Actor Andrew Garfield has come under fire for his comments about his preparations to play a gay man in the upcoming stage adaptation of "Angels in America."
Garfield is set to play Prior Walter, a gay man battling the AIDS disease in the 1980s, in a London adaptation of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America." When the straight Garfield was asked how he prepared to play a gay man, his response inflamed social media.
“My only time off during rehearsals -- every Sunday I would have eight friends over and we would just watch [RuPaul's Drag Race]. This is my life outside of this play. I am a gay man right now just without the physical act -- that’s all,” Garfield said a platform discussion July 3, according to Variety.
"RuPaul's Drag Race" is an American reality TV show hosted by drag queen RuPaul. The show is currently in its ninth season and has been critically acclaimed for its work in the daytime slot.
Several users took to Twitter to express their displeasure with Garfield, whom they accused of oversimplifying the gay experience and taking credit for his "gay" experiences.
"Andrew Garfield says he's gay because he watches 'RuPaul's Drag Race,'" wrote one user. "You know, like that kid who thinks he's Asian because he watches [Japanese series] 'Naruto.'"
"Andrew Garfield, pulling a James Franco while discussing acting in 'Angels in America,'" offered another. "Straight actors, please stop this nonsense."
But not everyone who followed Garfield's explanation thought it was as harmful to the gay community as others portrayed.
"Hi everyone, Andrew Garfield is an ally who said something a tiny bit silly about enjoying watching a very good program that is very gay," said a supportive Twitter user. Others also stepped in to say that Garfield's comments were fairly benign and the story had been fabricated by media sources.
Garfield spoke further about his role as a gay lead, saying he's not currently homosexual but is open to further exploration.
"As far as I know, I am not a gay man," Garfield said, according to CNN. "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, but a big concern was what right do I have to play this wonderful gay role?"