Michael Cimino, star of the Hulu series Love, Victor, says he’s been on the receiving end of homophobic messages since taking on the role of a gay-questioning high school student.
In a video chat with Attitude Magazine, Cimino (who identifies as straight) was asked about viewers who might struggle to separate actors from their characters and whether he’d experienced any homophobia since the launch of the series.
Cimino acknowledged he had.
“To be honest, I actually have gotten homophobic messages. What’s the craziest part is, it’s like sometimes, it’s from people I know, which is even crazier.
“I think it just kind of shows where the world’s at, and possibly how much this show is actually needed. I feel like it starts a conversation, and I think that’s the most important thing. Especially in a time like the world is right now, we need more conversations started.”
Asked how he responded to the homophobic remarks, the 21-year-old explained he took the moment as an opportunity to educate.
“As far as when it was people I know, I would either kind of lean into it, and be like, ‘OK, and what?’ or I would try to enlighten them as much as I possibly could.”
“To be honest, there are so many undertones of understated homophobia in the world. And a lot of people have these little microaggressions that they don’t realize are actually homophobic. And when they do stuff like that, they’re sending homophobic messages.”
“I feel like the best thing to do is try to educate them or realize that they’re ignorant and you can’t really say anything that’s going to help them, unfortunately.”
While Cimino got some pushback from playing the role of “Victor,” a lot of the world celebrated the series.
When Love, Victor debuted last June, it became the streaming platform’s number one drama and was quickly renewed for a second season.
Love, Victor premieres in the UK on February 23 on the Disney+ platform Star.