Despite Hollywood’s reputation for being a liberal hotbed, some stubborn forms of prejudice persist, such as the lingering notion that it’s a potential career-killer for certain high-profile types to come out of the closet. Entertainers of various stripes who are willing often face a tricky situation. Even when the public reaction is positive, stars have to deal with the risk-averse biases of industry executives and agents, whose reservations may be financially motivated, but the end result’s still the same. So it’s not entirely surprising, although it’s definitely depressing, that the costs may seem too steep to justify an attempt to negotiate that particular public-private divide.
Luckily, LBGTQ celebrities have at least one expert in town to help them handle the public, as well as their own handlers, when they’re ready to come out. That would be Howard Bragman, co-founder of the Bragman, Nyman, Cafarelli public relations firm, who’s making a name for himself by making the Hollywood closet a little less crowded. —KA
Read more about Bragman in LA Weekly’s recent profile here.
Nikki Finke in “Deadline Hollywood”:
Bragman isn’t yet as well-known for this as for founding major flackery BNC (Bragman, Nyman, Cafarelli) or and his new boutique PR firm Fifteen Minutes. But the newspaper says “the publicist has created an unusual, if not remarkable, niche. He is not merely helping gay actors to form sensible plans for going public. The gay guru of Hollywood, Bragman is in fact facing down the U.S. film industry on its insistence that gay actors remain in the closet. The publicist hasn’t brought out an A-list gay male actor — yet. But Bragman says that day is coming, and after the first superstar decides to reveal himself, a fundamental shift in American acceptance of gay leading men may not be far behind. He’s currently working with a famous musician who’s still closeted from the public, but who will come out next year. And the manager of one major movie star approached Bragman a year ago and asked about his client’s possibly going public, but the actor still refuses to pull the trigger…. But the Hollywood machine — studio heads, agents and casting directors — is a surprisingly conservative entity.