Many thanks to Susan for this article!
Rings actor hurt by gay taunt
Evening Post – February 21, 2000
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In The Lord Of The Rings trilogy it was the evil Saruman who taunted the good wizard Gandalf.
Now British actor Sir Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s $360 million project, has been taunted on the Internet about his homosexuality.
Sir Ian, a gay rights activist for many years, arrived in New Zealand last month to take up a leading role in the movie.
According to Sir Ian’s website, some Lord Of The Rings fans on the Internet recently criticised his casting as Gandalf with “cranky anti-gay remarks”.
In an essay on the website titled A Gay Gandalf — Homophobia Is Everywhere, Sir Ian said he was hurt by the criticism but not surprised.
“. . . it was not surprising that an uncensored Internet should recently criticise my casting as Gandalf in homophobic terms. Cranky anti-gay remarks in [Internet] chat rooms remind me of verbal abuse in the playground . . . Many unthinking people just don’t like the idea of gays joining in their games, nor in the military and, it would seem, in the movies,” he said.
“When gay activists refer to a widespread disaffection or fear of homosexuals and call it homophobia, our opponents are sceptical . . . Time and time again they are proven wrong.”
Sir Ian helped establish Britain’s Stonewall Group, which fights for legal and social rights for gays and lesbians.