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Joel Kim Booster reacts to Billy Eichner’s comments about “disposable” LGBTQ content

Joel Kim Booster
Joel Kim Booster (Photo: Shutterstock)

Fire Island star Joel Kim Booster has reacted to comments Billy Eichner made last week about LGBTQ content on streaming platforms.

Eichner is currently promoting his movie, Bros. The studio-backed gay rom-com will hit theater screens later this month. Eichner thinks it is particularly significant the movie will play on the big screen. Talking to Variety, he called the theatrical release historic compared to, “some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows.”

Some commentators took this as Eichner dismissing some of the queer content on streaming platforms.

Fire Island, a gay retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, set during a summer trip to the New York hotspot, was released a few months ago on Hulu.

Bowen Yang, Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers, Torian Miller, Joel Kim Booster and Margaret Cho in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Joel Kim Booster responds

Joel Kim Booster, who stars in Fire Island, took to Twitter yesterday to give his thoughts. He says he considers Eichner a friend who was hugely supportive of Fire Island. He also says Eichner was his first “comedy boss.”

Booster said he’d been in the desert for ten days with no phone signal. That’s why he was only commenting now.

“It seems like [Billy] was pretty inarticulate in his excitement about his movie getting a theatrical release, which is really fucking cool and something I’m sure the studio and his publicist is making him constantly talk about,” Booster wrote.

“God knows I’ve said plenty of dumb shit without a publicist’s help.”

Booster continued, “I’m so proud of my movie and all the people who helped make it happen and am so grateful it was accessible to so many people on streaming, and don’t see it as any less valuable because of that.

“That being said, I’m also excited to see Bros on the big screen and wish Billy nothing but the best. I truly hope you can enjoy both or neither of our movies without pitting them against each other (even though that is obviously a very fun thing to do and basically what gay Twitter was created for).”

Booster concluded, “I’ve spoken to Billy and we’re cool, and I’m way too busy reading my 769 unread text messages and writing jokes about Burning Man to focus on this, so that’s a wrap for me. Thank you to everyone for being so supportive, that’s really cool.”

Billy Eichner apologizes

After backlash on Twitter last week, Eichner apologized for any offense his words caused. In a Twitter thread, he said, “I want to clarify what I said about streaming content in Variety. 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.

“I have been openly gay since the beginning of my career over 20 years ago, at a time when that was very challenging. And 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.”

Eichner also replied to Booster’s tweet. He said, “Thank you, Joel. I adore you as an artist and as a friend and I have insane amounts of respect for you. You inspire me to be better and wiser and bolder in my work. That’s the truth. We are all in this together.

“Thank you so much for this note. And I might add, I’m sorry that I was canceled and that our remake of I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY has been shelved. Hope you had fun at Burning Man. See you on the dancefloor.”

Bros will get its world premiere shortly at the Toronto Film Festival. It goes on general release in the US on September 30.