Sainz, who is vice president of communications at the HRC, said he understood the claim to privacy. “She wants to be judged on her merits as a director and actress and not necessarily by her private life,” he said. “This shouldn't be the headline of her illustrious career — it's a footnote.”
The privacy argument has come up in other recent instances of celebrities coming out. Last summer, CNN journalist Anderson Cooper confirmed he is gay after years of reluctance to go public. He said that, as a reporter, he had wanted to keep his orientation private for professional reasons, but finally realized that “visibility is important.”
Soon after, R&B star Frank Ocean announced on his Tumblr page that his first love was a man. “I don't have any secrets I need to keep anymore,” Ocean wrote. And that same month, when pioneering astronaut Sally Ride died, her orientation was disclosed posthumously in an obituary she wrote with her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy.
On The Huffington Post's “Gay Voices” page on Monday, entertainment writer Deb Baer called Foster a “coward” and said she “could have helped millions of people by coming out years ago.”
“Why am I so angry?” Baer wrote. “Because I'm roughly the same age as Jodie, and yet I had the courage to come out exactly 20 years ago.” She added: “The ‘privacy' excuse is just that: An excuse.”
The editor of “Gay Voices,” Noah Michelson, said Baer's view was in the minority — most of his site's followers were very happy with Foster's action, he noted — but that he himself had problems with her speech.
“She did it with a sort of bitterness, a hesitation,” he said. “It was almost like she was being pulled out of the closet, like she HAD to do it.”