During a recent episode of America's Next Top Model cycle 21, Tyra Banks called out male contestant Denzel Wells for homophobic comments he made after he saw his competitor Will Jardell rock a pair of 6-inch heels.
Banks was made aware of Wells’s negative comments when she asked Jardell why he had chosen to wear heels to the judges’ review portion of the episode. When he explained his fashion choice was a response to Wells’s homophobic comment that he didn’t want to lose and have to explain to his friends how a guy in heels had beat him in the competition, Banks took the chance to educate the model.
“This is an industry that is predominately female. So whenever you step into an industry that is predominately a certain sex, you get the stereotype that you are gay,” she said. “Be proud of this industry and every single male model, gay, straight, heels, corsets — who gives a fuck?”
She then took her lesson one high-heeled step further by adding, “I want to take you back 50 years and imagine you overheard Will say, ‘I hope that Denzel guy doesn’t win, because if a black guy wins my friends at home are going to say I’m his bitch.’”
Watch the moment unfold in the video clip below.
Since the episode aired, Wells has claimed his comments were taken out of context.
“I’ve always seen Will as Will, not ‘gay Will,’” he recently told The Advocate. “I was just making an observation of what he wore and how that would play into him booking jobs. I’ve never felt that he is less than me because he wears heels or is openly gay.”
“I also said that I didn't want to lose to some of my other male roommates and highlighted qualities about them which I felt would be a challenge for them getting booked for a big job,” he continued. “It was my way of sharing why I deserve to win this competition. But the entire situation was taken out of context. I believe everyone should be treated equally and with respect regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, or race.”