Challenging Ian McKellen’s 2000 Claim that After He Was Cast as Gandalf He was Attacked for Being Gay

In 2000, Ian McKellen freshly cast as Gandalf the wizard in Peter Jackson’s upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy of films, published an article entitled: A Gay Gandalf: Homophobia is Everywhere. For a Tolkien fan, that era was a time of heady anticipation as they were thrilled that J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece would finally be made into three films.

At the time, most Tolkien fans probably didn’t know who Ian McKellen was. They certainly didn’t know that he was a flaming homosexual. However, Ian made damn sure everyone knew he was one of them after he published his infamous article.

The title betrays the game: the spurious claim that homophobia is everywhere. It is just not true. The term is bogus from the start as it mischaracterizes opposition to homosexuality as being people who are afraid of it. The phobia part of it assumes that the fear is unwarranted. Most people who oppose the LGBTQ agenda do so because they believe it is wrong and unnatural. The pride extremism we see all around us and the current transgender crisis is proof that the fears of a majority of Americans were well founded.

The Gay Gandalf in the title is extremely disrespectful to Tolkien, Peter Jackson, and the fans. Gandalf was not gay according to Tolkien. He didn’t need to go there, but he did. He did it to stoke outrage and generate controversy.

In the piece, McKellen focuses on how victimized he is as a gay man. Going back and reading his other writings on the site, he is obsessed with homosexual activism and plays the victim card incessantly. Nowhere in his writings does he show any appreciation or gratitude for being cast as the venerable wizard Gandalf which would eventually become his most famous role that would be the reason he would be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. The navel-gazing MacKellen is incapable of demonstrating a modicum of grace and class.

Perhaps the most shameful part of his article is the final paragraph where he blames people in unmentioned “chat rooms” for their anti-gay comments regarding his casting as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films:

So, taking a less momentous example, it was unsurprising that an uncensored Internet should recently criticise my casting as Gandalf in homophobic terms. Cranky anti-gay remarks in chat rooms remind me of verbal abuse in the playground – not that that didn’t hurt too. Many unthinking people just don’t like the idea of gays joining in their games, nor in the military and, it would seem, in the movies.

Oh, the poor little luvie.

Let’s analyze this paragraph in depth. He talks about an “uncensored Internet” as if that’s a bad thing. He could have mentioned the internet without qualifying it as uncensored but he did not. I wonder would he have preferred a censored Internet? Is McKellen afraid of free speech? Actors are being criticized all the time by professional drama and film critics? Does he not see the contradiction in implying that he wants the press censored but allowing actors to act should be free from censorship?

He provides no proof of the alleged remarks made in the Internet chat room. Where did this happen? When did this happen? Who said these things? McKellen expects us to believe him — a homosexual activist — at face value. While he is right that a significant number of people don’t like gay people and don’t want to see visible gays in all walks of life, that is a reality that has nothing to do with Lord of the Rings.

McKellan is openly gay and was not “outed” by Tolkien fans. Many gay people are in the closet and prefer not to share their sexuality in public. McKellan made his homosexuality an issue so he has no reason to complain if people are critical of it. He can’t have his cake and eat it.

During the heady beginning years of the Internet, it was common to bring up the boogeyman of so-called chat rooms as dens of evil and conspiracy theories. As a young adult before the Internet was invented, I do remember chat rooms but they were hosted on private bulletin board forums that were privately owned. Computer users had dial-up modems and would connect to a host, log on with their credentials, and enter a private chat room.

Sadly, hate crime hoaxes are a part of everyday life. These hoaxes are being perpetrated all the time because as British gay conservative intellectual Douglas Murray has remarked there is not enough supply of hate to meet the demand of activists who are trying to stop hate. To see how pervasive they are, here is a good database of thousands of hate hoaxes.

If some people made anti-homosexual comments about him because he was cast as Gandalf, they would be outliers and they would not be representative of most Tolkien fans who were happy that an accomplished British actor of film and stage had been chosen by Jackson to play the mercurial wizard. To my knowledge, no polls were ever commissioned about Ian MacKellen’s homosexuality impacting his ability to play Gandalf convincingly.

At the time, many in the public knew that various rock stars and film actors like Elton John, Freddie Mercury, and Rock Hudson were homosexuals. While it was not an optimal situation, many people just forced themselves to suspend their disgust and appreciated the art for its intrinsic value and not because of the sexual proclivities of the artist.

