Gossip Folks

Did Joshua Bassett Just Come Out in the Most Gen Z Way Possible?

“Who doesn’t think Harry Styles is cool?” actor and musician Joshua Bassett said yesterday during a fan interview on Clevver News. “Also, he’s hot.” 

It was the nonchalant coming-out video that launched a thousand gossip articles. And whether or not Bassett intended to come out via the video, using his platform to gas up another artist while acknowledging his hotness was…simply iconic. 

Bassett, who is best known for playing Ricky in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, has had one hell of a year so far. He’s been at the center of a rumored love triangle with High School Musical co-star (and “driver’s license” singer) Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter. In fact, the T is that Rodrigo wrote both “driver’s license” and the recent “deja vu” about her and Bassett’s break-up

But when Bassett gushingly praised Harry Styles yesterday and called it his “coming out” video, no one was sure what to make of it. Was Bassett serious? If so, points for creativity. Was he joking? If so, that’s still pretty sweet.

Only ten years ago, way back in the 2010s, it was seen as career suicide for an ostensibly straight cis man to make a comment about another man’s body, never mind come out of the closet. The Hollywood machine flew into a tizzy at the mention of Tom Hardy being gay for pay or Robert Pattinson doing that extra-hot Salvador Dali biopic Little Ashes. Legendary actor Rupert Everett, in his autobiography “Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins,” went so far as to say that his out-gay status was the thing to stop him from getting further Hollywood roles in the 90s.

The truth is, there hasn’t been a lot of room in the past for actors to even platonically discuss each other’s bodies without a LOT of homophobic comment and speculation from the press. And it’s not just famous people who have been affected, either.

In 2010, 18-year-old Rutgers student Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge to his death after his roommate caught Clementi on tape kissing another boy. Three more teenagers took their own lives that same year as a result of anti-gay bullying, leading Dan Savage to start the It Gets Better project to raise awareness about homophobic cyberbullying in schools. 

Today, we’re living in a different world. It’s no longer considered career suicide to come out as gay (though according to our friend Kate Winslet, certain publicists would have their clients believe it still is.) Bassett’s ability to appreciate the beauty, grace, and all-around gorgeousness of another male star is kind of a big deal. 

It’s an even bigger deal now: An hour ago we got the confirmation we were looking for. Bassett took the opportunity to post a coming-out memo on Twitter, via the notes app, and we’ve got proud, gay dad tears in our eyes. 

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