While portraying a teen struggling with his sexual orientation, Michael Cimino also faced some problems off of the small screen.
The 21-year-old actor, who plays the titular character on Hulu's Love, Simon spin-off, Love, Victor—now in its second season—opened up to Attitude about the negative reaction he's gotten from some since taking on the important role. "I've definitely had some criticism from the LGBT community for being in the role," Cimino, who identifies as straight, told the magazine. "I've had death threats, which is horrible. But the show is important to me. The messages of hate—I came into it knowing that would happen, regardless of how good I was."
He also had to endure hate close to home. "I got some homophobic comments—I kind of expected that to happen," he said. "I didn't expect it from my own family members, though."
Through it all, he's continued to make his allyship clear. "There's nothing wrong with being gay. That ignorance is often something that's been passed on from generations prior," he said. "I always approach that [by saying], 'These are normal people that are struggling and they shouldn't have to struggle.'"
Some have listened. "I have changed opinions," he shared with the magazine. "I had some friends who are religious and they've changed their perspective on things."
Amid any flack he's gotten for taking the role as a straight man, Cimino insists he has nothing but the best intentions. "It's an honor to play Victor, and a big responsibility. I went in with the pure intent to represent that correctly," he said. "I held myself to a really high standard to make sure everyone going through this story felt represented by the show."
The second season of Love, Victor is available now on Hulu.