Richard Dreyfuss’ ‘offensive’ comments at ‘Jaws’ event lead venue to apologize

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BEVERLY, Mass. (AP) — The actor Richard Dreyfuss showed up in a dress at a “Jaws”-themed event in Massachusetts, where the blockbuster 1975 movie he starred in was shot, and then proceeded to make demeaning remarks about women, LGBTQ+ people and diversity.

The venue, The Cabot in the community of Beverly, issued an apology after Saturday’s event.

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The 76-year-old actor, who played a marine biologist in the movie, walked onstage wearing a blue, floral-patterned dress that stage workers helped him remove before he put on a sport coat.

During what was supposed to be a lighthearted question-and-answer session, some people in the audience walked out over his remarks about women in film and the #MeToo movement, transgender youths and LGBTQ+ rights, and the Academy Awards’ efforts to foster inclusivity. Dreyfuss has previously said the academy’s diversity efforts “make me want to vomit.”

Dreyfuss received applause when he ended the discussion by referencing his book, “One Thought Scares Me…” and his opinion that civics is no longer being taught in classrooms, to the country’s detriment. The lack of a foundation in civics means “we have no knowledge of who the hell we are,” he said. “If we don’t get it back soon, we’re all going to die.”

The Cabot sent an email apology in which it said it didn’t endorse the opinions of the actor, who also starred in “Close Encounters of The Third Kind,” “American Graffiti” and “The Goodbye Girl,” a performance for which he received an Oscar. The venue’s executive director didn’t respond immediately to emails Tuesday, and a representative for Dreyfuss could not be reached.

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“We deeply regret that Mr. Dreyfuss’s comments during the event were not in line with the values of inclusivity and respect that we uphold at The Cabot. We understand that his remarks were distressing and offensive to many of our community members, and for that, we sincerely apologize,” The Cabot’s statement said.

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