Russell Tovey Gives Half Ass Apology For Homophobic Rant

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March 5, 2015
6:01 a.m.

Russell Tovey Story Courtesy Of Matthew Weaver

Actor widely criticised for saying he was lucky he hadn’t gone to the kind of drama school that would lead him to ‘prance around’

The actor Russell Tovey, known for his role in The History Boys and star of a new BBC drama, has apologised after being widely criticised for suggesting drama school students “prance around” being “effeminate”.

Tovey said he had been “branded the worst gay ever” after telling the Observer of his satisfaction at his father’s refusal to send him to Sylvia Young Theatre School, attended by some of his friends.

Tovey, who stars in Looking, the HBO series about a group of gay friends in San Francisco, told the Observer that being educated at an Essex state school meant that he had to “toughen up”.

During the interview, he talked about how he bulked out at the gym, and added: “I feel like I could have been really effeminate, if I hadn’t gone to the school I went to … If I’d have been able to relax, prance around, sing in the street, I might be a different person now. I thank my dad for that, for not allowing me to go down that path.”

In an interview to mark his role in Banished, a new BBC drama about 18th-century convicts, Tovey added that his education had “probably given me the unique quality that people think I have”.

His remarks prompted a backlash on social media. Writing on Twitter, the Australian actor and singer Brendan Maclean accused Tovey of “internalized homophobia”.

Zack Ford, an editor at the liberal blog ThinkProgress, wrote: “I love #Looking, but I’m very disappointed to see @russelltovey disparaging effeminate guys.”

On Tuesday, in series of apologetic tweets, Tovey expressed regret for his remarks.

He said: “I surrender. You got me. I’m sat baffled and saddened that a mis-fired inarticulate quote of mine has branded me worst gay ever.”

And he said he was sorry for letting down his fans.

Tovey insisted that he was proud of his sexuality and of what the gay rights movement had achieved.

— russell tovey (@russelltovey)March 3, 2015I’m proud to be who I am and proud for others We’re in this together, I want you to know whatever you think I meant, I didn’t

Reaction to the apology has been mixed. Chris Geidner, the legal editor of BuzzFeed, wrote:

— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner)March 3, 2015Not sure best way to start an apology is by mocking those who have been criticizing you, but I’m glad @russelltovey isn’t ignoring it all.

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