Actor Billy Porter is not exactly known for holding back, whether in his acting style or his red carpet quips. So when Entertainment Tonight asked Porter for his thoughts on the Will Smith/Chris Rock Oscars slap, Porter unsurprisingly did not hold back.
ET interviewed Porter as he walked the red carpet at the grand opening of the Shonda Rhimes Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles over the weekend.
Speaking to the show's Kevin Frazier, Porter called the incident "upsetting" and gave a thoughtful and forceful condemnation of Smith's actions, which Porter likened to toxic masculinity.
See his comments below.
Porter told Frazier he found the slapping incident particularly upsetting given the dynamics he's had to deal with as a Black queer man in Hollywood.
"...[A]s a Black, queer man who has been dragged through the mud—for not being masculine enough in this world... being called the cause of the emasculation of the Black man because I decided to play with feminine silhouettes in my clothing—it’s really disheartening that the version of masculinity shows up like that."
"It's upsetting. It's upsetting."
He then concluded his comments by saying Will Smith's example of masculinity has only made Porter more determined to be himself.
"And I will be the Black queen that I am, because if that is the representation of what masculinity is supposed to be, I don’t need it."
The aftermath of the incident, in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars telecast because he made a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith's closely shaved hair style, has sparked an extremely divisive discourse.
Some feel Smith's actions were justified given that he was sticking up for his wife after Rock mocked her appearance. But many others have expressed shock and dismay at the violence.
And on YouTube, they came out in force to applaud Porter for pointedly speaking out.
"'That the version of Masculinity shows up like that is upsetting' that part right there 💔🖤 Love Billy so so much..." --Babalwa Zikhona Ngozi/YouTube
"I love how he pulls from his life experience highs and lows and stands there in that moment chin up , owning himself , his way , and so intentional with every answer to those questions. I love it and him truly !!!!" --Roger BeAr/YouTube
"Yes Billy, Will’s display of “masculinity” is not to be measured or construed as being manly." --bajanboi noho/YouTube
"Gracefully and beautifully responded!! 👏🏻 👏🏻" --x0x0_4667/YouTube
"I'm older than La Porter by a couple years. It makes me SO happy when he speaks OUR truth about how we're treated as Black men who HAPPEN. To love men. As Steven Carrington once said, 'I am a man! Just not your kind.'" --Aswad*/YouTube
"Tht is Billy the legend speaking wisdom..." --priyank tiwari/YouTube
"Love! Love Billy! He Has The Courage To Tell The Truth!..." --Sun Krishka/YouTube
"He always gives me more reasons to love him! 😊 This was very well said." --NikyBee/YouTube
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which administers the Oscars, seems to agree with Porter too.
The organization banned Smith from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years as a result of the incident.