Actor Wil Wheaton has opened up and apologized for his past homophobia in order to emphasize the harm done by Dave Chappelle’s anti-trans rhetoric in the comedian’s latest Netflix special, The Closer.
“For anyone who genuinely doesn’t understand why I feel as strongly as I do about people like Chapelle making transphobic comments that are passed off as jokes, I want to share a story that I hope will help you understand, and contextualize my reaction to his behavior,” the former Star Trek: The Next Generation star wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.
Wheaton goes on to explain how Eddie Murphy’s 1983 standup show Delirious caused him to be “embarrassingly homophobic” during his teen years.
“[The show] had bits that still kill me,” he wrote. “There is also extensive homophobic material that is just f*cking appalling and inexcusable. Long stretches of this comedy film are devoted to mocking gay people, using the slur that starts with F over and over and over. Young Wil, who watched this with his suburban white upper middle class friends, in his privileged bubble, thought it was the funniest, edgiest, dirtiest thing he’d ever heard. It KILLED him. And all of it was dehumanizing to gay men. All of it was cruel. All of it was bigoted. All of it was punching down. And I didn’t know any better. I accepted the framing, I developed a view of gay men as predatory, somehow less than straight men, absolutely worthy of mockery and contempt.”
It wasn’t until Wheaton used the word f*ggot in front of a group of peers — all of whom were gay, unbeknownst to him at the time — that he was confronted with his own, damaging prejudice.
“The room fell silent and that’s when I realized every single guy in this room was gay,” he recalled.
“Do you have any gay friends?’ One of them asked me, gently.
“‘Yes,’ I said, defensively. Then, I lied, ‘they say that all the time.’ I was so embarrassed and horrified. I realized I had basically said the N word, in context, and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to apologize, I wanted to beg forgiveness. But I was a stupid sixteen year-old with pride and ignorance and fear all over myself, so I lied to try and get out of it.”
Wheaton has had three decades to process and evolve from his teenage ignorance, and he is rightly concerned that Chappelle’s recent jokes punching down at trans people will have a similar effect on many viewers.
“So this stuff that Chapelle did? That all these Cishet white men are so keen to defend? I believe them when they say that it’s not a big deal. Because it’s not a big deal TO CISHET WHITE DUDES. But for a transgender person, those ‘jokes’ normalize hateful, ignorant, bigoted behavior towards them. Those ‘jokes’ contribute to a world where transgender people are constantly under threat of violence, because transgender people have been safely, acceptably, dehumanized.”
“Too many of my fellow cishet white men are reducing this to some abstract intellectual exercise,” he continued, “which once again centers our experience at the expense of people who are genuinely threatened by the normalization of their ‘less than’ or ‘outsider’ status. Thirty years ago, I centered myself and was appallingly hurtful as a result.”
He finished by stating that, “I was sixteen and didn’t know any better. I still regret it. Frankly, a whole lot of y’all who I’ve already blocked should feel the same shame about what you said TODAY that I feel for something I did three decades ago when I was sixteen and didn’t know any better. But you don’t, and that is why people like me need to keep using our voices to speak up and speak out.”
You can find the full post here.
Quite surprising considering that I always found his character Wesley Crusher to be a tad light in the loafers as he zoomed through space.
Also his starting uniform also had stripes the color of the pansexual flag…
I thought the same
Right, and as a gay youth myself I always thought he was hot and gay.
Well in ’97 we found out exactly what Eddie Murphy was hiding with his homophobia.
What was he hiding? Not that you’ll see this.
Nothing! It was nothing! He was just giving her a ride home!!
Chapelle must be getting you clicks you’d only dreamed of.
And as usual one of the right wing troll’s screenames comes in to mock somebody who is defending LGBTQ people.
Your troll game is tired and old.
This coming from an “actor” who over half the population thought was GAY? Ridiculous…
Meaning what? That because people thought he was gay he isn’t allowed to defend other LGBTQ people?
A nice apology! But I’ve never seen “cishet” in print before and I think it should be hyphenated cis-het. “Cishet” looks like the name of a deity in ancient Mesopotamia.
i always loved wil wheaton & he’s a super nice guy.
Iv been waiting on pins and needles for this apology. Violent eye roll here.
Dave Chappelle’s show is old news, let’s move on. Not everyone is going to agree with everything and that is their right. Some are going to express that through some form of free speech. People are going to agree or disagree and that is the way the world works. But this “unless you believe in the same way I do mentality or get cancelled,” Is similar to what North Korea is about. That is disgusting. Eddie Murphy’s movie was funny, I remember laughing because I found it amusing out. Very few comedy movies make me laugh, that was one of the rare ones that. I hate “cishet” or cis-het.” So are we cis gay or cisgay? Hate those too.
Translation The right wing troll says nobody ever has any right to not like something Chapelle did and they must be forced to watch his specials.
