One of the most important recurring characters in the early years of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was Mike Peterson AKA Deathlok, with the antihero debuting in the show’s pilot and, after a gap of a few seasons, most recently appearing in the 100th episode in 2018.
Peterson’s played by J. August Richards, who’s probably most known for portraying Charles Gunn in all five seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel. He’s a frequent face on our TV screens, then, and his latest role comes in Council of Dads, which premiered on NBC last month.
The drama series stars the actor as Dr. Oliver Post, a married gay man with a daughter. And in a recent Instagram Live chat with his Council co-star Sarah Wayne Callies, in which they spoke about the importance of the show, Richards decided to take the opportunity to talk about his own sexuality for the first time in a public way.
“If I think about why I even got involved in this industry, it was really to combat oppression,” Richards explained. “I knew how I was affected by the people of color I saw on television, or that I didn’t see on television, so this being a married, gay man, with a family … on television, I don’t take anything I do lightly, and you have an opportunity to put an image into millions of homes. I wanted that image to be honest and I wanted it to be correct.” He added, “Honestly, it required me to show up fully in a way that I don’t always when I’m working. I knew that I could not portray this gay man honestly without letting you all know that I am a gay man myself. I’ve never done that with the people that I’ve worked with.” Richards concluded, “That responsibility carried me to do that because I knew how important it is to other people out there like me, who would need to see that role model.”
The day after his Instagram Live chat, Richards followed it up by posting a snap of himself wearing a rainbow shirt on his account, as well as thanking his fans and followers for all the love and support and for helping make his coming out “one of the best days” of his life.
You can see his moving post and full caption below:
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Everyone said it would be but nothing could have prepared me. Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. “Thank you” feel like cheap words to describe the depths of the gratitude I feel for your support and the crushing avalanche of LOVE I felt aimed at me yesterday. Who knew that something I once thought of as terrifying had within it something so beautiful… For every comment, like, emoji, repost, phone call, text message, everything. I felt it ALL… Thank you!!! #PRIDE #LGBTQ #BlackLGBTQ #ComingOut #SelfLove #SelfAcceptance
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming to a close this year with its seventh season, and it looks like the show is bringing back a few familiar faces along the way – not least resurrecting Phil Coulson one last time. Could Richards return as Deathlok, too? Here’s hoping, but if not, then best of luck to the actor with his new series and congrats on his big announcement!