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Neighbours star digs himself a hole in ‘ignorant’ interview about gay character

Nick Duffy June 30, 2017

A straight actor who plays a gay character on Neighbours has been derided over comments about flamboyant gay characters.

Australian actor Matt Wilson, who is straight in real life, plays gay Neighbours character Aaron Brennan on the long-running soap.

Appearing on TV show The Wright Stuff, Wilson was asked about taking on the role as a straight man – and managed to dig himself into a deeper and deeper hole with pretty much every word.

He said: “There’s a lot of people saying, why don’t you get a gay person to play a gay character?

“But it’s like saying, why don’t you get someone in a wheelchair to play a character in a wheelchair?”, he continued, apparently unaware of the lack of visible disabled people on TV.

The actor then went on to claim that it was important he had the role so that the character could “act straight” and “normal”, hitting out at “flamboyant” gay characters.

He said: “I think it’s quite important we are expressing this in a way that we’ve specifically designed the character to act straight and act normal.

“When I say normal, I mean he doesn’t stand out amongst the crowd.

“It’s not like the guys on Modern Family, you see them and they’re flamboyant and camp and walk around tip-toeing… that creates separation. It’s us and them, it shouldn’t be like that, it should be all, like, equal, and nobody should have a problem with that.

“The way the other characters react around my character is that there’s never a problem, so we’re setting a standard. We’re not going out and saying we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Many Twitter users took exception to his suggestions that effeminate men are not “normal”, should not be portrayed on TV, and “create separation”.

Ironically, had a gay actor played the role they probably wouldn’t have dug themselves such a deep hole with such ignorant comments.

Wilson has since apologised for his remarks.

He explained: “Choice of words wasn’t right and apologies if it comes across as offensive.

“The message I want to get across (and this is in support of one of my closest friends as he is having issues coming out) that he sick and tired of people assuming that because his sexuality is different to the guy next to him that they ‘expected him to act different’.

“This isn’t the case, and shouldn’t be preached on TV.

“Once again – apologies for offending you, I trust you can see through this and see we are promoting the same msg.”

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