Earlier today, actress Jameela Jamil came out as queer on social media after copping backlash over a new gig as the MC of a vogueing show.
Yesterday, HBO Max announced that Jamil would be the MC and judge of the upcoming vogueing competition series, Legendary. According to Deadline, HBO also revealed Jamil would be joined by fellow judges “Megan Thee Stallion, Law Roach and Leiomy Maldonado alongside a weekly rotating guest judge with commentary by Dashaun Wesley and DJ MikeQ.”
After the announcement was made, fans quickly took to Twitter to criticise HBO’s choice of host, with many claiming Jamil was unqualified to MC and judge a show about an LGBTQ subculture she’s not a part of.
One user tweeted, “I think Jameela is great, but this show raises eyebrows because this could very well lean into the appropriation of ball culture. I am trying to be open to it until we get more details, but the fact that this is on a major streaming platform is raising some red flags…”
Jamil quickly responded to Deadline’s claims, asking that Dashaun Wesley be corrected credited as the MC instead of her. She followed up by tweeting, “@DEADLINE says I am the MC of this show! I am NOT. I am just one of the judges.”
“Reading an inaccurate press release about our new show yesterday was upsetting, and it triggered a lot of incorrect news articles about it,” she then tweeted. “To be very clear, it’s @DashaunWesley who has worked on this show for 2 years and is (and always has been) the MC of #Legendary.”
Despite her attempts to clarify the situation, Jamil continued to face criticism online which lead her to release a statement on her sexuality. She labelled the post ‘Twitter is brutal’ and went on to say “this is why I never officially came out as queer.”
“I added the rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it’s not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter.”
Jamil said she was “scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil with *anyone* openly out.”
She went on to say that it’s “scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties,” and that “this is absolutely not how I wanted it to come out.”
Jamil acknowledged that “being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom,” but that she can bring privilege, power and a large following to the show. “Sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalised stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance.”
She also added that she would be taking a break from Twitter following the backlash.
It’s heartbreaking that Jameela Jamil felt forced to come out as queer to avoid hate. Whether she’s right for the show or not, it shouldn’t have gotten to this point.
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