Did Jodie Foster come out at the Golden Globes? She accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award on Sunday night with what was clearly an emotional and revealing speech. It’s just hard to say exactly what she did–or didn’t–reveal.
The 50-year-old actress, who has long refused to discuss her private life, appeared to acknowledge publicly for the first time that she is a lesbian.
“I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never been able to air in public. So, a declaration that I’m a little nervous about but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist.” She continued, “So I’m just going to put it out there, loud and proud. I’m going to need your support on this. I am…single,” she said, sparking laughter in the crowd.
“Seriously, I hope that you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age….But now apparently I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference…that’s just not me,” said the two-time Oscar winner. She talked about the importance of privacy, especially for someone like herself who has been in the public eye since she was a toddler; at that point it seemed that she had decided not to come out. But towards the end of her speech she thanked her “ex-partner in love” and “co-parent” Cydney Bernard.
The “Silence of the Lambs” star was praised by several gay rights groups and members of gay Hollywood. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s Herndon Graddick said in a statement that “when one of the most critically-praised actresses speaks about her identity and relationships on one of the largest stages in the world, it shows just how much the tide has turned…this is a significant moment for LGBT visibility.”
Openly-gay comedian Rosie O’Donnell tweeted “Jodie Foster–rather amazing speech.” Singer Ricky Martin, who came out in 2010, tweeted [“Jodie] Foster On your terms. Its your time! Not before nor after. Its when it feels right!”
But not everyone was so complimentary, with several criticizing the actress for not coming out sooner, for joking, and not being clear during her speech on a serious topic.
The Wall Street Journal’s Eric Sasson called the speech “confrontational, defensive, disjointed,” in addition to seeming “a bit less than gracious.” In the buildup of her speech, Foster joked that she was “single,” but he said “it wasn’t a laughing matter.”
The Huffington Post’s Deb Baer said the speech was cowardly and that Foster “could have helped millions of people by coming out years ago.”
The actress “blamed publicly remaining in the closet all these years–even with a long-term partner and two children–on that whiny excuse that so many celebrities use: ‘privacy.’ Sorry, but there are a lot of ‘private’ stars who don’t do a lot of press and don’t talk about their personal lives, like Daniel Day-Lewis and Johnny Depp, but we know basic facts about them, such as whom they are married to. The ‘privacy’ excuse is just that: an excuse,” argued Baer.
Author and frequent msnbc guest Dave Cullen said on Facebook that he was “irked” by Foster’s “caustic speech.” “So over closeted celebrities whining/bitching how hard it is to maintain their lie.” He noted it was ironic that Foster complained about publicity from such a public stage. “She reveled in her standing ovation. Her attempts to rationalize her lies were also cringe-worthy, ludicrous, and a disservice to kids till telling themselves those lies about why it’s healthy to lie.”