Martin Sheen boycotted Grace & Frankie scene over 'awful' penis-shaped bucking bronco

The West Wing star is a long-time advocate of gay rights

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The Independent Culture

The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie.

He plays the part of Robert - who leaves his wife for Sol, the husband of her best friend. In the ‘Bachelor Party’ episode, screened earlier this month, Sheen is horrified when he spots the phallic prop on his lawn. He reacts angrily, “get that thing off the lawn!”

But in an example of art imitating life, it appears the actor was not actually acting in the scene. For he had told the sitcom’s co-creator, Marta Kauffman, that he would not appear alongside the penis. “I’m a prude,” he admits. “I would not participate. Such vulgarity. And I told dear Marta, the writer, it’s awful and it’s a bad choice. I was honest with her, and I’m glad I was. She looked at me and said, ‘Well that’s your opinion.’ And I said, ‘Yes it is, and I’m not participating in that sequence’,” says the 74-year-old actor, in an interview published in the Radio Times.

He describes himself as an “an extremely liberal Catholic” with “great love and affection for people in the gay community.” The Hollywood actor, speaking of his latest role as a gay man, says it was “important to get this right” and not to “fool around.”

Sheen is a long-time advocate of gay rights. Early in his career he starred in the first ever homosexual-themed prime time TV film in the US, where he played the lover of a married man, on the ABC network in 1972.  And in recent years he has spoken out in favour of same sex marriage – mirroring the stance taken by his character US President Jed Bartlet in the West Wing.