In today’s cringe-worthy news, actor Andrew Garfield made a statement that is NOT sitting well with members of the LGBTQ+ community: the 33-year-old said he’s a gay man right now just without “the physical act.”
The WTF comments were made on Monday during a panel discussion for the London production of the play Angels in America, in which Garfield plays Prior Walter, a gay man battling AIDS in the ’80s. When an audience member asked how he prepared for the role, Garfield explained that he watched RuPaul’s Drag Race with friends, the Gay Times reported.
“My only time off during rehearsals—every Sunday I would have eight friends over and we would just watch Ru,” he said. “This is my life outside of this play. I am a gay man right now just without the physical act—that’s all.”
To make matters more confusing—and offensive—Garfield (who famously dated Emma Stone) clarified that he’s still attracted to women. “As far as I know, I am not a gay man,” he said.
“Maybe I’ll have an awakening later in my life, which I’m sure will be wonderful and I’ll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I’m secluded to my area, which is wonderful as well. I adore it, but a big concern was what right do I have to play this wonderful gay role?”
Rightfully so, members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community are not impressed with his remarks. A writer at INTO, Grindr’s news section, tweeted that Garfield is pulling a “James Franco”—who has played many gay characters on film despite being heterosexual—and that straight actors need to stop this “nonsense.”
Andrew Garfield, pulling a James Franco while discussing acting in “Angels in America.” Straight actors, please stop this nonsense. pic.twitter.com/BPkJLPiZaJ
— AKA Kalinda Sharma (@Nico_Lang) July 5, 2017
Others were quick to point out how ridiculous Garfield’s comments were.
andrew garfield: i am a gay man right now JUST WITHOUT THE PHYSICAL ACT
— Erick (@Alwaystronger_5) July 6, 2017
Me, Grabbing Andrew Garfield by the shoulders and shaking him: IT’S CALLED BISEXUALITY pic.twitter.com/lH4tj8Ol5c
— sami (@ezekielfiguero) July 6, 2017
The way I see it there is only one way for Andrew Garfield to prove whether he’s gay or not
— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) July 6, 2017
Me reading articles about Andrew Garfield saying he’s gay but not really gay pic.twitter.com/UN2PUuDpUB
— Adam Valentine (@Adam86Valentine) July 6, 2017
Garfield’s insensitive comments highlight the issue that many heterosexual, cisgendered actors play roles that could be filled by members of the LGBTQ+ community—people who actually have lived experience. When straight actors play gay characters, it’s their job to get educated and take the responsibility seriously.
Tony Kushner’s Angels in America is an incredibly powerful story, and Garfield’s remarks should not detract from the production of the play. We just hope that next time Garfield will think before he speaks—and do more research than watching drag queens on TV.
GLAAD Report Says LGBTQ People Are “Nearly Invisible” in Hollywood
Dan Levy on Schitt’s Creek: “It’s Important to Tell Queer Stories”
Roxane Gay Slams Podcast for Being “Cruel and Humiliating”