The Glee and American Horror Story creator reflects on the homophobia he suffered in Hollywood earlier on in his career.
Ryan Murphy has revealed that he was left “stunned” when he was in a meeting with a big television executive and he started to mimic his ‘gay voice’.
“I had one meeting with an executive about a script and I showed up at the meeting and he started imitating my voice and sort of making feminine hand gestures, which I don’t have,” Ryan told the I Think You’re Interesting podcast.
“I never thought that my voice was gay until he repeated it back to me, but I literally was stunned into silence. He was just being really, really brutal to me.
“I was very pained by it. I never understood it. But right from the beginning of my career, interestingly enough, I did feel homophobia and I did feel ‘No.’ And I remember one of my early agents was fired for being gay. This was in the mid-90s if you can imagine.”
The writer – who has also created American Crime Story and Scream Queens – admitted that he struggled to get LGBT+ representation into some of his shows.
“It was really difficult,” he said. “I don’t really talk about it too much because it really is painful and a lot of these people still have jobs.
“But it was really rough because I was a gay kid and I was both popular and persecuted, so I always sort of understood both angles.
“I didn’t dare even start off writing gay characters, but I had sort of outlandish characters in there and I would get notes literally from executives saying, ‘Can this character dress less gay?’ Even if it was like a straight woman.
“Or, ‘The language coming out of this character’s mouth seems very flamboyant, which we think is too gay and will offend some of our viewers. Can you take that out?’
“Then two things happened,” he revealed. “It just sort of made me mad, so I just sort of leaned into it and, you know, I wrote a bisexual character. I started to write about lesbianism… I had gay characters. I would say, ‘No. I won’t do it. Why do you want it taken out?'”
Ryan Murphy’s latest show – Feud: Bette and Joan – will focus on the tumultuous relationship between silver screen icons Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during the filming of thriller Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
It starts in the US on FX this weekend (5 March).