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Heath Ledger Once Ditched The Oscars Over Homophobic Jokes

We lost a real legend when Health Ledger died. He was not just a handsome dude and a great actor, but he was a man of real principle.

His Brokeback Mountain costar Jake Gyllenhaal recently told a story about how Ledger turned down presenting at the Oscars over jokes being told in the program about the groundbreaking LGBT film, as reported by Page Six.

“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal, 39, told fashion magazine, Another Man. “And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, ‘Oh, okay…whatever.’ I’m always like, ‘It’s all in good fun.’ And Heath said, ‘It’s not a joke to me — I don’t want to make any jokes about it.’”

Gyllenhaal continued, “That’s the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, ‘No. This is about love. Like, that’s it, man. Like, no.’”

At the time Brokeback Mountain came out, it was risky to be publicly pro-gay, even in Hollywood. It hadn’t been all that long since Ellen DeGeneres has her show cancelled after she came out and the president at the time had run on a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

And Heath Ledger wasn’t even gay. You know how you can tell someone is really on the right side of the an issue? When they’re on the right side before it’s politically expedient for them to be. That’s Heath Ledger, and it’s a real shame he’s not around anymore.

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