The unfortunate conclusion to his article seems designed to draw attention to himself and his cause. As an avid Tolkien fan at the time, I recall being delighted with Peter Jackson’s decision to film the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I had no idea who McKellan was and that he was a practicing open homosexual. It was McKellen himself that made it an issue not people in imaginary internet chat rooms.

Other parts of the article are full of logical fallacies and outright lies. For example, McKellan brings up the murder of Mathew Shephard.

My point is that Clinton was not defeated by the reasoned arguments of political opponents but was a victim of the same homophobia which imprisoned Oscar Wilde and which killed Matthew Sheppard.

Shepperd was murdered a few years before in 1998. Homosexual rights activists used his death to promote their cause and fundraise. The problem was, that it was later revealed that Matthew Sheppard was not murdered because he was a homosexual. It was all a huge outrageous lie.

Led by the despicable Human Rights Campaign, the LGBTQ industrial complex to this day uses the tragic death of Sheppard as an example of “homophobia” and “marginalization” to amass political power and financial wealth. They didn’t care about the truth, the same way that actor Ian McKellen didn’t care about the truth. The actor is a shameless self-promoter and the corrupt website has been promoting his homosexual activism for years.

If MacKellan was uninformed about Shephard what else is he uninformed about? Was he uninformed about those “uncensored internet chat rooms” as well? Without hard evidence from MacKellan, we will never know the truth. If evidence is available, chances are it was a hoax perpetrated by an agent provocateur just like Jussie Smollett another infamous gay actor.


I’ve always respected and enjoyed Ian’s acting and his respectful portrayal of Gandalf. But upon closer examination, I have found that MacKellan is an unpleasant, unsavory, and one-dimensional bore. While MacKellan may be a fine actor, he falls far short of exemplifying the wisdom and charm of one of Tolkien’s five Istari. This maxim was tailor-made for him:

Better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and leave no doubt.

Ian should refrain from commentary about serious matters and stick to acting. He should let the writers do the talking for him.

People may be upset that 24 years later I’m daring to challenge a sacred cow like Sir Ian McKellen as he played such an important role in the modern visualization of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings fantasy masterpiece. As we look around us, we see the obvious cultural devastation caused by unmitigated identity politics and DEI policies. Perhaps if good people had confronted MacKellen years ago and shown zero tolerance for his shenanigans, we would not be in the terrible place we are in 2024.


Additional Resources

Here is an analysis of this article of the 5 main logical fallacies contained in McKellen’s article:

Hasty Generalization:

  • McKellen generalizes the reactions of “homophobes” whenever legal changes are proposed for gay and lesbian rights. While there are certainly strong reactions from some individuals, he implies that all opponents of such changes are motivated purely by homophobia without considering other potential reasons for their opposition.
  • Example: “For instance, whenever a modest legal change is proposed to ease the disadvantages gays and lesbians endure under the law, the homophobes always react strongly.”

Ad Hominem:

  • There are moments where McKellen attacks the character of those opposing gay rights rather than their arguments.
  • Example: Referring to opponents as “homophobes” and describing their reactions as “irrational fear.”

Appeal to Emotion:

  • McKellen uses strong emotional appeals, particularly when referencing the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard and the historical persecution of Oscar Wilde. These references are powerful but can be seen as attempts to evoke an emotional response to strengthen his argument.
  • Example: “Clinton was not defeated by the reasoned arguments of political opponents but was a victim of the same homophobia which imprisoned Oscar Wilde and which killed Matthew Sheppard.”

Slippery Slope:

  • The suggestion that opposition to gay rights (e.g., in the military) is a direct continuation of historical persecution could be seen as a slippery slope argument, suggesting that such opposition inevitably leads to severe discrimination or violence.
  • Example: Implying a direct link between current anti-homosexual reactions and historical instances of severe persecution.

False Analogy:

  • Comparing criticism of his casting as Gandalf to verbal abuse in the playground is a weak analogy. The contexts are significantly different, and the comparison might not hold upon closer scrutiny.
  • Example: “Cranky anti-gay remarks in chat rooms remind me of verbal abuse in the playground – not that that didn’t hurt too.”

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