Straight 'Love, Victor' Star: I Got Homophobic Hate Messages

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday February 20, 2021
Originally published on February 17, 2021

"Love, Victor" lead actor Michael Cimino identifies as straight, so the actor found it a little perplexing that he got homophobic pushback for starring in the Hulu series about a gay teenager... especially since some of the messages, he says, were from people who know him personally.

Cimino explained the bizarre situation to Attitude, saying that when anti-LGTBQ hate came his way from people he knew, "I would either kind of lean into it, and be like 'OK, and what?,' or I would try to enlighten them as much as I possibly could."

"The best thing to do is try to educate them or realize that they're ignorant," Cimino went on to say, before acknowledging that in some cases, "you can't really say anything that's going to help them, unfortunately."

"I think it shows where the world's at and possibly how much this show is actually needed," the 21-year-old actor added. "It starts a conversation, and that's the most important thing."

British co-star and George Sear, who is straight but plays Victor's out crush Benji, told Attitude he hadn't gotten that sort of vitriol.

"The response has been nothing but positive from what I've seen," Sear said. "It's really nice and touching getting messages from people who've watched the show and it's resonated with them."

The series picks up where the feature film "Love, Simon" (based on a novel by Becky Albertalli) left off, but shifts the focus from a white teen with accepting parents and an affluent background to a Latinx youth from a working class family. Simon has made his coming out journey and gone on to become a well-known out blogger. Reading Simon's blog after moving from another town and starting at Simon's old high school, Victor - whose religious mother is not supportive of LGBTQ issues, and whose parents are making their way through marital difficulties - shoots Simon a heated message to say that not everyone is as lucky as Simon was.

Commenting on the show's holding up a different kind of experience to that depicted in the feature film, Cimino told UK newspaper The Guardian prior to the show's UK premiere that, "There is definitely more pressure on people who are LGBTQ+ in the Latinx community, where there's this stereotype of being machismo and strong and masculine.

"In reality, there is no right way to be masculine, there is no right or wrong way to be gay and there is no right or wrong way to be a human being," Cimino added.

"Love, Victor" was originally slated to run at Disney+ but, due to its themes, was channeled to another Disney platform, Hulu, instead. The first season aired last year; a second season has been ordered, but the COVID pandemic has delayed production.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.