See how that works?
North Korea??? Your nightmares about “social justice warriors” must be literal and really vivid.
Ken, it appears you are trying to argue that it’s o.k. to blast and shame LGBTQ people like Chappelle did. You need to re-read what Wil said and maybe you will understand that he too thought Murphy’s movie was funny until he learned & realized it wasn’t and understood the amount of hurt it inflicted on undeserving people. Realize also, that he thought it was funny at age 16. Unless you are also 16, you should be ashamed of so blatantly ignoring the feelings of people you obviously don’t know and don’t deserve having to suffer from countless other impressionable youths who today laugh at what Chappelle says.
Let me recap here. Ken is saying it is offensive that people don’t want to let Chappelle speak his mind unchallenged and is suggesting we don’t speak our minds to resolve it.
CLEARLY you missed Wil’s entire point. And I applaud him! Did you not see his statement that Eddie Murphy’s 80’s Comedy Show left Wil “Embarrassingly Homophobic?!”
@KenA, you do an incalculable disservice–to the point of absurdity–to the millions of people in North Korea who are beaten, starved near to death, tortured and killed by comparing ANY actions by people seeking accountability for racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. behavior to the actions of the dictatorship there. Do you have any clue what North Koreans have faced in the past or are facing as you sit at your keyboard now? Have you read a single thing about the experiences escapees from the regime faced before they were able to successfully flee? Your analogy suggests you are so clueless you should not be taken seriously at all. Please, troll, GO AWAY.
Who can forget Eddie Murphy’s appalling homophobic routines? And, to think, at the time people were saying Murphy would be the next Bob Hope. lol.
Wil Wheaton has done some good with these revelations and his on target criticism of Chappelle’s crap (sanctioned by Netflix and other profiteers- yuck!).
I can’t recall how the Sheldon – Wil Wheaton relationship played out in the end, but I would definitely encourage Sheldon to let it go and see Wheaton for the upstanding guy he has become.
They eventually became good friends.
Fahd, I could not agree more. Thanks for sharing your comment.
I love Wil, he’s awesome and such an amazing ally. His blog is really good, too, if you’ve never read it.
Since you are a reader of his blog, tell us: In all the years that he has been blogging, has he ever mentioned this incident with the all-gay hockey team and his use of the f-slur?
Hank31 – your insipid point being?
LOL! I LOVE it when the right wing troll account is so desperate that it tries to put up a little vague comment hoping it will create something out of nothing.
Your troll game is boring and funny.
LeBlevsez Point is that the anecdote seems fake. It’s got holes. He says that this incident from the 80s weighed on him and that he thinks about it all the time. But even though he has blogged for years and years, had a podcast, and even written an autobiography, I don’t think he has ever mentioned it before now, which is why I asked the question.
Also, how likely is it that he would play multiple games with that team, get to know and like them, and yet nothing ever indicated that it was an all-gay team? And how likely is that that a TV and movie star at the peak of his stardom (Stand By Me, Star Trek, A Separate Peace) would be hanging out at the local rink for pickup games with strangers?
Three strikes and I call fake.
The phrase that Wil Wheaton was reported to have said was either “There are no f*ggots on the Enterprise”, or “There are no f*ggots on the bridge.” It was reported when he was still on TNG, and was a minor dust-up that disappeared quickly.
Your comprehension is lacking. He said he played with “some team”. Nothing about multiple games with this group.
He was a known quantity, but even after a starring role in “Stand By Me” he wasn’t the break-out. River Phoenix got the glory. And Star Trek is infamous for a tight purse, unless you’re one of the so-called Big Three. So despite his fame, he still would have been an upper middle class kid looking for some fun.
You’re a lousy umpire.
The same boring old right wing troll who always attacks LGBTQ allies and defends bigots.
How many Chapelle haters would buy tickets to go see Bianca Del Rio do the same thing he does?
Bianca is a member of the “community” so the drunks that see him give him a free pass and he is playing a character while capale is being his authentic self. Roy is a nice person IRL.
*I am not a fan of bianca but like that he’s not afraid to call out other queens for their bad work ethic
Any Lisa Lampenelli fans here?
My god. All these comments are so bitter! Bravo to Wil! We need more people to come out and speak like this.
I apologize for my previous “?”, John. I attempted to reply with a thumbs-up emoj. It failed.
Thank you, Wil Wheaton.
Apology accepted Wil !
Wil’s seems a true, heartfelt apology, and I’m grateful to him for it.
On the other hand, Kevin Hart’s and Dave Chappelle’s lame, self-centered excuses for apologies seemed like actions forced by fear of losing business.
I agree as well.
