The real man played by Hugh Jackman in new drama Bad Education has said he was “upset” by the portrayal of his sexuality in the movie.
Frank Tassone praised Jackman for doing “a very good job” in playing him, but said the film only got 40-50% of the facts right.
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The film, which debuted on HBO, this week tells the story of the scandal that led to Tassone being toppled from his role as a school superintendent on Long Island when multi-million-dollar embezzlement was uncovered.
Tassone was sentenced to between four and 12 years in prison for larceny in 2006 and was released in 2010.
Appearing on The Coach Mike Podcast, Tassone said he believed director Cory Finley’s movie depicted his sexuality as “somewhat sordid” and something he tried to keep secret, which was not the case.
Tassone said he was “bothered terribly” by the suggestion he had a clandestine affair with a former student as, in reality, he had an open relationship with his husband.
The former school boss also said he felt it was “disrespectful” to his ex-wife for the film to suggest that his husband, Stephen, was not aware of his previous marriage.
He said: “I’m not ashamed of being a gay man, and again, they made it seem somewhat sordid.
“That bothered me and upset me when the detective questioned Stephen, and he implied that Stephen didn’t even know I was married. That was not the case.
“And I don’t understand why they had to bring my sexuality into the film.”
Speaking generally about the film, Tassone added: “I recognise that what I did was wrong and I broke the law, but that was 20 years ago and I finally thought, you know, I could go forward.
“For it to come all back 20 years later brought back feelings that were hurtful and that were warranted in many respects. So, it was a challenging time to watch the movie.”
Bad Education also stars Allison Janney as Tassone’s assistant Pamela Gluckin and Ray Romano as real estate agent Bob Spicer.
The film has received broad acclaim from film critics, earning a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.