Kate Winslet has said she knows “at least” four gay Hollywood actors who are terrified that coming out will ruin their careers.
“I cannot tell you the number of young actors I know – some well known, some starting out – who are terrified their sexuality will be revealed and that it will stand in the way of their being cast in straight roles,” Kate Winslet said.
The actress said she knows of an actor who was recently told by an American agent to keep their sexuality a secret.
“The agent said: ‘I understand you are bisexual – I wouldn’t publicise that,'” Winslet said. “I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. It’s painful. Because they fear being found out.”
The Titanic star went on to lambast the film industry as being rife with “judgement, discrimination and homophobia”.
Kate Winslet plays lesbian palaeontologist in Ammonite
Winslet’s comments come following the release of Ammonite, which sees her playing nineteenth century palaeontologist Mary Anning.
The film, directed by God’s Own Country creator Francis Lee, follows Anning as she falls in love with a young woman called Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan).
Ammonite has won praise from critics, but the film faced backlash when details were first announced, with some questioning why Anning was being portrayed as a lesbian when there was no evidence that she was queer.
Lee later defended his “truthful” depiction of Anning, and questioned why historic figures must always be imagined as straight when there is no evidence of opposite-sex relationships.
Speaking to Attitude magazine in March, Kate Winslet said the backlash had shown why same-sex love stories are so important.
“There is no historical evidence whatsoever to suggest she had relationships with men, none,” Winslet said. “And she was not married.”
“So I think it should be permissible to explore an alternative love life for that individual, to delve into what might have gone on in the inner workings of their heart.
“And I don’t understand why that matters. I don’t understand what difference it makes to who Mary was and her extraordinary achievements, to pair her with a woman.”