Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry announced she would be dropping out of consideration for a role as a transgender man in an unannounced film.
Berry’s decision came after she received severe backlash from numerous LGBTQ groups.
The John Wick actress had previously announced in an Instagram interview with hairstylist Christin Brown that she was thinking of taking on the role of a woman who had transitioned into a man.
Just after the 36 minute mark, Brown shows off Berry’s haircut from her character Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson from the James Bond film Die Another Day and asks her if she would ever think about having her hair that short again.
Berry responded, “Yea. I’m thinking of a character where the woman is a trans character. So, the hair is going to have to be… She’s a woman that transitioned into a man.”
She added, “She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing.”
Berry would later add, “That’s the character I’m going to play. I want to experience that world, understand that world… I want to deep dive into that like I did Bruised.”
“This world and who this woman was is so interesting to me. And that will probably be my next acting project. And that would require…my hair off,” Berry stated.
She then stated, “That’s what I want to experience, and that’s what I want to understand, and that’s what I want to study, and that’s what I want to explore…”
“It’s really important to me to tell stories, and that’s a woman, that’s a female story – it changes to a man, but I want to…the why, the how of that. I want to get into it,” Berry concluded.
Following these comments a number of LGBTQ activists would decry Berry taking on this role and demand that she remove herself from the unnamed project.
Some of those leading the charge were PinkNews and Jezebel who published articles decrying the possibility of the Oscar winner taking on the role:
In Pink News’ article it reads in part, “Casting cis actors as transgender characters does not usually end well.”
Jezebel’s headline outright calls for Berry to be prevented from playing the character.
It wasn’t just publications, individuals also went after Berry. Danielle Solzman claimed the actress was guilty of “misgendering.”
Trans activist Serena Daniari, who has written in The Guardian, CNN, NBC News, and Teen Vogue declared that “cis actors need to stop this.”
Daniari added, “It absolutely is NOT a female story, it is a story about a man. And why is the aspect of physical transition the focal point for her? Cis peoples’ understanding of trans issues is really myopic. Girl watch Disclosure on Netflix.”
One person tweeted to Berry writing, “Please do not contribute to Queer Erasure. Please do not play a role that can be filled by a talented transgendered actor. Please do the right thing.”
After this backlash Berry took to Twitter to indicate she was leaving the project.
She wrote, “Over the weekend I had the opportunity to discuss my consideration of an upcoming role as a transgender man, and I’d like to apologize for those remarks.”
“As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role, and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories,” Berry continued.
She added, “I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and I will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake.”
Berry then concluded, “I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”
Following her announcement, GLAAD, a major lobbying organizations, praised Berry.
They wrote on Twitter, “We are pleased that Halle Berry listened to the concerns of transgender people and learned from them.”
They added, “Other powerful people should do the same. A good place to start is by watching Disclosure to learn about trans representation in media.”
This isn’t the first time a major Hollywood actor found themselves in the crosshairs of LGBTQ activists. Back in 2018, Black Widow actress Scarlet Johannson found herself also steeped in controversy for wanting to take on the role of a female character that dressed as a man in Rub & Tug.
Like, Halle Berry, after some backlash the actress would pull out of the role. There has been no movement on the film since Johannson announced she would not star in the role.
What do you make of Berry pulling out the role after receiving backlash from LGBTQ activists?