Billy Dee Williams Is Okay with Actors Wearing Blackface: 'You Should Do Anything You Want'

"I refuse to go through life saying to the world, ‘I’m pissed off.’ I’m not gonna be pissed off 24 hours a day," the star said of actors wearing blackface

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Billy Dee Williams is sharing his thoughts on actors wearing blackface.

The legendary actor, 87, made his remarks on the Club Random with Bill Maher podcast while discussing the late English actor Laurence Olivier, who appeared in the 1965 film version of Othello in blackface.

"When he did Othello, I fell out laughing," Williams recalled.

“He stuck his ass out and walked around because Black people are supposed to have big asses...," Williams said in the podcast that premiered on Sunday, April 7. "I fell out laughing."

Related: Billy Dee Williams Gets Candid About Infidelity: ‘I’ve Been Philandering My Whole Life’ (Exclusive) 

Maher quipped, "And Bradley Cooper thinks he’s got a problem with the nose," noting the prosthetic nose Cooper donned while portraying legendary composer Leonard Bernstein in the film Maestro.

Williams chimed in, "I thought it was hysterical. I love that kind of stuff."

Maher continued the conversation and told Williams, "Today, they would never let you do that.”

When Williams asked "Why?", a seemingly shocked Maher responded, "Blackface?!"

Williams doubled down and told Maher, "He should do it," adding, "If you're an actor you should do anything you want to do."

Related: Billy Dee Williams Recalls Backlash and Hatred From Fans Over Empire Strikes Back Ending (Exclusive)

Maher then pointed out that Williams once "actually lived in a period where you couldn't do that. Where you couldn't play the part."

"But it didn't matter," rebutted Williams. "The fact is ... you don’t go through life feeling like, 'I’m a victim.’ I refuse to go through life saying to the world, ‘I’m pissed off.’ I’m not gonna be pissed off 24 hours a day.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

The actor has become increasingly candid in recent years, telling PEOPLE in February, "I figured maybe I need to talk about a few things that might interest a few people. I've had a lot of very interesting experiences throughout the years."

In his memoir What Have We Here?: Portraits of a Life, released that month, Williams revealed that Marlon Brando once hit on him during a party at Brando's home.

Williams declined the legendary actor's advances, saying, "I prefer women."

The memoir followed a 2019 Esquire interview where he sparked speculation about his gender identity and sexuality after revealing that he sees himself as “feminine as well as masculine.”

Williams later clarified his comments in an interview with The Undefeated.

“But what I was talking about was about men getting in touch with their softer side of themselves,” the actor said in part. “There’s a phrase that was coined by Carl G. Jung, who was a psychiatrist, who was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, and they had a splitting of the ways because they had different ideas about the… what do you call it? Consciousness. Unconscious. It’s a collective consciousness.”

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.