Jesse Tyler Ferguson defended Modern Family‘s portrayal of gay couple, Mitch and Cam, after openly gay actor Tuc Watson bashed the show for its portrayal of gay men on a Facebook post that has since been deleted.
According to Gay Star News, Watkins wrote in his post that the ABC show is “clever, hilarious, even terrifically subtle,” but says he has “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, who is gay in real life, defended the characters of Mitch and Cam, played by Ferguson and two-time Emmy winner Eric Stonestreet.
‘Sorry you feel that way Tuc,’ Ferguson, spent several years playing one half of a gay couple on Modern Family, replied to Watson’s post. ‘I know lots of guys who are just like Cam and lots of guys who are just like Mitch. We can’t be expected to represent every gay person. We can only represent these two people.
Ferguson, who was nominated five times for his portrayal of Mitch on the ABC comedy, describes his character as “basically a version of me…so I never know how to take it when people say that he is stereotypical.”
He then addressed the portrayal of Cam.
‘I still can’t figure out how a clown and football coach who also happens to be gay is a stereotype.
“When all is said and done, it’s a family sitcom. I feel our writers do a fantastic job of servicing 11 characters each week in just 22 minutes. I am incredibly proud to play Mitch and I have a lot of pride in our show.”
Ferguson recalled being a closeted kid in the 1980s who “would have loved to have had a show like Modern Family to watch with my parents.
“It would have meant a lot to me to see who I secretly was reflected on television. TV has come a long way and it continues to forge new ground.”
— Instinct Magazine (@instinctmag) December 23, 2014
Ferguson complimented Watkins’ own work portraying gay men.
“I am thrilled with the work that you did on Desperate Housewives. It opened the door for shows like ours and hopefully we can hold that door open for many more shows to follow us.
“At the end of the day we can’t please everyone..and we shouldn’t try to. Kinda just like life, right?”
— Gay Star News (@gaystarnews) December 22, 2014
Watkins took one more hit before ending his criticism.
“I’m sure I scrutinize their characters more than the others. Maybe I can’t see the forest for the trees.
“But there’s probably a kid stuffed into a high school locker answering to that stereotype who doesn’t think it’s very funny either.
“The writers on that show are some of the funniest writers on television today. Why spend their time promulgating stereotypes that polarize us?”