Actor Matt Wilson has been slammed on social media following comments he made about playing a gay character.
Matt, who identifies as straight, plays a gay man on long-running Australian soap Neighbours.
During an appearance on Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff, Matt explained that he chose to play the character as "straight and normal" rather than "flamboyant".
"There are a lot of people who think you should have a gay actor playing a gay character, but that’s like saying you should get someone in a wheelchair to play a character in a wheelchair.
"I think it’s important that we are expressing it. We specifically designed the character to act straight and act normal.
"When I say “normal”, I mean he’s not like the characters on Modern Family, where they are flamboyant and camp and they walk around tiptoeing.
"That creates separation – that’s us and them. It shouldn’t be like that. It should be all equal and no-one should have a problem with that. The way other characters act around my character is that there is never a problem at all."
Viewers rushed to social media to criticise Matt's remarks, with one saying: "Oh god the level of ignorance in this is... just... staggering. Glad to know I'm not 'normal' because I'm effeminate".
Another added: "Ooh no. That was a car crash in slow motion. We should all act normal and homophobia will stop."
Following the backlash, Matt took to Twitter to apologise for his choice of words, saying: "Hi guys. Agreed. 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."