Actor Andrew Garfield has earned the ire of the LGBT community this week after talking about his current role as a gay man in a London play.
“I am a gay man right now, just without the physical act,” Garfield said on Monday.
The 33-year-old actor is currently starring in the London revival of “Angels in America,” a play about the 1980s AIDS crisis in the gay community.
Garfield said as he prepared for the new role, he was concerned he wouldn’t be able to relate enough to the character he was playing.
“What right did I have to play this wonderful gay role?” Garfield asked, according to People.
Confirming that he is straight, Garfield left the door open to later changing his mind about his sexuality.
“As far as I know, I am not a gay man,” Garfield told the Gay Times. “Maybe I’ll have an awakening later in my life, which I’m sure will be wonderful and I’ll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I’m secluded to my area, which is wonderful as well. I adore it.”
The actor admitted to consulting many of his LGBT friends for help with the role, asking them for insight, in addition to watching episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“My only time off during rehearsals – every Sunday — I would have eight friends over and we would just watch Ru,” Garfield said.
“This is my life outside of this play,” he added. “I am a gay man right now just without the physical act — that’s all.”
The seemingly benign statement caused a backlash from many in the gay community who accused Garfield of having “straight white privilege” and minimizing the hardships of the LGBT community.
The straight white privilege of Andrew Garfield. Must be nice to be able to be gay without any of the hardships. https://t.co/Amu9suUkDM
— H. Alan Scott ♂️ (@HAlanScott) July 5, 2017
Andrew Garfield just proved how straight men are trash. Watching #RPDR doesn’t make you gay. Tool.
— NATHAN (@WILLYSMITH92) July 4, 2017
Post modern garbage. You are not a gay man. The act is important sorry dude. https://t.co/WqaGjQhpTB
— Gay Mao (@CupcakeMaoist) July 5, 2017
Andrew Garfield: The gay community’s Rachel Dolezal.
— Emcee Thirst Trap (@Navel_Gayz) July 6, 2017
Straight tourists who try on oppression for kicks make me so tired. Andrew Garfield and James Franco… guys… you will never understand.
— Hamish Steele (@hamishsteele) July 5, 2017
Even though he has ruffled feathers, Garfield told the Gay Times that the play was the most fulfilling experience he’s had to date.
“It’s the most costly thing on the body and on the soul we’ve ever done personally … and I will say it’s the most fulfilling creative experience I’ll ever hope to have,” Garfield said.