sometimes it’s hard to believe. Thx for answering.

    • Thank you mermon. I think that it’s nobody’s business but theirs, too. As for GC, I just appreciated the way he shrugged the speculations off saying that he doesn’t give a shit about them. People will keep thinking what they want whatever he does so why bothering? I just happen to share his statement, is all.

      And no, I don’t know anything about him LOL

  3. Thanks for this post. I think there is so much being said about celebs sexual orientation they don’t have to admit to anything if they don’t want to. There are many who are still in the closet and want to stay that way.

    As to George Clooney, yeah obviously not gay 😀

    • I know, celebrities are bound to have more attention than necessary but that’s how their world works. I think that unfortunately it’s what many people are interested about, a very morbid interest in celebs’ private affairs. It’s the sad law of demand and supply.

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. I really like the way George Clooney handled those questions. Very classy. Adam’s approach is on first view kinda in-your-face…a guilty dog barks he loudest and all that…but looking closer it also screams ‘I’ve had enough. Shut up!’ Sooo…yeah.

    I just can’t believe that such a fuss is being made over this by the media etc. Why does it matter if someone’s gay? Seriously.. *sigh*

    Nev

    • Seconded. Being gay should neither be denied nor paraded, IMO. I wish people would just mind their own bloody business and just let people love whoever they want to love.

      Anyway, good to see you here Nev, lovely to see your comments. Thanks!

  5. Cause it popped up in my email 🙂 I’ll answer as well. I wouldn’t compare Adam’s and George’s statements cause George was talking about himself, he could be cool about it, Adam was defending his friend – Jake. Maybe not even defending, just showing his irritation on that constant subject. As far as I know, Jake was quite cool about it as well. He has many friends and he’s close and warm with them, this kind of cute personality. People are cruel and don’t really care about the truth, just repeat gossips to stir. Don’t care what it does to a person or a family.
    I don’t agree that’s how celebrities world works, I mean sexuality is a very private thing and many people feel very uncomfortable to talk about it at all, and in public the more. They don’t have to agree to being expose to public discussion, but I never heard Jake complaining at that. I think Adam did what he felt was right. Probably Jake’s friends are tired of those rumours as well. Because of media, gossips, fast news, paps pics etc, in a way we may feel celebrities are closer to us, when they really are, we know so much about them, sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes someone may cross the line like that Bulgarian journalist kissing and hugging Will Smith yesterday in Cannes, coming in his personal space, in front of cameras, surprising actor very much.

    • “I know, celebrities are bound to have more attention than necessary but that’s how their world works.” I’ll re-write this here because you said you disagree with this statement. Let’s agree we disagree. Celebrities are not naive, they perfectly know what kind of career they’ve chosen. Gossip, speculations, rumors, are part of the line of job they’ve willingly pursued, a side-effect of being famous, which they love to be. A nasty side-effect, I’ll agree about that (so much so that my blog title declares the lack of it) but a necessary price to pay nonetheless.

      Now, Jake has never uttered one single bad word, as far as I know, about those rumors. My post in fact was about Adam Levine, who felt compelled to say something on that regard on behalf of Jake. Jake doesn’t need to be “defended”, he can do that himself if those rumors make him uncomfortable. I think Adam Levine should have just shrugged it off, or even better laughed about it, and let it go. This is just my personal opinion, of course, and I’m not expecting people to concur or to feel uncomfortable like I did.

      If those people whose words are taken into high consideration by so many (like celebrities, worthy or not) won’t stop saying that being gay is something to be defended against, gay people have no hope to be considered for just what they are: men and women.

      End of rant, sorry 🙂 and thanks for adding your thoughts, Mermon, always appreciated!

      • Clooney is 16 years older than Adam, and is savvy about the media. (His family background. He directed Good night and good luck.)

        It’s relying on the gossips (though one is free to), to assume Jake engineered this exchange with Out.
        Adam was promoting his own career and image.
        He was asked about himself, by association with Jake. He deflected it back to Jake.
        What Adam addressed in regards to Jake, is apples and oranges compared with speaking in support of gays.

        The rumors about Jake take on a life of their own (ranging from playful innuendos in bigger tabloids, to salacious and nasty tones in smaller gossip hives – all relentless, increasingly elaborate, and have the benefit of engaging a vivid and collective image of his BBM role.)

