Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton received years abuse from gay community for 'camp' character Sean Tully
The actor was speaking at a Manchester Pride panel discussion on coming out on screen and in script
Antony Cotton told a conference at Manchester Pride’s fringe festival of the extent of abuse he received, particularly from young, gay men, for his portrayal of camp soap character Sean Tully in Coronation Street.
"I get a lot of stick from people who say, and these are people who are 21 years old, 'You've put the gay cause back 21 years,'" he said.
"Or they say 'you're a disgrace to this village'. You'd be surprised how many kids say that to me."
"Sean has never had to explain who he was, he never had to come out, he was just accepted into the community of Weatherfield from the start,” he continued, defending his character.
"So for every one of those people who say to me that Sean's a stereotype, and that he doesn't have a political storyline, actually the fact he's never had to explain himself makes him the most political gay character in soap."
Cotton was joined for the panel discussion on ‘Coming Out, from Script to Screen’ by Tony Warren, the creator of the soap, script writers Damon Rochefort, Debbie Oates and Jonathan Harvey, and co-star Brooke Vincent.
"Antony has had a lot of unfair stick in the village, because they're mistaking the character he plays for Antony," Warren continued.
But, Cotton went on to suggest, the taunting began long before he joined the cast of Coronation Street in 2003 and appeared in cult TV show Queer As Folk.
"When it was announced I was going into Corrie an online petition was set up to have me sacked because people said I was going to put the gay cause back 25 years. That was six months before I even appeared on screen."
Warren, who is openly gay, also discussed the homophobia he faced when he first entered the entertainment industry as a scriptwriter for Granada.
"I remember sitting in a script meeting and hearing these men describe one actor as a poof, a storyline described as poofy, I just said to them: 'Without a poof none of you would be in work this morning'."
The debate was scheduled as one of many taking place at the Pride fringe festival ahead of the main Pride events.
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