Schitt’s Creek icon Dan Levy says gay ‘witch hunt’ made him want to ‘hide’ his sexuality

Dan Levy has reflected on not feeling “particularly free” to be an out gay man during his MTV days.

The Schitt’s Creek star and creator made his television debut in 2006 hosting the Canadian version of MTV Live with Jessi Cruickshank.

Appearing on the debut episode of the Phone a Friend with Jessi Cruickshank podcast, the former colleagues unpacked what hosting the show was like for Levy.

“It was kind of like, ‘Conform to the culture of the workplace or sit it out.’ But it was never like, ‘Let’s pause what we’re doing to listen to you,'” Levy said.

“I remember walking into work one day and someone asked me what I did on the weekend. I said, ‘Well, I installed a dimmer switch in my apartment.’ And that person said, ‘Wow, it’s almost like you’re a real man.'”

Levy was out as gay in his personal life at the time, but not publicly. He confirmed he’s a member of the LGBTQ+ community in 2015.

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Dan Levy hosting MTV Live and interviewing Kelly Clarkson in 2006 (George Pimentel/WireImage)

Of the casual homophobia, Levy ruminated: “And I thought, ‘This isn’t right.’ But at the time, there was no sensitivity, and there was nobody to go to because it was a different time.”

Levy said that at the time, there wasn’t “a ton of out actors that were thriving and drowning in work”, and that many gossip bloggers “[made] it their job to out people without their consent, like it was some kind of news responsibility”.

“We didn’t have the sensitivity, I think, that we do now, at least around people’s coming out and the fact that it’s an incredibly personal experience,” he added.

“I mean, I think we all knew it at the time. So, when you do feel like there’s this hunt to out gay people of note in culture, it almost makes you want to hide even more because you don’t want to draw any attention to yourself.”

Schitt's Creek stars Eugene Levy, Dan Levy, Catherine O'Hara and Annie Murphy all reunite for the Emmy Awards on 19 September 2021
(L-R) Eugene Levy, Dan Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy attend the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on 19 September 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty/Rich Fury)

Following MTV Live, which Levy was involved with from 2006 to 2011, the Canadian actor went on to star in shows such as Degrassi Goes Hollywood and Canada’s Smartest Person.

In 2015 he created Schitt’s Creek with his father, Eugene Levy. Dan Levy’s character, David, was one of the first pansexual TV characters.

It won nine Primetime Emmy Awards, two SAG Awards, and two GLAAD Media Awards for outstanding comedy series. Levy himself also won four Emmy Awards for the show’s sixth and final season.