Love, Victor is the groundbreaking gay coming-of-age romance series, now in its second season on Hulu, that so many older LGBTQ people yearned for when they were teens.
Cimino has revealed that he has been receiving death threats for playing a gay character in the series.
“I’ve definitely had some criticism from the LGBT community for being in the role… I’ve had death threats, which is horrible,” the 21-year-old actor opened up in a new interview with Attitude.
However, he pointed out that “the show is important” to him. He went on to add, “The messages of hate — I came into it knowing that would happen, regardless of how good I was.”
Michael continued, “But there are some straight actors who play gay characters, who are all about supporting LGBT rights while they’re promoting their project, but once they’re done, a year later, it’s kind of forgotten.”
Cimino elaborated further, “That’s not how [to] be an ally, that’s not how you support LGBT rights. If you’re not an actual ally, then what are you doing?”
Michael also told the magazine, “Honestly, it wasn’t really a thought in my circle not to even play these characters.” He confessed, “I got some homophobic comments. I kind of expected that to happen. I didn’t expect it from my own family members, though.”
Adding more details, Michael recalled, “Some of them reached out, saying, ‘You used to be so cool, now you’re so gay.’ I chalk it up to ignorance. People have that programming and they often don’t have to evolve and try to push past that.”
Cimino went on to note, “There’s nothing wrong with being gay. That ignorance is often something that’s been passed on from generations prior. I always approach that [by saying], ‘These are normal people that are struggling and they shouldn’t have to struggle.’ “
“I’ve been advised that you shouldn’t play gay roles, especially [for] your first big role. ‘Everyone will think you’re gay’ or ‘You won’t be able to book anything,’ ‘You’ll never be able to build a fan base,'” Michael reflected.
The Hulu star then stressed, “I’m not a traditional ‘masculine’ man, so that would be people trying to force me into something I’m not. Here I am playing a gay role that might not be considered masculine in an outdated idea of what masculinity is.”
In fact, Michael declared that he will continue to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights even after he finished portraying Victor. “It’s an honor to play Victor, and a big responsibility. I went in with the pure intent to represent that correctly,” he said. “I held myself to a really high standard to make sure everyone going through this story felt represented by the show.”