Jesse Tyler Ferguson is defending Modern Family’s gay couple after out actor Tuc Watkins called Mitch and Cam “the gay equivalent of blackface.” Watkins, who played one half of the suburban gay couple on Desperate Housewives, also referred to the couple as an “80s stereotype” and “not modern at all.”
A modern man himself, Watkins came out publicly last year before having twins via surrogate.
According to Greg In Hollywood, Watkins’ Facebook post read:
Hmm. I think “Modern Family” is clever, hilarious, even terrifically subtle at times. But, for the most part, I have a hard time laughing at the gay guys. In fact, I kinda cringe. It feels a little bit like the gay equivalent of “blackface.” It doesn’t feel “modern” at all.
Sure, people come in all shapes, sizes, etc. So why are we fed such 80s stereotypes every week?
Ferguson’s response on Facebook this week praised Mitch and Cam for being positive role models for kids: “As a closeted kid of the 80’s I would have loved to have had a show like Modern Family to watch with my parents,.”
It’s also worth pointing out that Mitch and Cam’s presence on the show is progressive in itself—Haft Sang, an Iranian copycat version of Modern Family, erased the couple (and any gay content) from all its scripts.