Friday Night Lights Creator Peter Berg Clarifies Caitlyn Jenner Criticism, Has the “Utmost Respect” for Her

Peter Berg
Peter Berg shared a hateful meme about Caitlyn Jenner in light of her win at the EPSYS. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

UPDATE: Amid backlash to his earlier post, Berg posted a follow-up clarifying his thoughts. In the caption for a picture noting the number of veterans who've died of suicide this year, he wrote: "I have the utmost respect for Caitlyn Jenner and I am a strong supporter of equality and the rights of trans people everywhere. I also believe that we don't give enough attention to our courageous returning war veterans, many of whom have sacrificed their bodies and mental health for our country and our principals — principals that include the freedom to live the life you want to live without persecution or abuse."

Everyone is entitiled to an opinion. Peter Berg, the producer behind the Friday Night Lights TV series, took to Instagram on Wednesday, July 15, to share a critical meme about Caitlyn Jenner

Berg, 51, wrote simply, "Yup" and posted a side-by-side photo of army veteran Gregory D. Gadson and Jenner. The meme was shared in light of Jenner taking home the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS on Wednesday, and compares the reality star's bravery with that of the serviceman. 

"One man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs," the image reads. "Guess which man made the cover of Vanity Fair, was praised for his courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the 'Arthur Ashe Courage Award' by ESPN?"

Berg's Instagram set off a firestorm in the comments with many former fans telling the director that they would no longer support his work. 

"Coach Taylor would be ashamed," one Instagram user wrote, referencing the beloved FNL character played by Kyle Chandler. "I know I am."

A photo posted by Peter Berg (@pberg44) on Jul 15, 2015 at 8:36pm PDT

The filmmaker's opinion comes as a bit of a surprise considering his professional relationship with Buzz Bissinger, who wrote the non-fiction Friday Night Lights book that inspired the television series. Bissinger, 60, famously conducted the celebrated Vanity Fair interview with Jenner, and revealed in 2013 that he too has experimented with wearing women's clothing and questioned his sexuality.

Bissinger previously feuded with Berg in 2012 when Berg told Mitt Romney to stop using the Friday Night Lights quote "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose" in his presidential campaign. 

"I love Pete but he is being childish and petulant," Bissinger told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "He should be flattered that Romney is honoring his show… Berg is just another member of the Hollywood glitterati whose idea of liberalism is making sure their Mexican gardeners get paid only several dollars below minimum wage." 

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