Billy Eichner is clarifying comments he made that many perceived as subtle shade directed at other LGBTQ rom-coms.
In a recent interview with Variety, the Bros writer and star spoke about how significant it is that the gay rom-com is getting a theatrical release.
“I told myself to look around and appreciate how rare and magical this moment is because you are making a movie that looks and feels like all the romantic comedies you grew up loving, but you’re doing it as a gay man,” he said. “And this is not an indie movie. This is not some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows. I needed to appreciate that ‘This is a historic moment, and somehow, you’re at the center of it. You helped create it.’”
After Variety shared part of the quote on Twitter, fans took issue with Eichner’s seeming dismissal of gay indie films and streaming offerings. Some even interpreted his comments as a subtle dig at this summer’s other gay rom-com, Fire Island, which was released on Hulu.
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I like Billy Eichner and I *love* romcoms—especially the gay ones!—but wow, way to make yourself and your film sound really shitty https://t.co/NOcNA7Kk2O
— Philip J. Ellis ❤️💎 Preorder LOVE & OTHER SCAMS (@Philip_Ellis) August 31, 2022
Agreed. Why does he need to diss anything here? Indie LGBT films paved the way for what comes next.
— Shane Morton (@kristoffershane) September 1, 2022
Others acknowledged that Eichner was simply noting the progress inherent in a major studio giving an unapologetically gay rom-com big budget and theatrical release.
I don't wanna be the "well, actually" guy, but to me it seems like he's just talking about the validation that comes from a studio pic in society vs. an indie film. That's not diminishing indies, it's simply saying…this is a mainstream movie with real money and that's big.
— Sonny Dyon (@sonnydyon) September 1, 2022
Variety subsequently deleted its original tweet with the partial Eichner quote, and the actor clarified his statement.
“I was not at ALL referring to the quality or monumental impact of streaming films, I was referring to the way that, historically, LGBTQ+ content has often been considered niche and disregarded by Hollywood,” Eichner tweeted.
“I am very proud Bros is one of many projects – theatrical, streaming, online, etc – where so many of us are finally getting to tell our own LGBTQ+ stories.”
“Being an openly gay man and a loud and proud part of the LGBTQ+ community is one of the things I am most proud of in my whole damn life. And from the bottom of my heart I truly am so sorry if I inadvertently offended or insulted anyone. I really am.”
Being an openly gay man and a loud and proud part of the LGBTQ+ community is one of the things I am most proud of in my whole damn life. And from the bottom of my heart I truly am so sorry if I inadvertently offended or insulted anyone. I really am. Thank you.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 31, 2022
Eichner, in fact, previously participated in a June interview with Fire Island star and screenwriter Joel Kim Booster in which the two talked about their films.
“I’m so relieved that your movie is coming out, and that things like Heartstopper and Keiynan Lonsdale’s movie My Fake Boyfriend are coming out around the same time,” Booster said. “There’s so many. I think that we, as a community, have been so starved for stuff like this that when one thing does come out, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God. If it doesn’t represent all of us in one season of television or one movie, then we hate it so much.’”
“What Joel’s saying is entirely accurate,” Eichner responded. “We’ve gotten so few of these movies over the years, and they’ve so often been told by straight people or embodied by straight actors. So when movies like these do happen, there’s such a burden to represent every single person in the LGBTQ community, and everyone from every economic strata and every different ethnicity and background and generation — and in an hour-and-40-minute rom-com.”