Following a swift backlash, Halle Berry has apologized for remarks she made in an Instagram Live video over the weekend in which she said she was prepping to play a trans man in a film.
Berry, who broke ground as the first Black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar (for Monster's Ball in 2003) apologized for her statements on Monday, which GLAAD used as an example of listening and using one’s platform to amplify the needs of the trans community.
“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 tweeted. “I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake. I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”
GLAAD also suggested that people should learn more about trans visibility and representation in film and TV and how trans folks have historically been shut out of telling their own stories by watching the Netflix documentary Disclosure.
As Berry’s statement about her desire to play a trans role gathered steam over the weekend, calls to cancel her were swift.
“[It’s] a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man. She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing,” Berry said.
“Who this woman was is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next project,” she said, which also drew ire for her misgendering of the character.
The Disclosure documentary responded to Berry's initial statements.
Berry’s remarks follow years of conversations in the zeitgeist about the problems with cisgender actors taking on trans roles. Those who’ve been called out for playing trans even as cisgender awards circles like the Emmys and the Oscars have rewarded some of them include Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, Eddie Redmayne, Michelle Rodriguez, Scarlett Johansson, and Matt Bomer. Johansson famously doubled down against the notion that she shouldn’t play trans to make room for trans people to tell their own stories and also to ensure jobs for trans actors. But after much back and forth, she admitted to "mishandling" the pushback she received.
While Berry was called out for her initial remarks, her apology was widely met with positive responses for her vow to listen to and amplify trans voices.