A few days ago, we discussed whether or not it was ethical to out gay celebrities. We came to the conclusion that yes, it was ethical, because a celebrity, in becoming a celebrity, forsakes his or her right to personal life. Being outed is an occupational hazard. If celebrities can be clever enough to keep their preferences secret, good for them. If they’re sloppy and they get busted, that’s something that we as consumers have a right to find out about.
But what about when celebrities flip the equation and use consumers’ sexuality against them? These are stars who, even though they’re “straight” in real life, play “gay” in magazines, television, and film. They never say that they’re gay - that’d be career suicide for big sex symbols like the guys on this list - but they capitalize on the extreme gay-friendliness of today’s culture (think of One Direction’s constant patting and grabbing) to get "pink" dollars.
Some people think this is unkosher. According to them, gay stories are so mocked and marginalized in larger society that alluding to them is akin to dangling a medium-rare steak before an emaciated dog.
But we think it’s not the worst thing in the world. Gay people know what they’re up against. Oftentimes, seeing Nick Jonas is his underwear is just more interesting than political correctness.
If you’re curious, carry on, and see which 10 men are gay for pay, tantalizing their gay fans so they’ll hand over their precious money.
10 James Franco
At the top of the list is A-lister James Franco. The gay moments of his career are innumerable, but always anchored in the fact that he’s straight (remember when he sent weird texts to that underage girl in Scotland?)
His obvious heterosexuality hasn’t stopped him from going gay over and over again. He was Sean Penn’s younger piece in Milk. He was in the “Bound 2” parody, “Bound 3.” He made a movie called Interior. Leather Bar. soaked with lube and man sweat that was meant as forty minutes of deleted footage from the 1980s gay film Cruising.
The whole time, of course, James Franco’s impish good-looks make him a gay sex symbol in and of themselves. He just plays very overtly to his preexisting fanbase to reinforce his status.
9 Jensen Ackles
Because of his good looks, Jensen Ackles immediately became a gay sex symbol when he got famous. At first, it just simmered in the background. But when the zeitgeist allowed for it, the producers of Supernatural, the show that made him famous, started to play up his gay appeal.
They inserted a gay “romance” between Ackles’ character Dean and an angel named Castiel, portrayed by Misha Collins. Romance in quotes because it never really went all the way, like a straight romance eventually would. It kept gay viewers on tenterhooks without ever offending conservative audiences. Some people even quit watching the show, so frustrated they were with seasons of unrewarded expectations.
In the final offense, Dean tells Castiel that he needs him, but a leaked script showed that he was originally supposed to say “I love you.”
8 Josh Hutcherson
Josh Hutcherson is definitely straight. He’s dating his Paradise Lost co-star Claudia Traisac and has been packing in the PDA. Maybe it’s to return from the remarks he made in 2013 alluding to his sexual fluidity.
To OUT magazine, Hutcherson said: “I’ve met guys all the time that I’m like, Damn, that’s a good-looking guy, you know? ... I’ve never been, like, Oh, I want to kiss that guy. I really love women. But I think defining yourself as 100% anything is kind of near-sighted and close-minded.” He’s also quipped that he’s “in love” with Hunger Games co-star Sam Claflin.
Even though he’s just a little fella, Hutcherson has seduced gay audiences, especially after his naked photos leaked a while back. His comments about sexual fluidity, ostensibly about normalizing gay attraction, could also be construed as an invitation to fantasize…
7 Zac Efron
Starring in such a blatantly homoerotic movie was a bold move for an actor who has consistently faced rumors about his sexuality. Neighbors, the buddy comedy featuring Zac Efron and Seth Rogen, was rife with allusions to homosexuality.
First, there was Zac Efron’s body. When Seth Rogen’s character sees him standing shirtless, he quips that “He looks like something a gay guy created in a lab.”
Then there’s the fact that producers aggressively advertised the movie in gay magazines (which apparently worked because the movie had a $51 million opening weekend.)
Finally, there’s the shot of Zac Efron from the movie That Awkward Moment posing naked, lying on a toilet so as to pee after taking a Viagra. If his lithe, hairless body lying butt-up didn’t inspire gay chop-licking...
6 Adam Levine
Adam Levine has made our job much, much easier. Listen to what he had to say to OUT magazine in 2011.
