Michael Rapaport is no stranger to controversy, but his latest Instagram post has plenty of people upset. In an ugly rant in a video posted on Friday, the actor criticized Panic! at the Disco singer Brendon Urie for coming out as pansexual. Rapaport seemed to have an issue with coming out in general, not with Urie’s sexual identity.
“So, this singer from some pop group called Panic! at the Disco just came out and told the world that he’s pansexual,” the 48-year-old says in the clip. “And it’s national f***ing news. A week before that, a really good actress, Tessa Thompson, came out, that she’s bisexual. Hashtag Tessa Thompson is bisexual. National f***ing news.”
“Tell you something? I don’t give a f*** what you are. You could be pansexual, transsexual, bisexual, trisexual makes no difference to me,” Rapaport says in the video. “You want to normalize this shit? Stop announcing it and making it national f***ing news.”
The actor went on to joke that he’s come out as “sexual sexual,” saying that “nobody gives a f***” about coming-out announcements. “Stop acting like you deserve a medal of honor ’cause you’ve come to terms with your sexuality. It’s not a big deal.”
Rapaport’s comments aren’t exactly discriminatory towards LGBTQ people, but he does present a common misunderstanding about sexuality and representation. As Stephanie Beatriz explained in a recent GQ essay, the only sexual identity that people tend to assume is that someone is heterosexual.
So while Rapaport, a cisgender, heterosexual man, might not gain much from hearing about other celebrities’ coming-out stories, they can make a world of difference for other LGBTQ people who look up to those stars. It’s also a way for people to correctly identify them, going forward — as Beatriz wrote in her essay, bisexuality can feel “invisible.”
Some of the commenters on Rapaport’s Instagram post praised his video, while others pointed out some of the issues with his statements. One person called him “clueless,” while another person tried to explain the flaws in his logic. “This is an ignorant statement, normalizing it requires it to first be acknowledged then it can be normalized,” one Instagram commenter wrote.
“While you may not care (or be homophobic), there are so many out there that need these announcements,” another commenter wrote. “They help people open up, become themselves and also help show to others that homophobia is no longer acceptable.”
This isn’t the first controversy Rapaport has gotten involved in this month. Rapaport also responded to the backlash from trans actresses over the news that Scarlett Johansson would be playing a transgender man in an upcoming movie. Rapaport criticized trans actor Trace Lysette on Twitter, after Lysette tweeted that trans actors should be considered for cisgender roles.
Yeah! She can play Y’all.
DeNiro can play a Boxers & Killers.
Meryl Streep can play everything.
Maybe it’s just YOUR skills ain’t ready?
Maybe your just not that good?
Jealous Ass Hating Ass Motherfucka’s will try anything to further careers,
Veiled in social outcry and protest. https://t.co/klwEAEzk32
— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) July 4, 2018
Rapaport has also tweeted that he’d drop football players who knelt during the national anthem from his Fantasy Football lineup. And when Justin Timberlake performed at the 2018 Super Bowl, Rapaport sidestepped the issue by sharing a tone-deaf tweet about Janet Jackson, which sparked backlash from celebs and others on Twitter who noted his past issues with women.
Naw man. Don’t.
— T'Questlove (@questlove) February 5, 2018
you shaming Janet currently but using old pictures when you have problems attacking women don't hit another.
— Common Janet Jackson Fan (@CommonJanetFan) February 5, 2018
It’s great that Rapaport says he’s fine with other people’s sexual identities, but he clearly still has a lot to learn about the LGBTQ community and other social issues. The question is, will he ever bother to learn?
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