Haaz Sleiman has come out as gay — and also as a "total bottom" — in response to bigotry.
The Nurse Jackie star, 41, revealed his sexual orientation Tuesday on Facebook, in a strongly worded video message to those who would commit violence against LGBT people.
“I am a gay, Muslim, Arab-American man. And I’m going to take it even further: Not only am I gay, but I’m also a bottom. Not only am I a bottom, but I’m also a total bottom which means I like it up you know where,” he said.
Sleiman posted the video in response to a report that the number of people killed for being LGBT in 2017 has already exceeded the count from 2016. This year, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has counted 33 hate-based homicides of LGBT people.
The Lebanese-American actor, who also had roles in The Visitor and Those People, had words for those who would harm members of the LGBT community.
“I say this to all the homophobes living in the United States of America and across the globe: If you ever come to me, to kill me just because I’m gay, I will destroy you. I might be gay and I might be a nice guy, but don’t get it twisted, because I will fuck you up," he said.
Sleiman had hinted about his sexual orientation on social media in the days leading up to the video.
In 2009, Sleiman told The Advocate he was straight and had a girlfriend, in an interview discussing his role on Nurse Jackie, where he portrayed a gay nurse, Mohammed "Mo-Mo" De La Cruz.
After the LGBT blog Unicorn Booty mentioned this interview in its coverage of his coming out, Sleiman posted again to Facebook. He claimed that he had agreed to speak with The Advocate under the terms of "no personal questions." The reporter asking about his sexual orientation took him by surprise, he said.
"I was so shocked. I froze. My body started shaking. And then I lied and said I was straight. Shame on gay people who are not kind to other gay people. He did that on purpose," Sleiman wrote.
The reporter, Brandon Voss, responded to Sleiman on New Now Next:
I was not informed beforehand that Sleiman wished to avoid any personal questions, a request I would have honored. As I told Sleiman earlier today in a private Facebook message, I regret the unfortunate miscommunication.
My goal, however, was not to be unkind or shocking. When writing for LGBT publications, I respectfully interview LGBT people, straight people, and those who choose not to identify publicly. But because these celebrities are speaking to LGBT press, I do offer them an opportunity to identify if they so choose, with the end goal of celebrating and normalizing all sexual identities.
Had Sleiman replied with “I prefer to keep my private life private” or “It’s more fun to keep people guessing,” I would not have pressed the issue. Had he or his representatives later reached out to request that I edit out the offending exchange, I would have done so without question.
As I wrote Sleiman privately, I hope that he will accept my apology for my part in making him feel uncomfortable and unsafe in the situation.