Hollywood's First Pro Stuntman to Ever Come Out?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 09, 2016 10:04 PM GMT

    Hey there, tiger! icon_smile.gif

    Shows my ignorance, as I assumed there'd be plenty of already out stuntpersons in Hollywood.


    Oh noes! They cleverly call their site Queerty! The horror of it all!If you work in front of the camera in the entertainment industry, some folks think it’s still very difficult to come out publicly and maintain a lucrative career (trust us, we could name a few names you’d recognize).

    Just imagine the difficulty if you’re working as that manliest of he-man positions, the stunt coordinator on a movie or TV set.

    Shawn Balentine, an in-demand stunt coordinator whose credits include Justified and Brooklyn Nine-Nine and who has performed as stunt double for Jack Black and Oswald Patton, has done just that.

    In a note posted to his Facebook page January 28, Balentine writes in depth about his decision to live honestly and his awareness that coming out publicly could jeopardize both friendships and his career.

    Shawn Balentine's Facebook pageLayers

    There are so many layers that make a man, and even though I wear my heart on my sleeve, I rarely allow even my closest friends or family to see all of me. I’ve always just wanted to be Shawn the happy-go-lucky guy who never showed the vulnerability underneath. And I’ve always wanted my niece Rachel and nephews to be so damn proud to call me Uncle Shawn along with my sisters and Pops and Mom.

    Now it’s time to peel back the layers. I’ve been waiting until I was ready to come out as gay man on my terms. I’m ready now.

    This process has been painful along the way, including my Pops saying,“How and where did I go wrong? But I still love you either way, Son.” After not speaking for a while, he’s now proud to call me his son.

    My sister Sharol (who was killed by a drunk driver and I dedicate my sobriety to along with my niece and nephews) was always the one I confided in the most. But she’s no longer here for me physically, but her memory gives me strength. She was so strong and brave facing down lupus and raising an awesome daughter and son (who also died because of someone’s road rage, not even a mile from where my sister died).

    My oldest sister Peggy, with a infectious spirit for fun, raised two kick-butt sons and showed me how to see the good things in life. And through all this, my moms, [who's] sick right now, has been there for me.

    I know I could lose friendships over this and work too. In the world where I work as a Stuntman/Stunt Coordinator this might be viewed as a big deal and that’s a big reason why I’ve held on to this layer for so long.

    I’ve been to the edge and back, praying and losing days of sleep over this decision, but if this helps even one or two out there from feeling alone, being blackmailed, or told to your face that someone doesn’t approve of your spiritual practices then I’m here for ya and have one HUGE shoulder you can lean on because I’ve been in your shoes. You will NOT go to hell or get stoned to death; which I was told just last week.

    From this day forward I will no longer look at myself in the mirror ashamed of hiding this layer. I don’t give a damn if you like me or you don’t(.) I’m not the kind of guy who wants to talk about being gay all the time or go marching down the street. But I need to be honest with myself and with all of you. I need to get this off my chest because this is the layer I’ve never wanted to let you know existed.

    I have been blessed to be mentored by and learn from great instructors, coaches, sensei’s, and teachers from 4H, martial arts, the US Army, college and the professional world...

    And to all of my friends who have supported me, especially during this challenging period I give you my deepest thanks.

    I didn’t choose to be gay; it’s simply who I am. I have been blessed to have fortitude and to not care anymore what anyone thinks. Finally, at my age, I’ve been able to expose this layer to all of you. I’m perfect just the way I am. And it feels damn fine to let see this layer of my life. Welcome friends, to knowing the real Shawn.

    Queerty! The website that dare not speak its name.(Actor Oswald) Patton has gone public with his support for Balentine by sharing the post on his own Facebook page, calling him Hollywood’s “first professional stuntman to come out of the closet.”

    Patton adds: “I could not be prouder of the guy. I’d walk through fire for him. Which is fair, considering he’s walked through explosions, walls and, on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a kiddie pool full of tomato sauce.”
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 18120

    Feb 10, 2016 2:13 PM GMT
    robbaker saidAnd who gives a fuckicon_rolleyes.gif
    Do you ever have anything pleasant to sayicon_question.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 10, 2016 9:42 PM GMT
    Really? we're still doing this "first to come out" shit? There's homos in every professional, stop building up the hype for something that isn't surprising.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11634

    Feb 11, 2016 1:36 AM GMT
    TO23 saidReally? we're still doing this "first to come out" shit? There's homos in every professional, stop building up the hype for something that isn't surprising.

    You know, I can agree with you except that to us it is not a shocking thing, though to others it still is. I think we need to have these stories being published until they are no longer news to ANYONE, including the religious right, your great aunt's bridge partners, the kids in the elementary school classroom, and the guys these newly outed guys stand next to at the urinal.

    A lot of times I want to say , "So what?" but it really isn't fair of me to say so. I need to admit that these guys who are coming out publicly are doing us all a favor.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 18120

    Feb 11, 2016 12:48 PM GMT
    robbaker saidAnd he'll be the first gay stuntman to be eaten by that tiger icon_rolleyes.gif
    :I would love to see you get eaten by that fierce tiger so we would no longer be subject to your stupid remarks about gay men.icon_evil.gif
  • FitBlackCuddl...

    Posts: 857

    Feb 13, 2016 4:07 PM GMT
    robbaker saidAnd who gives a fuckicon_rolleyes.gif

    In Hollywood? A LOT of industry people do, especially on production crews.
  • FitBlackCuddl...

    Posts: 857

    Feb 13, 2016 4:10 PM GMT
    TO23 saidReally? we're still doing this "first to come out" shit? There's homos in every professional, stop building up the hype for something that isn't surprising.

    Working in stunts is a kind of "closed club" affair. Tough to get invited...easy to find yourself on the outs. "Gay to gay"...maybe a little empathy, fellow?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 22, 2016 5:48 PM GMT
    Who gives a (bleep)? Everyone who responded, apparently! icon_razz.gif

    It's inevitable that those of us who are already out to our families and friends and colleagues and employers would WHO CARES everyone else after us on the Coming Out Advent Calendar.

    But I think it's still significant, particularly anybody left in Hollywood, of all places, that find themselves uncomfortable with being out in their field of work.

    I was expecting by now somebody #WellActually'ing the dude by noting they've been out and Hollywood stuntmen (stuntwomen, too?) for awhile. But that it hasn't happened by now allows me to shed my initial skepticism, and continue "building up the hype!" with a simple RJ thread (that few people bothered to read past the title before reacting, of course)! icon_razz.gif