Actor turned away from agency because it ‘already had a gay actor’
An actor was left ‘confused and upset’ after being rejected by an acting agency because they already had a gay client.
Joseph Segal, a London based actor, was applying to agencies to represent him when he was rejected by one because of his sexuality.
In a rejection email tweeted by Segal, the unnamed agent stated that as part of ‘keeping a balance’ between clients and the industry needs, they would be unable to represent Segal.
The email then said: “Moreover, we already have a gay actor on our books and also a musician/actor of the same age, so we feel there would be a clash.”
Segal told PinkNews how this email was different from any rejection email he had received in the past, and that he was surprised that his sexuality had been used as a reason not to represent him.
He said: “I was confused and then after a while upset.
“Usually agents reply with ‘not looking for any new talent at this time’ or ‘we already have an actor of your age/look/skill.’
“I didn’t ever imagine they’d use my sexuality as an excuse not to consider me.”
Segal continued to say that he was not the first actor to have faced discrimination based on his sexuality, but that this was ‘on another level.’
He said: “I feel sorry for the only gay actor they have on their books.
“I am sure I am not the only one who has faced something like this, I know in the past being open about my sexuality has unfortunately meant that I am somewhat pushed aside, but this is on another level.”
Segal took to social media to share his treatment and was met with a wave of support from actors and the general public.
Matthew Lewis, best known for his role as Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter series, tweeted his support for the actor.
Lewis pointed out that acting is all about playing a part, so an actor’s sexuality shouldn’t have any impact on their ability to perform.
“I heard Schwarzenegger wasn’t actually a cyborg from the future but they gave him the part anyway,” he wrote.
Others pointed out that acting agencies usually have more than one heterosexual person on their books.
One person wrote: “Presumably they only have one straight actor, one woman actor and one white actor too? Just to avoid any inconvenient clashes, you understand!”
After Segal’s tweets attracted this attention, the actor said he was ‘overwhelmed’ by the support.
The unnamed agency sent Segal a full apology which he posted on Twitter on their behalf.
In the statement, the agency wrote: “In light of what you have brought to ours and so many others’ attention, we offer our sincerest of apologies to you and anyone else who may have taken offence.
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“After speaking with you in private we both understand your response and regret our actions. We did not in any way mean to cause you any hurt or anger.
“We feel ashamed about it, so ashamed we feel unable to defend it. When choosing clients we look at all aspects the artist brings to the table and at no point should we have commented on your sexuality.”
The statement continued: “We have told all our clients about this incident, we believe it is important for us to be open and honest with all our clients.
“You are clearly an intelligent, kind and talented individual and any agent would be lucky to have you, we will do all we can to ensure other agents have a chance to see you and your work.”
The agency also offered to donate money to the charity of Segal’s choice.