On Monday, Jared Leto was interrupted onstage at Santa Barbara’s International Film Festival by a heckler while discussing his role as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. A hush fell through the crowd as a woman yelled out, “Trans misogyny does not deserve an award.”
I can’t stand this sh*t. Short of a few extreme and legitimate examples, we don’t need to be yelling at everyone we have an issue with every time they get on a stage. Why? Because most issues are complicated, multidimensional and best of all — involve several opinions. And no matter how poignant the objection, if you're yelling, we all assume you’re drunk anyway.
Why was this celeb-heckling different? Because this time, Leto managed to smooth the absurdity into rationale with his signature cool. “Well, what do you mean by that?” he asked in response. The woman yelled back, “You don't deserve to play a trans woman,” at which point I leaned back from my YouTubes and threw my hands up. I waited for the inevitable awkward shuffle as the woman was escorted out of the room, but it didn’t come. Turns Jared Leto knows how to flip a b*tch faster than that dude on HGTV.
The actor immediately responded, “… Because I'm a man, I don't deserve to play that part? So you want to hold a role against someone who happened to be gay or lesbian – they can't play a straight part? … Then you make sure that people that are gay, people that aren’t straight, people like the Rayons of the world would never have the opportunity to turn the tables and explore parts of that art.”
BOOM. And I thought I liked him just for the eyeliner.