Outed Telenovela Actor Takes A Stand Against Homophobic Attacks

"I never felt like a criminal... for being homosexual."

A Brazilian telenovela star who was outed by tabloids and hit with homophobic cyberattacks is taking a stand against critics.

Rumors have long circulated about Brazilian soap star Leonardo Vieira—best known for soaps like Senhora do Destino, Prova de Amor and Caminhos do Coração—but it wasn’t confirmed until a photo of him kissing another man went viral in December.

Some fans congratulated Vieira, but he also received a slew of negative comments from trolls, who called him “pig” and “trash,” and declared “the world is lost.”

The 48-year-old has since said he was never really in the closet, noting that his conservative, Catholic family has known he was gay for decades and fully accepts him. He says he’s using the incident as an opportunity to affect change.

Vieira reported the online harassment to Brazil’s Human Rights Commission, and wrote an open letter to the press denouncing the attacks, saying, “I never felt like a criminal or to blame for being homosexual… the fact of being gay never hurt anyone, if anything it hurt myself.”

“Being a human being with good character—honest, loyal, loyal, polite, kind, generous and other qualities—is much more important than who you kiss or relate to sexually, regardless of whether you are male or female.”

We say whomever Viera chooses to share his life with is pretty lucky.

Almoço com o elenco de #noveemponto no delicioso #tartuferiasanpaolo

A post shared by Leonardo Vieira (@leonardovieirator) on

Dia de banho. ##dogslover #instadog

A post shared by Leonardo Vieira (@leonardovieirator) on

#sol #luzesombra #listras #chiaroscuro #photo #selfie

A post shared by Leonardo Vieira (@leonardovieirator) on

h/t: Unicorn Booty

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.