Billy Porter kicked off his Thursday appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” with an apology to Harry Styles for criticizing Vogue’s decision to feature the singer as its first male cover star in 2020.
“Apparently, I’m famous now. And it was a slow news day,” the Emmy-winning “Pose” alum told Colbert, as he began to break down the controversy that ensued last month when he took issue with the cover, which featured Styles wearing a dress. “So, the first thing I want to say is, Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth, it’s not about you, the conversation is not about you.
Colbert added: “For the people that don’t know, Harry Styles was the first man to appear on the cover of Vogue.”
“In a dress,” Porter noted.
He continued: “And so, the conversation is actually deeper than that. It is about the systems of oppression and erasure of people of color who contribute to the culture. Now, that’s a lot to unpack, I’m willing to unpack it, sans the dragging and cancel culture of the internet, because I do not now, nor will I ever, adjudicate my life — or humanity — in sound bites on social media. So when you’re ready to have the real conversation, call a bitch, OK? I’m ready to have it. And I’m sorry, Harry! I didn’t mean no harm. I’m a gay man, we like Harry! He’s cute!”
Styles, who has not described his gender expression in detail, wore a dress on the 2020 December cover of Vogue.
In an Oct. 17 interview with The Sunday Times, Porter questioned Vogue’s decision to make Styles its first male cover star, saying “he’s just [wearing a dress] because it’s the thing to do.”
“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to,” Porter told the Times. “I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why. I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.”
“This is politics for me,” the actor continued, according to the Times. “This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight.”
“I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation?” Porter added. “He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do.”
When Colbert asked on Thursday’s “Late Show” if Porter was shocked by the level of interest in his comments about Vogue’s decision to pick the singer as its first male cover star last month, Porter said: “I am surprised, because there are so many other things that are important on this earth to be talking about. It’s just weird.”
Watch Porter’s full interview with Colbert above.
Vogue parent company Conde Nast did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Friday on Porter’s remarks on “The Late Show.”