Penn Badgley, best known for playing Dan Humphrey on the hit show Gossip Girl, is weighing in on the debate over whether straight actors should play gay roles and sharing why he’s so over “privileged ass white people.”
In a new interview with PinkNews, the 32-year-old actor/singer says, “If anybody exists at any kind of intersection of oppression beyond the box of white male, I’d say let’s make damn sure that they’re being represented by the people who have lived this experience [and] not have people who haven’t lived the experience portraying them.”
The reason, Badgley says, is pretty simple.
“Because then at the end of the day you’re getting a real portrayal.”
Earlier this year, Disney was criticized for casting Jack Whitehall, a straight man, in its first openly gay role, and Scarlett Johansson backed out of playing a trans man after receiving backlash.
Asked whether only LGBTQ actors should be cast in LGBTQ roles, Badgley responds, “Yeah, I actually really like that idea, I do.”
“In theory, in a totally just society, yeah, anybody can play anybody and that would be great,” he adds, “But that’s not the world we live in.”
The remarks come on the heels of actor Darren Criss announcing this week that he will no longer play any LGBTQ roles, saying “I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”
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You know what, on tour, we see gender inclusive restrooms EVERYWHERE we go, and signs openly welcoming all kinds, most of all in North Carolina–where it's supposed to be the opposite, according to the declarations of politicians and "the law". It occurs to me now that despite the fear mongering and anti- laws being passed, the inevitable recognition of injustices & inequalities is bringing about a deeper, subtler, more REAL reality unfurling around us. It might be wearing an ugly mask for the time being, but our reality is progress no matter what our demagogues proclaim. It's developing, here & now, and it's actually inclusive & tolerant, regardless of the "law". It flies in the face of the law, straight up. It abides by a truer law of the spirit, this reality, more every day. At the moment, striving to see what's good in the world, I view this as genuinely better than the mere absence of prejudiced laws, because that absence still allowed prejudice to flourish comfortably. Now, in the face of hate that has always existed, people are choosing to declare their tolerance and acceptance rather than being silently complicit in an intolerant world.
“We live in a world that does not recognize virtually anyone outside of the white male or the beautiful white woman who has to be an object of desire and affection,” Badgley tells Pink News.
“In reality, we have basically, like, privileged ass white people playing everybody, and so we need to stop that.”
Up next, Badgley will appear in the Netflix thriller drama You, which premieres December 21.