Screenwriter and producer Russell T Davies has spoken out against casting straight actors to play gay roles, comparing it to blackface.
The openly gay Welsh writer, best known for his work on series including Queer as Folk and Doctor Who, criticised the idea of straight performers “acting gay”.
“I’m not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to ‘act gay’ because ‘acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance,” said Davies.
“It’s about authenticity.
“You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up.
“Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.”
Straight performers have been criticised in recent years for playing gay roles, prominently including Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocket Man and Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Actor and television presenter James Corden was last month accused of “gay face” for his role as a gay man in Netflix’s The Prom.
Other films and series have increasingly cast LGBTIQ+ actors in such roles.
Social media reactions to Davies’ remarks have been mixed, with some users agreeing that gay roles should go to gay actors, while others have argued that anyone should be able to play diverse roles.
“I see Russell T Davies saying that gay characters should only be played by gay actors and raise you that only gay people should be allowed on TV,” read one tongue-in-cheek tweet.
It’s a Sin has a star-studded gay cast including Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris.
The series will be available to watch in Britain on Channel 4 from 22 January and in Australia on Stan from 23 January.