Abbott Elementary star Tyler James Williams has spoken out against online speculation about his sexuality.
The actor posted a message on his Instagram stories calling out the "dangerous" behaviour he's seen of people questioning an individual's sexual orientation online.
In the video shared to celebrate the start of Pride Month, Williams explained how the practice is particularly harmful for those who may be struggling with their identity.
"Usually I wouldn't address stuff like this, but I feel like it as a conversation is bigger than me," Williams began. "I'm not gay, but I think the culture of trying to 'find' some kind of hidden trait or behaviour that a closed person 'let slip' is very dangerous.
"Overanalysing someone's behaviour in an attempt to 'catch' them directly contributes to the anxiety a lot of queer and queer-questioning people feel when they fear living in their truth," he continued. "It makes the most pedestrian of conversations and interactions in spaces feel less safe for our gay brothers and sisters and those who may be questioning."
Williams, who plays first-grade teacher Gregory Eddie on the hit ABC show, went on to explain how this commentary additionally reinforces outdated archetypes which limit 'individual expression" and freedom.
"Being straight doesn't look one way. Being gay doesn't look one way," Williams explained. "And what may seem like harmless fun and conversation may actually be sending a dangerous message to those struggling with real issues.
"I refuse to inadvertently contribute to that message."
The Walking Dead actor ended his message on a more positive light, bringing the attention back to the core principles of Pride and what it stands for.
"I pray that you feel seen in ways that make you feel safe in the celebration that is this month," Williams concluded. "As an ally, I continue to be committed to assisting in that where I can and helping to cultivate a future where we are all accepted and given permission to be ourselves."
It's not the first time the actor has called out social media as having a detrimental role in his career. Williams, who first rose to prominence as a child actor on Chris Rock sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, opened up to GQ in March about his experience with online commentary as a then-teenager in the public eye.
"The time this was happening was the same time the internet was becoming more ingrained in the industry," Williams said. "So as I'm going through the most awkward years of my life, everyone sees it.
"I think my voice was cracking non-stop during seasons two and three. I was trying to find myself in front of everybody. And everybody had an opinion and was getting used to getting theirs out. It was traumatic."
In January, ABC confirmed that Abbott Elementary has been renewed for a third season, with viewers set to see more of Williams as Gregory Eddie in the future.
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