Glee star Darren Criss apologized to Caitlyn Jenner via Facebook on Friday, June 26, after the actor joked about her transition from male to female during a Broadway show this week.
One person attending the John Cameron Mitchell-written musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, disdainfully noted Criss’ remark via Twitter. “Tonight, Darren Criss, as HEDWIG said, ‘man, woman, moman, wan, Bruce Jenner, whatever you are,'” the tweeter Marc Lacognata wrote. “And it was very distasteful.”
The context of the line, however, was part of the musical. In Hedwig, the lead describes her perfume line to the audience, and says it’s for everyone — whether you’re a “man, woman, moman, wan.”
While Criss’ comments were made in character (with some improv), the 28-year-old star was soon accused of transphobia by some people across the Internet. This prompted the star — who plays a punk trans character in Hedwig — to address the incident on Friday.
“I want to sincerely apologize to Caitlyn Jenner, all transgender people, and anyone who was offended for my words on stage during Tuesday evening’s performance,” the star wrote to his 1 million-plus followers on Facebook. “In no way do the remarks reflect my personal belief system or my support for transgender people. However, I do realize the severity of the comment and the weight that words can carry and for that, I take full responsibility.”
Criss expressed his direct support for the former Olympian, in her decision to transition from male to female. “I commend Caitlyn on her strength and for spreading acceptance around the globe,” the actor continued. “I have been and remain a proud and unwavering ally of the LGBTQIA community, and will continue to walk alongside my friends on the road to full equality and acceptance.”
Indeed, Criss has publicly been a staunch supporter of the LGBT community for years. The star — who identifies as straight — skyrocketed to the spotlight in Fox’s Glee, after portraying Chris Colfer’s love interest Blaine. In February 2011, Criss told Out magazine: “I think it’s more empowering to everybody, including myself, if I’m articulate about identifying myself as a straight male playing a gay character. Ultimately, that’s more powerful for both communities.”
“The real cool thing is I was inadvertently raised by the gay community,” the San Francisco native continued. “I was staying out much later than most kids after shows, going to restaurants… I was friends with older guys—they were who I looked up to. It wasn’t until later that I put together that they were gay.”
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