J August Richards, star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel, just came out as gay

Council of Dads actor J August Richards

Former Angel star J August Richards has come out as gay – after taking on a gay role on the drama Council of Dads.

The actor, best known for his roles as Charles Gunn on Angel and Deathlok on Agents of Shield, plays Oliver, a happily married gay Black man with a daughter, in the new NBC drama.

In an Instagram Live with co-star Sarah Wayne Callies, Richards said it had been important to him to open up about his own sexuality with his cast mates before taking on the role.

J August Richards felt pressure to come out for Council of Dads.

The actor explained of the pressure he felt: “If I think about why I even got involved in this industry, it was really to combat oppression.

“I knew how I was affected by the people of colour I saw on television, or that I didn’t see on television, so this being a married, gay man, with a family… on television I don’t take anything I do lightly, and you have an opportunity to put an image into millions of home. I wanted that image to be honest and I wanted to be correct.”

Council of Dads actor J August Richards.

Council of Dads actor J August Richards. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

He continued: “Honestly, it required me to show up fully in a way that I don’t always when I’m working.

“I knew that I could not portray this gay man honestly without letting you all know that I am a gay man myself. I’ve never done that with the people that I’ve worked with.

“That responsibility carried me to do that, because I knew how important it is to other people out there like me, who would need to see that role model.”

Fans praise actor for ‘powerful’ coming out moment.

Thanking her cast mate, Callies wrote on Instagram: “Sharing this moment with you was one of the most meaningful things in my life. Love you, friend.”

Fans sent messages of support to the actor. One wrote: “I have been a wholehearted fan since you first guested on Angel. You didn’t owe it to anyone to come out, and it’s wonderful that you have anyway. Excited to be a fan for another 20 years. This bisexual Black woman is grateful.”

Another added: “That was one of the most powerful moments I’ve ever been witness to. Thank you for sharing it with us, friend.”

Council of Dads has plenty of LGBT+ representation, also featuring a transgender child.