At this year’s Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, Bryan Fuller accepted an Achievement Award for his visionary work on shows like Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, and, more recently, American Gods. During his speech, Fuller touched on queer representation on the small screen, and how it’s changed in the course of his career. Where his current TV show recently featured a bold and erotic gay sex scene, Fuller reminded his audience of all the “het-washing,” i.e., when a homosexual character is written to be heterosexual, that had occurred on other series. The writer-producer, who is an out gay man, alluded to a Heroes season-one cast member who threatened to walk from the show if his character were revealed to be homosexual. Fuller said that despite the fact the actor was gay, he didn’t want to play a gay character.
Fuller, who wrote for and produced Heroes, didn’t mention the actor or character’s name, but it was pretty clear who he was talking about. As Queerty noted, Thomas Dekker, who played Zach on the NBC drama, had previously addressed the whole kerfuffle in a 2007 blog post. The actor says his issue wasn’t with Zach being gay, but rather, inconsistent portrayal—Dekker says the character was written as a straight dude with a burning love for Claire (Hayden Panettiere), so that’s how he’d been playing the misfit teen. To have him suddenly outed as gay would have undone his months of work, just like every season of Heroes after the first one totally did away with any goodwill for the show. At the time, Dekker didn’t come out as gay.
But with Fuller having inadvertently brought the whole thing up again—and essentially outing him—the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles alum is now taking the opportunity to come out on his own terms. Dekker gently chided Fuller for getting ahead of him, but said he was grateful for the opportunity to “publicly say that I am indeed a man who proudly loves other men,” and speak on the “important responsibility for LGBTQ persons with a platform to come out.” The actor married his husband in April of this year.