"Looking" star Russell Tovey is getting a wave of Twitter backlash this week after making comments about effeminate gay men in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian.
In the interview, published Sunday, the 33-year-old British actor opened up about events in his life that shaped him into the gay man he is today.
After scoring a gig for a ketchup ad at 12, Tovey said he filmed a kids' TV show called "Mud" and missed chunks of school, resulting in his not making many friends. He told The Guardian he wanted to attend Sylvia Young Theatre School but his father "flat-out refused."
"He thought I'd become some tap-dancing freak without qualifications," he said. "And he was right in a way. I'm glad I didn't go. That might have changed..."
The Guardian then writes the following:
Tovey thinks carefully about what he's going to say next. If I had to guess, watching him fidget, I'd say he's weighing up whether to be honest at the risk of causing offence, or whether to divert and say something bland. He chooses to risk offence. "I feel like I could have been really effeminate, if I hadn't gone to the school I went to. Where I felt like I had to toughen up. 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. Because it's probably given me the unique quality that people think I have."
This segment of the article is currently getting a lot of heat on social media sites like Twitter, where a number of users are calling out Tovey's remarks.
"after those comments @russelltovey is [trash] tbh. he's the type to have 'NO BLACKS, ASIANS OR FEMZ!' in his grindr profile," one user wrote.
"Not here for Russell Tovey putting tough at the opposite end of a scale that starts with effeminate," another wrote.
"Disappointed that @russelltovey seems to consider avoiding 'femininity' as some sort of achievement," a "Looking" fan tweeted.
"Disappointed to read @russelltovey assert some sort of achievement in denying effeminacy. Being an effeminate boy is the tougher path, mate," another Twitter user wrote.
"I am borderline obsessed with #Looking and think it is groundbreaking in many/most ways...but Russell Tovey's comments are deeply problematic," another wrote.
Tovey, who plays Kevin Matheson - the videogame-loving boss of Patrick Murray (Jonathan Groff) who is also in a love triangle with him - also opens up about being stabbed in the head as a teenager.
"I'd been in a pub in Romford, getting the train to my to meet my parents in Brentwood," he told the Guardian. "I was wearing a cardigan. At that time you never wore a cardigan in Romford."
He said two men sat across from him on the train and attacked him. He said he was punched in the head a number of times and slashed above the ear with a knife.
"One said to the other, 'Are you going to cut him or am I?" he asked. "[I was] pouring blood everywhere... I didn't know where it was coming from, I thought they'd cut my throat. Another passenger was giving me sugar out of a sachet."
"If they'd asked for my wallet or phone I would have understood it. But it wasn't anything to do with that. They just wanted to fucking hurt me," he continued. "And trying to get your head around that, later... For years afterwards I was left with an insecurity. I'd see groups of lads, even in a pub, and I'd feel intimidated. It's a weird thing but if you talk to other people who've been through it, you give off a vibe. The pack can sense you're weak. It made me so frustrated.
"Going down the gym, discovering the gym three years ago, and really going for it - I feel a lot more in charge. I needed to exorcise that feeling of being a little scared, skinny rat," he said.
UPDATE: After being hit with a wave of backlash from Twitter users and other social media outlets, "Looking" star Russell Tovey is apologizing for comments he made about being effeminate in an interview with The Guardian this week.
The 33-year-old British actor took to Twitter Monday to apologize in a series of tweets to fans who took offense to his remarks, starting with, #whiteflag #whiteflag
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