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Did actress/director Jodie Foster use her acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award to come out as a lesbian or to chastise nosy people who think her love life is their business?

I think she did both. In a lengthy speech that was at once open but also coy, Foster said she was newly single, gave a shout-out to her ex-partner with whom she has two children and spoke movingly of trying to have a private life in a city where paparazzi seems to be Italian for stalker.

Not everyone cheered the moment. The website Gawker called the speech by the 50-year-old Oscar-winner for “The Silence of the Lambs” and “The Accused,” “a monument to the delusion that goes with a life lived totally inside the entertainment industrial complex.” The column The Sheer Call of Celebrities Demanding Privacy” is worth reading.

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Foster’s being gay was the biggest non-secret in Hollywood. LIke many other gay celebrities, she has been pressured to come out, if only to stand as a positive role model for young gay and lesbian youth or to show that there is a successful career and happy life after coming out. Think CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Singer Ricky Martin came out to demonstrate courage and honesty to his young twin boys. But Foster has always prioritized her private life above politics.

She gets the last word.

“If you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you, too, might value privacy above all else.”

(AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater

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