Actor and gay advocate George Takei said he tried to get Star Trek creator Gene Roddenbery to write an episode about homosexuality, but Roddenbery put the kibosh on the idea.
In previous episodes, Star Trek had subtly addressed issues like women’s rights and international politics, but Roddenbery was worried a plot involving homosexuality would scare away viewers.
“He said, ‘We do use metaphors to deal with contemporary issues,’ but he was treading a very tight rope, because of the fact he was dealing with issues…and he said that if he pushed the envelope too far, then he wouldn’t be able to deal with any issue at all,” Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in the original 1965 TV series, said.
“Television is not known for dealing with contemporary issues,” Takei told Bill Maher.
Takei accepted the idea because he understood the reality of television.
When talking with Maher, Takei also mocked co-star William Shatner’s ignorance of his sexuality.
“My colleagues did know I was gay, but they were cool about it,” he said. “Except for one member of the cast [Shatner]…it went right over his head. He was the only one who didn’t know.”