For the most part, celebrity interviews are the epitome of fluff and pre-screened questions. But all too often when it comes to sexuality and gender identity, an interviewer will ask questions that are pushy or downright queerphobic. As chilling as these segments are, they also offer rare moments of queer validation on mainstream television. With that in mind, here are some famous clips of a celebrity turning an uncomfortable question into a learning opportunity.
In an old interview, Paul McCartney alluded to the shocking notion that there is more than one gender a person can be attracted to. The clueless interviewer asked, “Can you give me the alternative to girls?”
“Yeah guys,” McCartney replied. Apparently.
I can’t stop thinking about this homophobic interviewer…like😩 pic.twitter.com/NB86zxsiOn
— Sausage mcshiddle (@spideytcrch) February 26, 2022
While promoting her 1991 documentary, Truth or Dare, Madonna responded to an interviewer’s derogatory question about how homophobic viewers might take the film (like they care…?). “Is this Madonna on a one-woman crusade to change the world?” he commented sarcastically.
“Someone has to do it,” she replied.
When Madonna promoted the documentary film Truth or Dare in 1991, Madonna effortlessly shut down that interviewer’s question about how the homophobic public will react to the film. pic.twitter.com/E3yrmYwLb4
— Lee (@JustifyMyLee) February 15, 2021
In 2000, Barbara Walters famously pressured Ricky Martin to speak publicly about his sexuality. “You could stop these rumors,” she said, hinting that he should come out to do so. Of course, Walters could have put an end to the rumors by not immortalizing them on live TV. Martin said, “I think sexuality is something that everyone should deal with in their own way,” adding that “homosexuality shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.”
Way back in the One Direction era, an interviewer pressed boys if they were uncomfortable with having male fans. How really depressed. Again and again. Almost as if he wanted to make them uncomfortable. “Everyone is welcome as a One Direction fan,” was her response.
Louis gets mad at a homophobic interviewer and defends his LGBT fans.
(Why isn’t this video everywhere?) pic.twitter.com/tmJItGQ3fV
— Larry; (@LHupdates) May 4, 2018
In an interview with The Breakfast Club podcast, Azealia Banks responded with a simple “I do” if she makes music for “gay people.” She looked around for a follow-up question, but that was as far as the hosts thought it was, assuming this was a scandalous revelation. It was an awkward moment and Banks left the hosts stewing in that awkwardness.
And finally, in 2017, Laverne Cox appeared on MSNBC and shut down a transphobic opponent for gender-neutral bathrooms. “I think it’s important that when we talk about and with trans people, we don’t boil it down to body parts,” she said. “We are more than the sum of our parts, and it is deeply objectifying and dehumanizing to talk about trans people and boil them down to body parts.” Only Laverne Cox impeccably demonstrates that she is not only a great actress but also an eloquent speaker for the rights of trans people.