He might have played one of TV’s most dependable (and dreamiest) big brothers on the classic sitcom The Brady Bunch, but actor Barry Williams is probably due for a session of sensitivity training after sticking his foot all the way down his throat by suggesting he’d “go transgender” to generate publicity for his new reality series.
Williams spoke on camera with Huffington Post’s Ricky Camilleri to promote A Very Barry Branson, a series for the Great American Country network which documents his efforts to stage a ’70s-themed musical revue in nostalgia-loving Branson, Missouri. The 60-year-old actor became visibly uncomfortable when asked about rumors of a bitter custody battle with an ex-girlfriend, yet Camilleri continued to push for answers.
“We don’t have time for all of that rigamarole and sorting it out. I want to find out if Bruce Jenner is going to become a woman or not,” Williams stated, to steer the conversation in another direction with what was presumably an attempt to combine humor and gossip surrounding another icon from the ’70s.
“That guy is committed. He is committed to promoting himself. And I’m thinking, maybe, I don’t know, I could say — I’m just saying, if this thing doesn’t work, and the series isn’t doing as well as I want, I’m going transgender,” Williams suggested.
To his credit, Camilleri informed the entertainer that transitioning is a “difficult emotional process.”
Still, Williams was undaunted and unapologetic. “I’m an actor, I can handle it,” he said.
For the record, despite countless articles in magazines, newspapers and other outlets that usually quote anonymous sources close to him, former Olympics champ Jenner has yet to make his own public announcement that he identifies as transgender so anything you read is purely speculation.
Also, it’s unlikely that Williams is transphobic, just perhaps trans-ignorant. He merely tried to make a very clumsy, ill-informed joke. Many celebs, even one with the manageable fame of the erstwhile Greg Brady, tend to breathe rarefied air and can be completely oblivious to the delicate sensitivity that should greet such a personal journey as the one Jenner might be on. We’re pretty sure that Williams’ TV siblings Cindy (Susan Olsen) and Peter (Christopher Knight) would be on the right side of this discussion, though.
Watch the interview with Williams below.