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Halle Berry has announced that she will no longer be pursuing a role as a transgender man in an upcoming movie following online backlash.
The Oscar-winning actress revealed in an Instagram Live chat with hairstylist Christin Brown that she had been pitched a project in which she would play a trans person. “I want to experience that, I want to understand that world,” the X-Men star said.
Berry’s remarks caused a storm (pun unintended) on social media, with many feeling her interest in such a role was inappropriate at a time when there’s such an overwhelming call for better representation across the board in the film industry. Berry’s misgendering of this character also caused offense, with the actress repeatedly referring to the trans male character as a “woman.”
“[It’s] a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man,” said Berry. “She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing.”
The chat took place on Friday and this week, Berry formally apologized for her comments, ruling herself out of taking on the role as well as vowing to serve as an ally to the trans community moving forward.
“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,” she said in a statement on 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.”
“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,” 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’s response to the controversy, her openness to learn from the backlash and understanding of her initial miseducation on this issue, is generally being praised online. GLAAD, for one, has applauded the actress’ words. “We are pleased that @halleberry listened to the concerns of transgender people and learned from them,” the LGBTQ+ organization wrote on Twitter. “Other powerful people should do the same.”
Halle Berry is next set to star as a disgraced MMA fighter in Bruised, with which she’s also making her directorial debut, sometime later this year.