Olivia Wilde’s clunky ‘coming out’ comparison prompts fierce debate about what counts as homophobia

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde is facing backlash on social media after resurfaced comments showed she compared directing a film to coming out as LGBT+.

The interview causing controversy is a 2019 episode of the TV series Off Camera With Sam Jones.  

In the show, Wilde, discussing her transition from acting to directing, said: “I almost feel like someone who’s come out of the closet.

“There’s this feeling of honesty about what I really want to do, and it’s a level of comfort that comes from being true to yourself that I haven’t felt in a long time.”

Other resurfaced comments showed that in 2012, Wilde said that she once considered “a soft kind of lesbian relationship, just gentle kissing and scissoring” when she was lonely after the end of her first marriage, before she met another man.

Fans were divided over the comments, with one writing: “I have always respected Olivia Wilde but when it comes down to this it’s terrible.”

“I didn’t get called homophobic slurs by the popular straight kids in school for Olivia Wilde to compare a career change to ‘coming out the closet’,” said another.

Some on social media even went as far as to brand the Booksmart director “homophobic”, but others insisted that a clumsy comparison does not a homophobe make.

One Twitter user wrote: “If you’re cancelling Olivia Wilde for this you truly need to find something productive to do.

“No, probably not a good comparison but it’s not ‘disgusting’ or ‘homophobic’.”

Wilde has a long history of advocating for the LGBT+ community, as many pointed out, including having a place on the board of trustees for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Southern California, alongside Barbara Streisand and Jane Fonda.

In 2016, discussing her role as a bisexual doctor on House, Wilde told Advocate: “We actually had lesbian writers who asked me, ‘Are you OK with this? Aren’t you afraid this is going to fuck up your career?’ That seemed crazy to me.

“Other people said, ‘If you always play gay, people will think you’re gay. You should be careful.’ Careful of what? Evolution?”