The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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For Once, Dan Savage Has No Comment on Gay Discrimination

The Real O'Neals

Dan Savage is no stranger to vocal activism.

The gay activist is known for being outspoken against opponents of the LGBT community, with comments that rattle conservatives and push boundaries.

Notably, he redefined the last name of an antigay politician, Rick Santorum, to mean "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."

Yet when the star of the series based on his life, Noah Galvin of The Real O'Neals, gave a recent interview in which he blasted casting discrimination and Hollywood's glass closet, with language that was also occasionally crass, there was uncharacteristic silence from Savage.

"We wanted to let you know that we received your request, but Dan is not commenting at this time," a representative of Savage emailed to The Advocate, after we sent a request for a response to Galvin's remarks.

In the viral Vulture interview published earlier this month, Galvin noted that a casting director told him he was "too gay" for a role. He also used vulgar language like "faggot" to describe a guest star on the show who hit on him but wouldn't come out, and called gay Arrow actor Colton Haynes, who had teased his sexual orientation for years without coming out, "the worst."

In the piece, Galvin also praised Savage, who is an executive producer on the show, saying, "I love him a lot. He's the smartest gay man you'll ever meet in your life. He's the most articulate."

"The thing about Dan is he is primed for combat at all times," Galvin added. "Like, ready to throw down. And not only ready to throw down, but ready to win whatever debate. And he will."

Yet Savage is not yet "primed for combat" in defense of the backlash to Galvin, who according to a source in The Hollywood Reporter, may penalize The Real O'Neal's by reducing the number of episodes in its second season. The show was renewed May 12, an unusually long waiting period for a renewal, and the cast will reunite to film this summer.

"He caused a grade-A shit show. ABC screamed at him all afternoon," one source told the entertainment outlet. Galvin had released a typed apology through Twitter just hours after the interview's online publishing.

In a recent op-ed, this reporter noted the hypocrisy of a network penalizing an actor for speaking out against bias in the entertainment industry, which is his workplace. Disney, the parent company of ABC, has a failing grade in GLAAD's report of LGBT representation from major studios. A representative from ABC also declined to respond to Galvin's interview and the future of the show. 

"We have no comment," the rep stated.

In his most recent interview with The Advocate on an different topic, Savage praised the show and described the Real O’Neals as a standard-bearer for a message about unconditional love.

“By exploring the obviously loving relationship between Kenny and Eileen, his mom who doesn’t completely accept his homosexuality, the Real O’Neals is hopefully letting gay kids know that coming out is a process and that your parents may not be where you want them to be right away but you can love them along the way,” he said. “Kenny sticks up for himself, he makes demands, but he loves his mom the way he hopes his mom can love him someday — unconditionally.”

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