Jared Leto’s interview at Tuesday night’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuoso Awards was interrupted by a heckler who yelled that Leto had no right to play the transgender character in Dallas Buyers Club. “You don’t deserve an award!” the heckler said, according to multiple reports from the event. “Trans-misogyny does not deserve an award!”
Leto calmly engaged with the heckler, who witnesses identified as a transgender woman. “Because I’m a man, I don’t deserve to play that part?” Leto asked, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “So you would hold a role against someone who happened to be gay or lesbian — they can’t play a straight part?”
The two went back and forth, with the heckler complaining that straight actors win awards for playing transgender characters. Leto turned the tables, saying, “Then you’ve made sure 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.”
Leto invited the heckler to continue their conversation after his interview, and according to The Wrap, the two later engaged in a backstage “heart-to-heart.”
Read more at EW.
Jared Leto caught the ire of a heckler on Tuesday while accepting one of the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Virtuosos Awards for his performance as a transgender AIDS patient in “Dallas Buyers Club.”
As Leto was taking his seat after accepting the award, a woman yelled, “You don’t deserve an award. Trans misogyny does not deserve an award!” According to THR, Leto then rose from his seat and asked the protester to clarify her remarks. “You’re a man,” the heckler shouted. “You shouldn’t play a transgendered role!” Eyewitnesses told TheWrap that the audience member appeared to be a transgender woman.
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“Trans-misogyny does not deserve an award,” said the unidentified woman, who attended the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Virtuosos Award tribute honoring Leto and three others who gave breakthrough performances in 2013.
“What do you mean by that?” Leto asked, to which the heckler said, “You don’t deserve an award for portraying a trans-woman, because you’re a man.”
“Because I’m a man, I don’t deserve to play that part?” Leto asked, rhetorically. “So you would hold a role against someone who happened to be gay or lesbian — they can’t play a straight part?”
Leto is nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of Rayon, a transgender woman who is also HIV-positive. He is considered a favorite to win, as he’s already won the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe and SAG awards.