        It truly boils down to the specific nature of his BBM role (feminized in the sex scene, which fits a oft-derided stereotype), and the movie’s success resulting in a cultural phenom and pop reference that gave him a lasting branded image. **The role is literally the mountains into which the echoes of gossips ricochet, and reverberate back in louder successions**. Gossips may work like fan-fic, except not within the confines of fandom where there is modicum of affection.

        He did receive hate mail that gave “an insight into homophobia that I wouldn’t normally have encountered.”

        I don’t think enough fans accept that, the specific nature of Jake’s role in a mainstream movie that received major and worldwide distribution, is still a rarity in 2015. What similar characters in a major release, was depicted with Twist’s attitude, practice, and and his own specific functions of sexuality? The D Train comes to mind, but that was not a major release or hit, and it didn’t catch on with public imagination.

      • KOv, thank you for adding your thoughts. I was surprised as I didn’t think I’d get comments anymore. As much as I still love my blog, I haven’t had time to update it in too long, and I miss it. I’ll read your comments carefully and reply to them soon. For now, thank you for stepping by, you truly made my day.

      • The issues are complex are enormous. Before Levine is expected to be a proactive ally, he is an individual with his own sexuality. If his answers conveyed discomfort, irritation, that’s his reality where celebrity and gossip cultures, sexual and masculine identities collide.

        The flipside of homophobia is the burdens of heterosexuality: how it is so narrowly and strictly defined, that we can without thinking, instinctively feel Levine must have something to hide (for himself or on behalf of Jake) if he didn’t play it cool, “shrug it off” like Clooney did.

        That in itself, is a tacit expectation, of what sexual and masculine identities should aspire toward: Any “cracks” of insecurity puts him under suspicion, no less as an offense to gays (which you immediately equated with “all hopes” of gays for social acceptance. When the processes are complex and historical, of systems and institutions, not easily tasked to individuals in practice not just aspiration.)

        And Clooney’s response is put on a pedestal, as if the reality of being a man isn’t far more complex, warts and all, not a fantasy of Oceans-cool:

        How to conduct oneself so not falling the slightest out of very stringent expectations and definitions, doesn’t put your legitimacy and worth as a man out to pastures. Being a man IS fraught with anxiety and insecurities – because of how narrowly defined a male heterosexual is. And we know the social ramification comes from that.

        Maybe I’m the only one seeing the paradox: Demand celebrities help normalize what’s historically – including ongoing gossip culture – deem as “abnormal”. While we give a pass to anonymous gossip (that’s never held accountable) thriving on the very prurient nature of what’s tacitly, collectively accepted as “abnormal” (hence their captivating hold over readers.)

        To simply shrug it off, is akin to telling someone who feels being taunted in the schoolyard (which celebrity bubble resembles to extremes) to just ignore. (And for sure, our pack instinct immediately puts us behind Clooney, because he reacted like an idealized, secure Alpha should.) Easier said than done, when not in their shoes. And what is striving toward social progress, if not to try putting ourselves in others’ shoes?

  6. “Playing a gay role : can it or not affect your career?”…
    Let’s see :
    – Does playing a serial killer make you be one? Or if you play it, why aren’t you already in jail?…
    – Playing a blond girl makes you be silly?
    – Do we have to be religious to play a priest?…
    Come on, let’s be serious!
    Let people be what they want, love what they wish, have what they need and build their own concept of happiness

    We love people for what they are and not for what we would like them to be 🙂
    We love artists for what they want to show us. What they don’t want to show represents their liberty and is none of our business.

    • These roles don’t all hold the same cultural significance.
      More apt comparisons would be: Playing an interracial couple during or just right after segregation. Depicting relationships with Muslims (or being one), converting to or proselytizing Islam, in the years following 9/11.

      I do concur, the primary relationship we have is as performers and audiences. It’s always unusual when rules and expectations of intimate relationships are projected onto this (transactional) dynamic.

  7. I like the quote from Jake where he mentions that every guy goes through a phase of thinking whether they’re attracted to another guy (if I got it right). I hope Jake had nothing to do with how Adam handled the rumor.

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