Just a few days after Halle Berry announced she might portray a transgender man in a film, the actress said on Monday that she is no longer considering it following social media backlash.
“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,” Berry said in a statement shared to Twitter. “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.
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“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,” she continued. “I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”
Berry first discussed the role in an Instagram Live on Friday but did not mention other details like the title of the movie.
“I’m thinking of [playing] a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man,” the actress said at the time. “She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing.”
Social media was quick to point out that Berry would be taking an opportunity from a trans actor, and also called her out for misgendering the character as a woman. Many trans artists, as well as the official account for Netflix’s Disclosure documentary, which focused on the lack of trans representation in media, encouraged Berry to reconsider the role.
“We ask that you please watch @Disclosure_Doc on @netflix first to understand how cis actors like yourself acting in trans roles has major cultural consequences offscreen,” the account tweeted Monday. It later thanked Berry for “listening and learning” after the actress released her statement.
Hi @halleberry, we heard you’re considering playing a trans man in your next project. We ask that you please watch @Disclosure_Doc on @netflix first to understand how cis actors like yourself acting in trans roles has major cultural consequences offscreen. #DisclosureNetflix— Disclosure Documentary (@Disclosure_Doc) July 6, 2020
Hey there @halleberry! Have you watched @Disclosure_Doc on @netflix yet? I strongly suggest you do. And then share it with every single person you know. Please fight for us, not against us. #TransIsBeautiful— Jamie Clayton (@MsJamieClayton) July 6, 2020
Halle Berry wants to play a trans man but calls the movie a “female story.” Hollywood thinks the sum of a trans masculine character’s identity is the flashing of boobs. See the connection? @Disclosure_Doc https://t.co/hiYfp4miXx— Vanessa Clark (@FoxxyGlamKitty) July 6, 2020
The public backlash against Berry came afterauthor J.K. Rowling recently faced criticism, including from Harry Potteractors like Daniel Radcliffe, for her anti-trans comments. And two years ago, Scarlett Johansson dropped out of playing a trans man in the film Rub & Tug after fans denounced the decision.