Andrew Garfield dipped his toes into some scalding hot water earlier this month while discussing his role in the London production of Angels In America. For someone who has been a vocal proponent of LGBTQ+ rights, he made a pretty a tone deaf comment. Now, he's spoken up and decided to explain what he actually meant.
Angels In America by Tony Kushner is an eight hour play describing the lives of two gay men in the midst of the AIDS crisis. The play itself has gotten good reviews, but Garfield's description of himself while playing the role is not so great. He told journalists "I am a gay man right now just without the physical act — that’s all." And the internet was rightfully upset.
Many actual members of the LGBTQ+ community thought that the straight actor was trivialising what it means to be gay. Others find it a bit disconcerting that Garfield is attracted to roles where he plays LGBTQ+ people. He played a trans woman in an Arcade Fire music video in 2014, and danced on stage in a wig at RuPaul's Queens Werq The World tour. Combined with his taking on the role of Prior Walter in Angels In America, this off-putting comment unsettled a lot of fans.
Now, Garfield came to his own defence in an interview with Newsbeat. His defence?
"It's a love letter to the LGBTQ community," Garfield explained. "We were talking about, 'How do you prepare for something so important and big?' and basically I was saying, 'I dive in as fully as I possibly can.'"
Garfield went on to say that he admires the culture so much and would never want to offend its members.
"It's important to a community that I feel so welcomed by. The intention [in my comments] was to speak to that, speak to my desire to play this part to the best of my ability and to fully immerse myself in a culture that I adore."
Does that explanation cut it?