When former Bachelor and NFL player Colton Underwood publicly came out as gay on “Good Morning America” in April, the world’s reaction wasn’t universally supportive. To be clear, no one was shaming Colton for being gay, but there were some sharp critiques of how and when he made the announcement.
Some accused Colton of trying to monetize his coming out, as Variety reported his experience would be documented in a Netflix reality show co-starring Gus Kenworthy as his “gay guide.” Others speculated that he had timed the announcement deliberately to overshadow the fact that in September 2020, his ex-girlfriend Cassie Randolph had filed a restraining order against him and accused him of stalking her — including putting a tracking device on her car.
Colton addressed the blowback in an interview with Variety on May 12 and attempted to set the record straight. Did he succeed in changing the narrative back to his favor? Let’s break down what he said.
Colton Underwood denies trying to change a narrative
First addressing the stalking allegations made by Cassie Randolph, as well as broader accusations of “abuse,” Colton Underwood told Variety, “I did not physically touch or physically abuse Cassie in any way, shape or form.” He continued, “I never want people to think that I’m coming out to change the narrative, or to brush over and not take responsibility for my actions, and now that I have this gay life that I don’t have to address my past as a straight man.” Cassie dropped the restraining order after two months.
Many, including public figures and the 35,000 people who signed a Change.org petition to cancel the show, have also been critical of Colton’s decision to star in his own Netflix series, arguing that his privileged status as a hot, white man gives him unfair access to a platform other, more marginalized queer people are more deserving of. Colton told the outlet that the show will be about more than just his LGBTQ+ story, and will explore his position of privilege. Of his co-star, Gus Kenworthy, he said, “He’s been somebody that I’ve not only learned so much from, but he’s held me accountable and he’s allowed me to see the privilege of being a straight-presenting gay, white man.” He also stressed how much it would have meant to him if he’d seen a gay football player when he was young.
Now fans will have to decide whether Colton’s explanations are good enough.
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