Russell Tovey Opens Up About Gay Male Backlash on ‘Looking’ Series

Russell Tovey recently opened up about his short-lived gay series, ‘Looking,’ and how it received backlash, even from his own gay male community.

(c) Instagram: @russelltovey

The 41-year-old English actor starred alongside Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett in the HBO series, which was about three gay best friends in San Francisco. ‘Looking’ was created by Michael Lannan, and it ran for two seasons in 2014 to 2015, followed by a 2016 movie special in place for a third season.


According to IndieWire, the critical response on the series “was largely mixed throughout its run,” however what affected Tovey the most was the negative reactions from his own gay male community.

Tovey recalled an instance while filming a scene for the show’s second season, sharing:

“They’d say, ‘You’re in ‘Looking!’… but I’ve not watched it, I’ve heard it’s boring.’ They hadn’t even seen it! And it’s about you, in your city, filming outside your coffee shop, and you’re not even intrigued to watch it? It really, really frustrated me. It broke me, honestly.”

He added,


“If that show came out now, it’d have a completely different response.”

The actor also pointed out how times have changed, now that LGBTQ+ shows are widely accepted and loved by viewers, and how important representation is for young members of the community.

“Look at ‘Heartstopper’ or ‘Glee.’ If we had them shows when I was growing up, I would have felt a bit better about myself. I’m so proud of the way the world is now. For young kids to be able to say, ‘Cool, I’ll watch “Glee” tonight and then go to a gay bar’ – that is an incredible gift that’s been handed down. But we must pay respect and remember where that gift came from,” Tovey expressed.


2 thoughts on “Russell Tovey Opens Up About Gay Male Backlash on ‘Looking’ Series”

  1. Eff the haters, Looking is one of my favorite gay tv shows ever. I re-watch it with several gay friends every year.


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