GLAAD (US), September 1995
Actor Keanu Reeves is the subject of Vanity Fair's August 1995 cover story ("The Wild One: Keanu Reeves on Sex, Hollywood and Life on the Run"). Written by Michael Shnayerson, this feature is standard fare -- a typical mix of doting biography ("Like every strong, athletic boy in Canada, Keanu learned to adore ice hockey") and pop psychoanalysis ("Answering earnestness with earnestness, I wonder aloud if there isn't in Keanu some central struggle between discipline and nihilism . . . .").
The Vanity Fair feature is unique in one respect, however. At one point in the article, the "sexually enigmatic" Reeves offers some relatively direct answers to questions about his sexual orientation (i.e., he's straight). Shnayerson hyped this angle on the daily television show "Entertainment Tonight" ("ET"). That broadcast left much to be desired.
The "ET" segment opened with a derogatory teaser, which announced that Keanu Reeves was "finally coming clean about some dirty Hollywood rumors." During the show, a misleading newspaper headline -- "Keanu Blasts Back At Gay Slur" -- was displayed without comment. Finally, "ET" host John Tesh concluded the spot on a note of homophobic hope; the heterosexual love scenes in Reeves' two new films, Tesh said, "should help dispel the gay rumors."
In the Vanity Fair interview, Reeves makes a point of insisting that he does NOT resent the rumors about his sexuality because "there is nothing wrong with being gay." For Reeves, such rumors are neither "dirty" nor "slurs." But "ET" never got around to mentioning this aspect of the story; the segment was only interested in DISPELLING homosexuality, not DISCUSSING it.
When a young actor wants to talk about NOT BEING A HOMOSEXUAL, it's big news. But if he wants to talk about NOT BEING A HOMOPHOBE, the media aren't interested.