Colton Haynes Was Told He Is ‘Too Gay’ For Hollywood

Colton Haynes Was Told He Is ‘Too Gay’ For Hollywood
Image: Colton Haynes

Actor Colton Haynes, in a provocative and disturbing self-penned  essay for New York magazine, is exposing Hollywood’s dark and  seamy side, and the emotional abuse he suffered in his quest for  stardom.  

“Before I came to Hollywood, I was confidently queer,” writes Haynes,  in Losing a Teenage Dream. “Years of mixed messages in the industry  changed that.” 

“It was explained to me repeatedly — by managers, agents,  publicists, executives, producers — that the only thing standing  between me and the career I wanted was that I was gay.” 

“But lots of the decision-makers are gay, so play that game! Now that  I’m older and sober, I’m trying to square who I am with the inauthentic  version of myself I invested in for years. I often wonder how different  things would’ve been if I were allowed to be who I was when I moved  to town: a hopeful kid confident in his sexuality.” 

 Haynes Receives Praise for His Shocking Story

The 33 year old actor, best known for his roles on Arrow, Teen Wolf and American Horror Story: Cult, received praise for his soul-baring  article from fellow actors, with Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson  posting on Instagram, “Thank you for writing this! I’m so proud of you  & happy to call you a friend!”  

Aisha Tyler meanwhile tweeted, “An incredibly brave and open article  by @ColtonLHaynes.So impressed by the fearlessness of this piece.” 

“To be a gay actor in Hollywood, even in 2021, is to be inundated with  mixed messages: Consumers are mostly straight, so don’t alienate them,” Haynes writes. 

“The thing that made me valuable in private — my conspicuously gay  sexuality — was a liability as I tried to make my way through the  industry.” 

 Moving Back Into The Closet


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Colton Haynes (@coltonlhaynes)

Haynes writes, ”My first serious relationship, if you could call it that, at  14, was with a man in his 40s who worked in the area. I began go-go dancing at a gay bar in Wichita that same year — fake ID in hand —  after sneaking in one night with a few castmates from my community theater program. I felt at-home there.” 

Haynes began to pursue a modelling career in the hopes it would take  him away from his Midwestern small town life. He and a boyfriend decided to accept an offer to appear in a photo spread for XY magazine and soon Haynes found himself in Hollywood. 

Success was initially hard to come by, however. Despite his All American good looks, Haynes soon found himself working as a  phone-sex operator. As he finally started to land film and television  work, the XY photos came to haunt the fledgling actor. His  management team would “send cease-and-desist letters” whenever  the photos threatened to surface.  

When Haynes was rumoured to be dating Lauren Conrad, of The  Hills, he was told “not to deny our rumored relationship — better to  have the tabloids speculate about us.” 

Haynes reposted the XY cover photo to his Instagram account in June, saying at the time, “I spent a big part of my career trying to  erase it from the internet while I was still in the closet. Partly because  so many ppl in Hollywood told me I would never work as an openly  gay actor, but part of it was because I was incredibly ashamed…the  boy in these pictures was so open, so free. He had to be taught that it  wasn’t ok to be who he was.” 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Colton Haynes (@coltonlhaynes)

Exploited and Emotionally Abused  

Haynes also fearlessly recounts in detail his association with a former  unnamed manager whose unscrupulous behaviour and seeming  obsession with Haynes personal characteristics, led to a series of  humiliating encounters. 

Brad (a pseudonym), told Haynes, “Why are you using your hands  so much when you talk? And your posture is too … loose. We’re definitely going to have to change your mannerisms.” Brad told  Haynes he was too “theatre,” which was “code for gay.” 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Colton Haynes (@coltonlhaynes)

Haynes notes how he “did what I was told to do. I took lessons with a  voice instructor who had me talk while holding a highlighter between  my teeth for the entire class so that when I took it out, my diction was  crisp and clear. I practiced speaking with a folded Post-it note under my tongue to teach me to make my S sounds less sibilant, since the softness of them made me sound gay.” 

Brad invited him to attend an acting class, and Haynes recognized  many of his classmates as successful film and television actors,  including “Ethan, whom I recognized from a popular television show.” 

Brad continued his verbal attacks of Haynes, criticising his work in a  scene by saying, “‘Stop moving your face so much. Not so musical theater!’” 

 The Agony of “Sexy-Scene Night”  


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Colton Haynes (@coltonlhaynes)

Another class was “sexy-scene night.” The actors were required to  perform sex scenes fully naked in front of the rest of the class. Haynes and Ethan were scene partners. As they rehearsed their scene, Ethan told Haynes “I’ll be mounting you and thrusting in and out of you.”  

“So why don’t we get it out of the way and make out now? So we’re  both comfortable,” the actor asked Haynes, who added, “I’m straight,  just so you know.” Ethan then forcefully kissed Haynes. 

“We began with our lines,” Haynes recalls. “Eventually, I had to take off my pants. I stared into [the other actor] eyes, feeling everyone  else’s eyes on my body. I pulled down my boxers, and I got on my  knees. I turned Ethan, bare naked, toward the audience and began  performing a fake oral-sex scene on him. Then he threw me down on  all fours and simulated penetration while my dick flapped back and  forth, slapping against my stomach. I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t  have to look at the audience.” 

“’We have got to cut that hair,’” Brad told Haynes afterwards. “And  please stop moving your forehead so much. It looks like I could grow crops in those lines. We’ve been over this already.’ Of all the things  that happened to me in my life, I had never felt more demoralised.” 

 Haynes Falls Into Addiction  


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Colton Haynes (@coltonlhaynes)

At Brad’s urging, Haynes got a haircut and was sent for a meeting  with an agent “in a cowboy hat and an unbuttoned western shirt.”  When the agent told Brad he wasn’t interested, Brad ended his  association. 

Brad told Haynes, “’I’m sorry, but this isn’t working out. Your voice,  your mannerisms — they’re still too … gay. You still have so much  work to do. We think you will be better served at a different  management company.’” Brad handed Haynes a  business card, in case he needed money. 

“My mental health deteriorated, and I grew dependent on alcohol and  pills,” Haynes writes. “When a doctor suggested my secret was making me sick, I knew he was right. I came out of the closet in an  interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2016. I hoped it would set me  free, and in some ways it did.” 

Coming Out And Losing Work


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Colton Haynes (@coltonlhaynes)

Haynes came out in 2016. “Incidentally, the work mostly dried up,”  Haynes writes. “When I was closeted, I beat out straight guys to play  straight roles, and I played them well. Now, the only auditions I get are for gay characters, which remain sparse. Is that because I’m not very good? Maybe. But that didn’t stop me from booking roles before. It’s  no different for the young gay actors I see coming up today, trying to make it in a system that isn’t built for them.” 

Years later, while attending an industry event Haynes was seated at  the same table as Brad. “Later in the night, he came to my side of the  table and said quietly to me, ‘Dropping you was a mistake.’” 

Haynes celebrated his personal growth on Instagram in June, saying,  “Being gay is worth celebrating. I wish i’d figured that out sooner, but  I’m so glad to know it now. To everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community,  I hope you celebrate yourself this month & always, exactly as you  are.”



You May Also Like

Comments are closed.