Shortly after Newell’s character, Wade “Unique” Adams, was introduced on Glee, O’Reilly criticized the popular musical series for its inclusion of a trans teen and claimed, "If you make it glamorous in a program like Glee, which is undeniably a good program ... a lot of these dopey kids are confused about who they are."
In a new interview with Fusion, Newell fired back with a few comments of his own about O’Reilly’s harsh words. "It's wrong to call people dopey," he told Fusion's Alicia Menendez Thursday. "When it's something this poignant and such a big part of the society, you can't call kids dopey, because this is something that they're actually going through, this is what they feel on the inside, there's nothing dopey about it."
Earlier this month Newell spoke with The Advocate about both the criticism and praise he’s received since he began playing Unique as well as his determination to help improve the visibility of LGBT people on TV. “When people don’t understand something their first reaction is to hate it,” he said of his groundbreaking role. “But [the LGBT community] isn’t going away. We’re a part of everyday life and people need to be educated.”
Watch Fusion’s interview with Newell below.