Elvira Addresses the "Horny Old Men" Backlash to Her Coming Out
Cassandra Peterson and her Elvira, Mistress of the Dark character has been a horror icon for decades, with Peterson often keeping her personal life out of the public eye as to not let her own identity impact what fans thought of Elvira. Peterson published her memoirs last fall, which included the reveal that she had been in a romantic relationship with a woman for nearly 20 years, with the reveal largely earning her immense amounts of support for taking the relationship public, though the performer recently noted she saw a backlash from the "horny old men" demographic who felt betrayed by how her personal life differed from her public persona.
"I knew that there were going to be some horny old men out there who were just not going to like the fact that they didn't have a chance with me anymore," Peterson shared with the Behind the Velvet Rope podcast. "And I hate to tell them they already didn't have a chance of me anyway."
She added, "[It] flipped everybody out. Nobody was ready for that. People just said, 'Elvira, you lied to me. I don't respect you anymore. Goodbye.'"
Peterson noted that, while the reveal saw her lose 11,000 followers on social media, she ultimately earned another 60,000 newfound fans.
Peterson made her debut as Elvira in 1981 as a horror host, known for her Valley Girl sense of humor, sexual innuendos, and plunging neckline. This relationship isn't the first that Peterson avoided making public, as she was married to musician Mark Pierson for 22 years.
"Honestly, I worried more about my gay fan base," the performer explained. "Because I hope they embraced it, but I was feeling like, 'What if they think I'm a big fat hypocrite, and I was lying to them?'"
The performer has long had a large fan base in the LGBTQ+ community, and has even endorsed the idea of a drag performer taking on the mantle of Elvira at some point in the future. When asked about who could serve as a successor last year, Peterson pointed out, "Probably a fabulous drag queen who understands the character, the camp, and the cheese of the genre. They exist. I should know… I raised most of them."
Back in 2007, however, Peterson served as a judge on the TV series The Search for the Next Elvira, with the winner expected to take over public appearance duties from Peterson. While a winner was ultimately selected, fans failed to connect with the successor as strongly as the original and Peterson continues to portray the character.
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