How To Get Away With Murder heartthrob Jack Falahee has shocked fans after ‘coming out’… as straight.
The 27-year-old actor, who made his name playing gay law student Connor Walsh on the hit US series, had previously refused to discuss his sexuality publicly, explaining that there was a double standard when it came to the private lives of stars who play LGBT characters on screen.
“It’s pretty reductive to ask just the actor playing the gay character what his sexuality is if you’re not going to ask that question of people playing straight characters on the show,” he said last year.”
He added in separate interview: “I really hope that — if not in my lifetime, my children’s lifetime – this won’t be a question, that we won’t need this.”.
However, after seeing his gay friend “sitting on the floor under a table crying,” and unable to “face the reality of the next four years” in the wake of Trump’s election victory last week, Falahee says he realised that his stance – which he saw as “attempt to try and dismantle the closet” – was becoming “unhelpful.”
The star, who has previously blasted international TV stations for censoring kissing scenes between him and his onscreen boyfriend, Oliver (played by openly gay actor Conrad Ricomora) published a lengthy open letter on social media yesterday to confirm that is in fact straight.
“We now have a VP [Vice President] who doesn’t believe my friend should have the same rights as me and that’s scary”, he wrote.
“While I’m not gay, on HTGAWM I play a character who’s in an interracial relationship with an HIV positive man. However, in the past I’ve declined to discuss my own sexuality in an attempt to try and dismantle the closet.
“Opponents to my ambiguous answers to questions surrounding my sexuality argued the importance of visibility. Unfortunately, I think that my stance has been unhelpful in the fight for equality. I feel I’ve sacrificed my ability to support the [LGBT+] community for a more theoretical discussion about sexuality.
He added: “Now more than ever, I want to offer my support to the community as an ally.”
The news has divided fans on social media, some fans praising Falahee’s support of the LGBT+ community, and others criticising what they perceived as “gay-baiting”.
One tweet sarcastically describing Falahee as “a true pioneer for straight people,” while another deemed his lengthy announcement “pretentious.”
Others were more angry with the announcement, with some questioning his motives for remaining in the closet, writing: “Your gay baiting was a great way to make money w/out personal damage.”
Really respect and admire the strength and courage it took Jack Falahee to come out as straight. A true pioneer for straight people.
— Dean Eastmond (@deanvictorr) November 15, 2016
Jack falahee came out as str8 in support of LGBT. Something tons of straight people have done. Only he was more pretentious in the buildup.
— Jpofferz (@JamisonPoff) November 16, 2016
Jack Falahee came out as straight? So please explain why he's playing a gay character that could have been given to an actual gay actor?
— FUCK TRUMP (@frankiearam) November 16, 2016
ppl r rly calling jack falahee brave for saying he's straight… my nonexistent will 2 live is even more nonexistent somehow
— chloe (@everothlo) November 15, 2016
@RestingPlatypus Wow. Your gay baiting was a great way to make money w/out personal damage. Smh. Talk to LGBT people & see how they feel now
— C.S. (@punior102) November 15, 2016
Others we quick to defend Falahee, pointing out that regardless of his sexuality, he’s been a steadfast supporter of LGBT during his time on the show.
He came out in support of the gay community and people are still so pressed,” wrote one Twitter user.
People are so mad Jack Falahee came out as straight. He came out in support of the gay community and people are still so pressed. Oí.
— Keira 😼 (@BoozyMulatta) November 16, 2016
Others, having assumed Falahee was gay, were simply disappointed.
“Fuck you, 2016”, wrote one user.
“I am distraught. This is the worst week of my life”, added another.
Jack Falahee came out as straight. I am distraught. This is the worst week of my life.
— Mark (@OhHi_Mark) November 15, 2016
Falahee continued to explain how he would be an ally moving forward, promising to donate to charities and engage more deeply in politics.
Frankly we’re too upset to think past the next 24 hours, but here’s hoping he makes good on his pledges.#