Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday has been widely described as her coming out by the media, although she’s previously acknowledged her former lesbian partner. It has also not impressed some.
The 50-year-old actress was honoured with the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award and used her speech to justify her lack of openness in the media about her sexual orientation.
In the lengthy, moving but also rambling monologue, Foster commented that “I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met.
She went on to say: “But now, apparently I’m told, that every celebrity is expected to honour the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime time reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I’m not Honey Boo Boo child.”
While the star, who began her career as a child, has never confirmed in an interview that she is lesbian she has also never hidden her same-sex relationships.
“But seriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too might value privacy above all else,” Foster said.
While the speech caused a furore on social media platforms and in the media, the actress has in fact previously acknowledged her sexuality by thanking her then partner, Cydney Bernard.
In 2007, at the 16th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Beverly Hills, she thanked “my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss.”
On Sunday, despite the two women no longer being together, Foster again thanked Bernard, with whom she had two sons.
“There is no way I could ever stand here without acknowledging one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life, my confessor, ski buddy, consigliere, most beloved BFF of 20 years, Cydney Bernard. Thank you, Cyd,” Foster said.
“I am so proud of our modern family. Our amazing sons, Charlie and Kit, who are my reason to breathe and to evolve, my blood and soul. And boys, in case you didn’t know it, this song, all of this, this song is for you.”
While celebrities such as Rosie O’Donnell, Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and even Chelsea Clinton praised Foster, others were critical of Foster’s somewhat ambiguous speech.
Writer Brett Easton Ellis tweeted: “Jodie Foster speech: doesn’t really come out, brags about being 50, kills off her mother, celebrated by the LBGT community for coming out…”
Gay Star News reported that in a Facebook post, which was later deleted, openly-gay actor and activist Wilson Cruz who came out almost 20 years ago, commented: “I’m glad that Jodie Foster thinks that coming out publicly is no big deal and that you don’t have to do interviews and make a big deal about it.
“She’s right…TODAY, you MAY NOT HAVE TO, but there was a time, not too long ago, that it was an act of PRIDE, it was ACTIVISM, to proclaim your truth in order to shed light and, sometimes, save lives.”