Rachel Maddow sent a message to closeted gay news anchors: you have to come out.
Maddow made the comment in an interview with The Guardian which was published on Monday. In it, this exchange takes place:
Does she feel frustration towards an equally well-known news presenter who is widely assumed to be gay but has never come out? For the first time, Maddow pauses: "I'm sure other people in the business have considered reasons why they're doing what they're doing, but I do think that if you're gay you have a responsibility to come out," she says carefully.
Maddow is one of two openly gay anchors on MSNBC, along with Thomas Roberts, a daytime anchor. She has frequently discussed her relationship with her partner, artist Susan Mikula. She has also defended herself against anti-gay critics on the air, saying, "just because you don't like that I'm gay, it does not make what we say not true."
UPDATE: In a blog post on Monday evening, Maddow responded to the attention that the interview has received. She stressed that she wasn't referring to anyone specific in her comments—adding that readers would not have to "read between the lines" if she had been directly calling anyone out—and listed what she called her "ethics of coming out":
1. Gay people -- generally speaking -- have a responsibility to our own community and to future generations of gay people to come out, if and when we feel that we can.
2. We should all get to decide for ourselves the "if and when we feel that we can" part of that.
3. Closeted people should reasonably expect to be outed by other gay people if (and only if) they prey on the gay community in public, but are secretly gay themselves.
She also told the paper that having the gay community look up to her "gives me joy."