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Adam Lambert walks back comment about straight actors playing gay, says homophobia “probably” cost him ‘American Idol’ win

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Sofia Coppola, Scoot McNairy, Emilia Jones, Cody Fern and Adam Lambert at the Variety Sundance Studio, Presented by Audible ; Katie Jones/Variety via Getty Images

Adam Lambert made headlines last week for a comment he made about straight actors playing gay characters. But now Variety reports the singer claims he was “mostly being sarcastic” at the time.

Last week, after The Advocate posted a rumor that The White Lotus star Theo James was being considered to play the lead role in a biopic of the late pop superstar George Michael, Adam wrote in the comments, “Yay another straight man playing a gay icon,” and added an eye-rolling emoji. 

This naturally set off an online debate, but when Adam spoke to Variety Friday while promoting his new movie Fairyland, the publication reported that he told them he was “mostly being sarcastic” when he made the comment.

My actual comment was a straight actor playing a gay icon. I by no means think that gay characters can only be played by gay actors,” Adam told Variety. “That would be ridiculous.” 

He then pointed to Fairyland as an example: It stars Scoot McNairy, who’s straight, as a gay dad in 1970s San Francisco.  Adam called Scoot’s performance “brilliant.”

“It’s a big step forward that these stories are being told, but I hope in the future you’d see an out actor also being able to tackle an out leading role,” he added.

Later on Friday, he tweeted, “Representation and visibility have a strong impact on the LGBTQ+ community. People want to see themselves represented on screen. It’s also wonderful for queer people to be reassured that being out isn’t career suicide. You can be open about who you are AND be successful!”

Variety also asked Adam if he believes homophobia is why he lost American Idol in 2009. He said, “Probably. But it was 10 years ago!”

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