- The Magazine
Former *NSYNC member Lance Bass has criticized The Bachelor star Colton Underwood for “monetizing” his coming out experience.
Underwood, 29, appeared on three different versions of ABC’s heterosexual reality dating show, including headlining the 23rd season of The Bachelor in 2019.
Earlier this month, he came out as gay, saying he had “ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time. And I’m gay.”
However, Underwood experienced backlash after the announcement that Netflix has commissioned a reality series documenting his coming out experience and featuring Olympian and actor Gus Kenworthy as his “gay guide.”
Underwood was also criticized for allegedly stalking ex-girlfriend Cassie Randolph, who appeared in Underwood’s season of The Bachelor.
Speaking on The Ben & Ashley I. Almost Famous podcast last week, Bass said Underwood was “definitely going to get a lot of backlash from the community at first.”
“There is a small percentage of the community that’s just going to not like the fact he came out this way, that he’s monetizing the experience,” he continued.
However, Bass ultimately believes that Underwood’s series would likely “help the [LGBTQ] community.”
“When you first come out, most people…have no clue about the LGBT community,” he said. “They don’t know what the issues are, they have no idea because they’ve been so separated from that on purpose.
“So when someone comes out as a public figure, so many people immediately go to: ‘Screw that! It’s too late.’ They don’t like to support it because they don’t feel like you know what you’re talking about yet.”
Bass came out in an interview with People magazine in 2006, and married artist Michael Turchin in 2014. He compared his own situation to that of Underwood’s, adding, ““I was kind of like in a ‘Bachelor Nation’ situation where 90% of my fans were women, and they all thought I was straight.”
Bass said the best advice he could give to the reality star would be to “sit back, listen and learn.”
“That’s all you need to do right now, is just listen to the community, listen to everyone around you,” he said. “Educate yourself, and then you’ll naturally find where you belong in this community.”
Bass, 41, came out in 2006 during an interview with People magazine, after lengthy media speculation about his sexuality.
“The thing is, I’m not ashamed — that’s the one thing I want to say,” Bass said at the time. “I don’t think it’s wrong, I’m not devastated going through this. I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I’m just happy.”
However, Bass experienced his own backlash from the LGBTQ community when, in the same interview, he said that he and his friends were “straight-acting” and “normal, typical guys.”
He later called the comments a “mistake,” saying he wasn’t aware that his comments would imply that those who weren’t “straight-acting” were also not normal.
“Every community is hard to please. Our community is very fickle,” he told The Advocate in 2007. “It’s a touchy community because it’s the last civil rights movement we have left here in America. So when someone new like myself comes along and says off-the-mark things, yeah, I can see how people would get pissed.”
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