A few days ago there was a lot of interest in a moment at a Toronto International Film Festival press conference for the movie Legend, where Tom Hardy shut down a journalist from a gay publication who asked him about his ‘ambiguous’ sexuality, seeming rather frustrated at the line of questioning.
While many agreed with how he handled it (and admittedly it was rather smart what he did, whether he should hve done it or not), others were less impressed by what they saw as Tom being far more defensive than he needed to be, especially as one of the characters he plays in Legend is bisexual.
Now Hardy has responded with his take on what happened, telling The Daily Beast, “I think everybody is entitled to the right to privacy. There should be elegant ways to approach any topic, and there’s a time and place to approach anything and have a good, common sense conversation about anything. I do think that there’s a responsibility for people to own the way that they speak publicly. This doesn’t stop us from being human beings; some things are private. I’m under no obligation to share anything to do with my family, my children, my sexuality—that’s nobody’s business but my own. And I don’t see how that can have anything to do with what I do as an actor, and it’s my own business. If you knew me as a friend, then sure, we’d talk about anything. But that was a public forum, and for someone to inelegantly ask a question that seemed designed entirely to provoke a reaction, and start a topic of debate… It’s important destigmatizing sexuality and gender inequality in the workplace, but to put a man on the spot in a room full of people designed purely for a salacious reaction? To be quite frank, it’s rude. If he’d have said that to me in the street, I’d have said the same thing back: ‘I’m sorry, who the fuck are you?’
“What he had to talk about was actually interesting, but how he did it was so inelegant. And I appreciate that I could probably have more grace as a human being, but I’m just a bloke. I’m just a man. And I’m just a man doing a job. I’m not a role model for anyone, and you’re asking me something about my private life in a room full of people. I don’t want to discuss my private life with you. I don’t know you! Why would I share that with a billion people? Also, if you felt it was so important for people to feel confident to talk about their sexuality, why would you put somebody on the spot in a room full of people and decide that was the time for them to open up about their sexual ambiguity? There’s also nothing ambiguous about my sexuality, anyway. I know who I am. But what does that have to do with you? And why am I a part of something now that, however legitimate, I haven’t offered my services for? It’s not about what he and his publication stands for, none of that is offensive, and on the contrary, it’s very admirable, and an important issue. But how I was asked was incredibly inelegant, and I just thought it was disrespectful and counterproductive to what he stands for.”
Tom’s response has also met with differing opinions, with many agreeing that he has a right to his privacy and that there was something rather inelegant about the way the questions were put to him. However many others are less forgiving, seeing the ‘privacy’ argument as falacious, due to the fact it suggests same-sex attraction/experiences are something inherent ‘private’ in a way opposite sex attraction isn’t.
It was undoubtedly an interesting encounter that’s it’s possible to read in several ways, and to be honest neither the journalist (who did ask wooly, leading questions that deliberately avoided what he really wanted to talk about) or Tom (who got more defensive than was really necessary in a way that suggested discomfort about the topic more than how it was asked) covered themselves in glory.