Full transcript here. Her date last night, believe it or not, was wife-abusing, homophobic anti-Semite, Mel Gibson. Would you entrust your young sons to a man with Gibson's violent and vile history? A highlight of her narcissistic, self-loving speech:
I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, co-workers, and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now, apparently, I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show.
What unadulterated bullshit. She never came out until, very obliquely, in 2007. And virtually every coming out these days is low-key, simple and no-drama. I do not remember Anderson Cooper's press conference, fragrance or reality show. She goes on:
[S]eriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then, maybe, then you too would value privacy against all else. Privacy. Some day, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was. I have given everything up there, from the time that I was 3 years old. That’s reality show enough, don’t you think?
"How beautiful it once was"? When gay people were put in jail, or mental institutions, or thrown out of their families – all because of the "beauty" of privacy for Hollywood royalty like Foster? And she honestly believes it's courageous to come out in a retirement speech? Well I guess we should be relieved she didn't leave it for her obit. I defer to a reader's open letter:
Dear Jodie Foster:
There's nothing wrong with not publicly acknowledging the open secret of your sexuality for decades as you so chose. There's also nothing wrong with choosing to kinda-sorta discreetly come out by thanking your partner in a speech in 2007. Yet there is something very tragic and self-contradictory about a bitter diatribe criticizing how other people choose to come out, officially announcing your sexuality on your way out the door of the industry in a non-coming-out speech because you came out "1000 years ago" – while simultaneously defending your fierce desire for privacy – in a brazen attempt to get some of the praise and love you now see the younger gay generation getting for their fearlessness of/indifference to being out… all while being escorted by one of the most well-documented anti-Semitic, homophobic, bigoted assholes in Hollywood history, claiming he "saved" you. If that was indeed your retirement announcement, what a sad end to a stellar career of a brilliant artist. If ever there was a closet you needed to stay in forever, it would be the one marked "Mel Gibson's friend."
J. Bryan Lowder defends Foster:
As far as I’m concerned, as long as a gay person hasn’t been actively pretending to be straight (like a number of people in that hall tonight are probably doing), I don't think she is required to be an activist or even a "role model" for younger LGBT people if she doesn’t wish to be. It is, of course, wonderful when big names like Zachary Quinto and Anderson Cooper have the courage to give up their hetero-privilege in a public pronouncement, and undoubtedly the increasing recognition that so many of our culture-makers are gay has the power to challenge perceptions. But in the midst of the noisy demand that celebrities be “loud and proud,” as Foster put it, the ostensible endgame of the LGBT equality movement can get drowned out: the ability to live our lives as we wish, freely and gently, in peace.
Yes, yes, yes. But the only way we were ever going to get past that oppression was through it. I'm thrilled Foster can now live a fuller life with less fear. I'm saddened she waited until others far less powerful had made the sacrifice to make that possible. And that she waited for the safest moment of all – winning a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award – to do so.