“If people didn’t think there was a small chance I was gay, then I wouldn’t be doing my job very well. Look at the best ones, guys whose sexuality was always questioned. Bowie. Jagger. Freddie Mercury. I wouldn’t be the front man of a band if that question hadn’t come up at some point.”
For the interview, he did a sexy photo-shoot where he took off his shirt to reveal his smooth, inked body. Then there was the time he showed his bare buttocks in the “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt” video. Then there’s the on-going bromance he has with his The Voice co-star Blake Shelton.
As long as he has those smoldering good looks, he’s gonna use ‘em to get gay men to come to his shows and buy his albums.
5 Dave Franco
Dave Franco started his career with Funny or Die videos. Many of them were homoerotic. Let’s not forget his escalating “You’re So Hot” video with McLovin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. But the gayest of all the videos he made was “Go F*** Yourself”, where his girlfriend tells him to, well, f*** himself, so he meets himself in a bar, then, after a montage of romantic summer love, he gets intimate with himself and they both enjoy it tremendously.
Aside from that, he was in Neighbors, which we’ve already covered as being very homoerotic.
Even his character in 21 Jump Street was homoerotic, being really handsome and fit, but also using renewable energy and running to the defense of his gay friend when Channing Tatum punches him.
4 Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy is the butchest of the butch. There are few actors in Hollywood, a town full of total pretty boys, who could convincingly play the bare-chested leading role in Warrior. Tom Hardy is one of them.
That might be why gay men, who are responsible for the Village People song “Macho Man”, adore him so much. They tend to eat up immature, "alpha" masculinity with more gusto than women.
Tom Hardy panders to this. In a 2008 interview with gay British magazine Attitude, Hardy said: "As a boy? Of course I have. I'm an actor for f***'s sake. I'm an artist. I've played with everything and everyone.”
In 2011, he backtracked a little, telling Marie Claire: “I have never put my penis in a man. I've never had a c*** in my a***, and I have no f*****g desire for it. If that's what you like, cool. But it doesn't do it for me.”
Even though he corrected this "misconstruction", he’s still constantly posing shirtless, tantalizing the “more visual of the sexes…"
3 Channing Tatum
Speaking of 21 Jump Street, Channing Tatum is the next item on our list of gay for pay celebrities. He’s the producer of both Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL, which, try as they may, failed miserably at shaking the cultural association between male strippers and gay men. It didn’t help that mega sex symbol and gay man himself Matt Bomer belonged to the cast.
And, as Tatum said on Ellen, he had to wax off most of the hair on his body to get ready for his role as a male stripper (that and working out like 10 hours a day, presumably). This recalls a conversation on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where Kimmy tricks her friend’s boyfriend into admitting that he likes hairless men.
Could it be that there’s some recognized taste that Tatum is appealing to? Probably. Magic Mike has been alluded to as the gayest movie ever made.
2 Harry Styles
From the package grabbing, bum cupping, cheek kissing, drag-dressing, bed-snuggling shenanigans, one might assume that One Direction is a band of gay men. But they’re not. They’re just five friends (now four, unfortunately) who are reveling in the loosening restrictions on platonic male intimacy.
But Harry Styles ups the ante a little bit, teasing his gay fans more than the other band members (especially Liam Payne, who has made rather unsavory remarks). In a 2013 interview with British GQ, Styles said that he doesn’t think he’s bisexual, he means he’s pretty sure he’s not. Of course, he means to say: “OH, GOD, NO!” but it sounds a little more titillating to leave the possibility of male attraction open, especially now that it’s fashionable to say that one can appreciate the beauty of the male form, etc.
1 Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas is the absolute worst offender in terms of teasing his gay fans.
First off, there was his photo shoot with Flaunt magazine where he showed his butt crack (who cares about male butt crack expect for gay guys) and grabbed his package while licking his lips.
Then, there was the time where he stripped down in a gay club in New York, which he says he was “forced” to do. As an interviewer commented on the impromptu show: “I saw the video online, Nick. I didn't see anyone taking your shirt off for you.”
Then there’s his character on the new Ryan Murphy show Scream Queens. Jonas plays Boone Clemens, a gay college student in love with his hunky roommate Chad Radwell. This would be an extremely familiar situation for gay men, leading a lot of believe that Nick Jonas is trying to communicate that he understands and empathizes with gay yearning.