Will Wheaton I’ve always liked, Wesley not so much but good on him for this
This queen just wants attention
The thing is, who is worse – someone telling gay and trans jokes, or lobbyists advocating that young gay boys suffering gender dysphoria are to be taken to gender clinics where they are affirmed in their dysphoria, put on chemically castrating “puberty blockers” and end up as lifelong hormone and surgery patients, unable to have actual orgasms and at risk for early onset osteoporosis?
Do you know of any organizations speaking up for gay kids?
I think you’ve been misled, it’s a very lengthy and critical process to be considered for puberty blockers. They’re also not really used for boys, because a certain surgery requires a fully-formed appendage.
Maybe you’re thinking guns? Those are the things that are easy to get.
I see you switched over to this screename so you could use any excuse to attack trans people. We get it, you probably have some unresolved issues in that area yourself. Just like the most rabid homophobes are usually self hating closet cases.
No – i am not misinformed – You’re talking ancient history.
Trans activists have successfully broken down those walls they call “gate-keeping,” and they are working hard to make exploratory therapy (to find out why a child shows signs of gender dyspjoria) illegal as “conversion therapy.” This forces all therapists, teachers, guidance counselors to “affirm” any child’s claim of gender identity which thanks to TikTok, Instagram and trans activists in the schools is massively on the rise.
There are presently 60 PEDIATRIC gender clinics in the U.S. Hospitals and Planned Parenthood have gotten into the gender business – and you don’t make money by turning people away.
You are right that blockers being used on boys leaves them with a micro penis, but if you listen to the activists, they still tell you there is no risk and they are reversible – a total lie.
But you are right – that micro-penis is useless for forming the female sex organs. You can see the horrific result for celebrity “trans-kid” Jazz Jennings on youtube. Look up “Gender Surgery Gone Wrong: I Might Never Have an Orgasm/I Am Jazz.” Mom is still loving the limelight, but her father’s face says it all.
I’d never seen the 1983 Eddie Murphy special Wil refers to. Found the first ten minutes or so free on YouTube. Whoa. It’s bad, it’s REALLY bad. He says “f*gg*t in the very first “joke” and it goes on & on. But it’s not just the word. By 2021 standards it’s primitive and juvenile.
I’ve seen the Eddie Murphy comedy specials–I grew up with them–but let’s not forget, in 1997, Eddie Murphy got stopped by cops after having picked up a trans woman sex worker, Atisone Seiuli (also known as Shalimar), at a well known gay/trans sex worker spot in West Hollywood. Murphy was four years into his marriage with Nicole Mitchell Murphy. There had been rumors about Murphy’s sexuality for years, and this confirmed some of them, suggesting it probably wasn’t the first time he had sought out sex with a trans sex worker.
A lot of Eddie Murphy’s homophobic bluster was not just catering to the homophobia of the time–the 1980s were the era of Reagan-right-wing backlash, the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, etc.–but his own inability to fully deal with his repressed sexual desires. If any of you remember Murphy’s ridiculous PR response, he claimed it was insomnia; he was being a “Good Samaritan” and giving the trans woman a ride; etc. He was even mocked on SNL over this. The sex worker gave a different story about Murphy’s approach to her, etc. The tragedy in all of it was that she apparently fell to her death outside her apartment roughly a year or so after the incident.
It’s an unpersuasive (and likely dishonest) post by Wesley:
1. The incident with the hockey team seems fake. He played multiple games with that team and got to be friends with the guys but it never came up that it was an all-gay team? No one mentioned it? Not one person said anything gay-related? Fake. Also, he claims that this incident weighed heavily on him and that he thinks about it all the time. So why hasn’t he ever mentioned in prior to now. The man blogs, had a podcast, and wrote a book about himself, but this incident is never mentioned. Why? Also, at 16, he was a fairly big star in movies and TV, so it seems unlikely he would be hanging out at the local hockey rink to be a pickup goalie.
2. It’s ridiculous to compare Eddie Murphy’s homophobic rant in Delirious to Chappelle’s Netflix special. They are nothing alike.
3. It’s fallacious to equate LGB people with transes. They are 2 different groups, and thus claims (or jokes) about one may or may not be comparable to claims (or jokes) about the other. His use of the term “cishet” is nonsensical. Cis and het are 2 different things, so lumping them together makes as much sense as blue-eyedbusdriver.
Cis and het are two different things sure. They are the same in magnitude as they are both explain the expected indentity of any wild-type of a human being one may encounter.
But put them both together and they are a complex.
Cis + het = at least 90% of the general human population. From there with adding several additional parameters like: male, white or Christian you can predict with with confidence an average person view in that cohort.
You are so determined to cause trouble. All that effort you put into this post, why don’t you use it for something good? Why don’t you spread a little compassion?
The right wing troll gets so desperate on ANY article about an LGBTQ ally that it has to make multiple posts trying to lie and attack them.
Please tell Putin to spend a little cash and hire some smarter trolls, you’re trolling is boring and sad.