Wow, that happened: Jodie Foster. Should we call it a coming out? As Foster accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award, she segued into an analytical, elliptical, revealing speech during which she nervously said, “I already did my coming out, about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually and proudly to everyone who knew her – to everyone she actually met.”
She also managed to blast celebrity culture — “You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child.” — and, perhaps, LGBT activists who’ve sought such a statement from her for years. (When Foster was the favorite to win Best Actress for Silence of the Lambs in 1992, there was a persistent rumor that she would be “outed” as she spoke from the podium.)
Foster already came out publicly in 2007; at a Hollywood Reporter breakfast, she thanked “my beautiful Cydney,” her longtime girlfriend, Cydney Bernard. They’ve since broken up; Foster’s lead in Sunday night was “I am … single.” She also called her, “My heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love” among her thank-yous.
That 2007 reference to Bernard didn’t get much pickup at the time; the mainstream media didn’t know then, and still doesn’t know, how to report on the lives of gay celebrities who don’t make a huge, public declaration.
And so it came to this night for the ultra-private Foster. For someone who has always been so guarded, Foster must have debated this decision endlessly. She’s already being criticized on social media for equating an act that many people think saves lives — the act of coming out, that is — with the trashiest element of pop culture.
And then there’s the Mel Gibson factor. Foster just adores him. But must he be involved in this step of hers, of all things? When a shaky Foster asked for a wolf whistle, the camera cut to Gibson, who obliged. Later, when she thanked the people in her life, she said, “And of course, Mel Gibson — you know you saved me, too.”
Foster — in all her brilliant complexity — was making it clear there and throughout that she wasn’t doing this for “us.” So why did she do it, then? Anderson Cooper, please tell us!