Jared Leto defended his decision to play a transgender person after being questioned by hecklers.
The actor was on stage at the Virtuosos Awards for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Monday when the incident occurred.
According to People magazine, someone shouted “Trans misogyny does not deserve an award” while the 42-year-old was talking to Dave Karger from Fandango.
Instead of reacting in anger, Jared chose to start a dialogue with the people who tried to yell at him.
“Well, what do you mean by that?” he asked the pair of women who were sitting near the front row.
“You don’t deserve to play a trans woman,” one of the hecklers said, referring to his Dallas Buyer’s Club character Rayon.
“… Because I’m a man, I don’t deserve to play that part?” Leto responded. “So you want to hold a role against someone who happened to be gay or lesbian – they can’t play a straight part?”
The woman then explained what she meant, saying a transgender person should have played the role. She said awards and opportunities should be given to transgender people.
“Historically, straight-gender people always play transgender people, and all of them received awards and credit for it,” she said, to which the actor replied, “Then you make sure that 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.”
Jared invited the women backstage to speak about the issue further, and had a “private, peaceful-looking” before the women left looking happy, according to Dave Karger.
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