i lovvvved watching “mister rogers’ neighborhood” as a kid.
i was a big fan of that and sesame street.
believe it or not,
those shows had some good life lessons on them.
i never heard anything bad about the fred rogers,
the man who played the title character,
but this following story might not paint him in the best light with the gays.
played by francois clemmons,
was told not to come out the closet by mister rogers.
this is what i read today on “daily mail“…
Francois Clemmons, best known as Officer Clemmons on children’s TV series ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’, has said that TV star Fred Rogers told him to not come out as gay and to marry a woman because if he didn’t, it would ‘threaten his dream’.
Clemmons, 75, described Rogers as both ‘my executioner and deliverer’ in his upcoming memoir ‘Officer Clemmons’ as he recalled the late children’s TV host telling him he could not be a ‘member of the Neighborhood’ if he was openly gay.
The performer said Rogers confronted him about his sexuality in his studio one day during filming for the show.
‘Franc, you have talents and gifts that set you apart and above the crowd,’ Clemmons said Rogers told him, according to People magazine.
‘Someone has informed us that you were seen at the local gay bar downtown. Now, I want you to know, Franc, that if you’re gay, it doesn’t matter to me at all. Whatever you say and do is fine with me, but if you’re going to be on the show as an important member of the Neighborhood, you can’t be out as gay.’
Clemmons told People magazine he broke down in tears at Rogers’ reaction – who he had come to see as a father figure.
‘I could have his friendship and fatherly love and relationship forever. But I could have the job only if I stayed in the closet,’ said Clemmons.
I was destroyed. The man who was killing me had also saved me. He was my executioner and deliverer,’ said Clemmons.
‘But, at the same time, I knew that he would know how to comfort me. I didn’t have another mother or father to comfort me. I had no one to go and be a boy with. I was just vulnerable. He got in a few slaps, some tough love, a good spanking. But I was not kicked out of the family.’
Rogers then allegedly said: ‘The world doesn’t really want to know who you’re sleeping with — especially if it’s a man. You can have it all if you can keep that part out of the limelight.”
He also allegedly told Clemens he should marry a woman to keep up the disguise.
‘By the time I left his office, I had made up my mind to marry La-Tanya Mae Sheridan,’ Clemmons writes in his memoir.
‘At the wedding reception, Fred and [his wife] Joanne approached me and my new wife. It felt as if Fred and I were sealing some kind of secret bargain.’
Clemmons divorced Sheridan in 1974 and begin living as an openly gay man.
He told People magazine he doesn’t have any resentment toward his mentor Rogers.
i don’t see a problem in what mister rogers said.
it was his show and dream.
those times were not like these times.
people are still trying to accept gay characters on kid’s tv these days.
mister rogers’ neighborhood would have been evicted and renovated if he came out in the 80s-90s.
look at what ellen faced when she came out on her tv show back in the 90s.
it’s not like officer clemmons was fired or holds resentment as well.
why should i be mad if he isn’t?
he had a very long and prosperous career on the show.
now my question is…
Did he tell his wife he was gay?
that’s the only part in the story i’m like “uh…?”.
if she was a beard who understood her role,
like many in hollywood have due to their careers,
then this is pretty much a non-issue.
article cc: daily mail