Billy Crystal Clarifies Remarks on Gay Sex Scenes: ‘Graphic Nudity of Any Kind Is Gratuitous’

Comedian expands on controversial quotes from a Sunday TCA panel, recalls his turn as one of network TV’s first recurring gay characters

Last Updated: January 19, 2015 @ 4:24 PM

Billy Crystal is clarifying remarks he made regarding the depiction of gay sex on television, a day after a TCA panel for his new series stirred some controversy.

“Sometimes I think, ‘Ah that’s too much for me,’” Crystal said of contemporary LGBT storylines at the Television Critics Association rollout for for his forthcoming show “The Comedians.”

“I hope people don’t abuse it and shove it in our face … to the point where it feels like an every day kind of thing,” he said, declining to name specific shows or characters.

Social media users and more than a few readers of TheWrap took issue with his words.

“”What I meant was that whenever sex or graphic nudity of any kind (gay or straight) is gratuitous to the plot or story it becomes a little too much for my taste,” Crystal said in a statement released Monday.

The topic was broached when Crystal was asked about his own groundbreaking character Jodie Dallas from the ABC comedy “Soap,” which aired from 1977-1981.

“It was very difficult at the time,” said Crystal on Sunday. “Jodie was really the first recurring [gay] character on network television and it was a different time, it was 1977. So, yeah, it was awkward. It was tough.”

Crystal told the audience his groundbreaking performance didn’t sit well with some viewers back in the day.

“I did it in front of a live audience and there were times when I would say to (co-star) Bob [Seagren], ‘I love you,’ and the audience would laugh nervously. I wanted to stop the taping and go, ‘What is your problem?’”

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