Jason Isaacs who played the villain Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films has spoken out about gay actors in Hollywood and the reason why he feels they choose to stay in the closet.

The actor made his comments to the Telegraph while appearing at a film screening, speaking of his gay friends he said: “I have a lot of gay friends who don’t come out,” he added “If you are a romantic lead, there is a perception – I don’t know if it is true or not – that you will no longer be cast as straight people.”

He criticised the idea that gay actors could not play straight roles, “The notion that a gay actor can’t seem like they are in love with a woman on screen is so patently absurd I can’t believe it still exists.”

Concluding, he said: “It is not for me to push my gay friends to come out. I certainly don’t think that anyone should sacrifice their careers, if that’s what they think it would be, to make a political statement. But my friends who have done that feel immensely relieved and walk taller in their shoes. I would never judge anyone.”

A study by the LGBT organisation GLAAD released this week revealed a huge lack of LGBT characters appearing in Hollywood films. The study found that out of 101 films considered, there were very few lesbian, gay or bisexual characters, and zero identifiably trans characters.

Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto earlier this year revealed in an interview last month that he has “only worked more” since he came out as gay, and said he is glad to have opened up about being gay, because he thinks it had positively affected his career.

He came out as gay in October 2011 to “an overwhelming wave of support,” in an interview with New York magazine and wrote a blog post explaining his decision.