Is it harder being black or gay in Hollywood? We think the juror may still be out on this one folks but not according to 12 Years A Slave Actor Chiwetel Eijofor. In an interview with British newspaper The Times, Eijofor discussed diversity in Hollywoo and spoke on race and sexuality in amid this years Oscars controversy.
"I hope this changes (but) I think it’s probably harder to be gay," Eijofor said. "I think sexuality is still marginalised in a way that is pretty open. I think it’s tough. I think for one’s own piece of mind, for one’s own sense of self and psychological health, I feel like that’s the horrible thing about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and all that fucked-up shit, because it produces a sense of shame, and therefore this sense of being ‘less than’, you know? And I hate that. I hate that for anybody."
Eijofor argued that a person's sexuality is no one else's business, but that someone should be able to to come out without any negative repercussions to their career.
The critically-acclaimed actor scored a Best Actor nomination for 2013's 12 Years a Slave, which went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, making director Steve McQueen the first black filmmaker to take home that prize. In the two years since that historic win the Academy has failed to acknowledge any black filmmakers or actors, despite a number of standout performances and films.
Eijofor, however, says race has never held him back from achieveing success as an actor, though he admits it's "more nuanced" than that.
"If I hadn’t had the opportunities and the fortune that I have had," he said, "of course I would have a very different perspective to that, but I can’t be completely intellectually dishonest about what has happened in my life."