GH head writer Ron Carlivati took offense to this and some of the negative comments on Towleroad and fired back:
To Andy Towle and the readers of this blog: My name is Ron Carlivati and I am the Head Writer of General Hospital. I am also an openly gay man. I created the character of Felix DuBois, the "lipstick-wielding gay male nurse," and I am frankly appalled by the intolerance and internalized homophobia expressed in this post and in the majority of its comments.He continued commenting later saying the following (spoilerish):
During my career, I have brought no fewer than six gay characters to daytime television: male, female, Black, White, Hispanic...all shapes and sizes. I have written coming out stories, gay bashing stories, gay marriage stories, gay parenting stories and gay love stories. I wrote the first love scene between two gay men that ever aired on daytime TV. I won a GLADD award for these stories. What exactly is it about this character that is causing such righteous indignation? The fact that he carries a tube of lipstick in his scrubs? SPOILER ALERT: Felix sells cosmetics to put himself through nursing school. This will be revealed on Monday's show. Not because I think gay men love lipstick, and certainly not to "establish" himself as gay. But even if that were the reason, so what? Does this make him too queeny? Not straight-acting enough? Is that the only type of gay character allowed on TV now? As far as I'm concerned, to be offended by this character is what is offensive. And just FYI, the majority of women (our core audience) I have heard from thus far about Felix have expressed to me how much they like him. The only people who seem to have a problem with him are certain gay men who are apparently afraid of a gay character who might be portrayed as a little bit effeminate. Well, I say shame on you, and shame on Andy Towle, too. Oy, indeed.
@Jeff: I thought the issue we were discussing here was whether or not this character was promoting stereotypes. Now you're attacking me for my storytelling ability? A little off the subject, but also a little misinformed. I did not write Luke/Noah on ATWT. Secondly, my writing the stereotype of a gay man selling lipstick (since when is this a gay stereotype???) was not "completely gratuitous." There is actually a story reason why it had to be lipstick and not vacuum cleaners, which will also become apparent on Monday. That's the thing about soap operas, they're on every day, and you actually have to watch them to get to know the characters. You don't learn everything there is to know about them in one day. So in spite of your misinformed opinion, I am not ashamed of Felix. I am proud of Felix. He is sweet and kind and charming and would never be caught dead selling vacuum cleaners.No matter what side of the debate you are on, there's no question the Felix character stirred up more discussion after one appearance than any new creation in recent memory.
@Rick: Wow. First of all, I'm not a Hollywood-type, I live in New York. Secondly, you don't know my bosses are hetero. Thirdly, you don't know my bosses at all, so how do you know what they do and do not delight in? Fourth of all, as I already pointed out in my first comment, I have created at least six gay characters in my career, and I have had tons of feedback from many gay men, both young and old, that these characters helped them in some way. I don't know if any of them were young gay male athletes in Kansas, but I think there are plenty of other role models out there for them besides gay Black nurses on General Hospital, although I still think, as role models go, they could do a lot worse.
Okay, @UFFDA, this is my final post on this topic. I HAVE done the work. I CAN prove the point. I CAN imagine the type of gay man you describe. Because I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN HIM. More than once, in fact. I have written masculine gay men, gay cops, gay med students, gay activists, lesbian activists, and now a gay male nurse who, yes, sells makeup to make extra money. If that makes me a hack, then fine, I'm a hack. Now go away and leave me alone. Oh, and watch General Hospital. It's a really good show.
Andy Towle has posted a follow up in response to Carlivati's comments.
There's no question in my mind that Mr. Carlivati should be allowed the chance to develop his character more fully before judgment is passed and I regret if my commentary suggested that it should. My expression of "oy" over what I perceived to be a stereotype may have been hasty, but was also informed by having written this site for 9 years and seeing more than a few damaging caricatures in television and movies along the way.
I've also reported very positively on other soap characters written by Mr. Carlivati. I'm looking forward to seeing how his Felix DuBois character develops and thank him for his remarks and reaction.