Billy Eichner Clarifies Remarks On 'Disposable' LGBTQ Streaming Films After Backlash

The actor drew ire on social media this week after emphasizing that his new comedy "Bros" wasn't "one of a million Netflix shows" in a Variety interview.
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The rollout for the new romantic comedy “Bros” hit a rough patch this week after actor and co-writer Billy Eichner drew backlash over comments many felt were dismissive of other LGBTQ-focused projects.

Due out Sept. 30, “Bros” has been widely touted as a historic achievement in Hollywood. The movie is directed by Nicholas Stoller, whose credits include mainstream hits like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Neighbors,” and looks poised to be a breakout for Hallmark Channel heartthrob Luke Macfarlane as Eichner’s love interest. The principal cast is made up entirely of LGBTQ actors, who play both queer and heterosexual characters.

Speaking to Variety, Eichner opened up about the “rare and magical” experience of making “Bros,” which has drawn comparisons to rom-com classics like “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” ― albeit with a same-sex couple as its focal point.

“Hollywood took a century to make this film,” he told the publication in an interview published Wednesday. “That’s not my fault — that’s Hollywood’s fault for taking this fucking long.”

“And this is not an indie movie,” he continued. “This is not some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows. I needed to appreciate that ‘This is a historic moment, and somehow, you’re at the center of it. You helped create it.’”

Eichner’s remarks received a blistering response on social media from a number of LGBTQ media personalities. Some perceived the comments as a dig at Hulu’s “Fire Island,” a queer romantic comedy starring Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang that was released in June.

(Yang, coincidentally, has a small role in “Bros.”)

“I would love to root for this movie, but they are not making it easy,” Gawker’s Olivia Craighead wrote. “Is it good? Who cares! It’s important that you see it, or else queer cinema will be left to wither and die on streaming services or, heaven forbid, be produced by smaller companies and go on to win Best Picture at the Oscars.”

Others pointed out that Eichner had appeared to also forget about 2020’s “Happiest Season,” which starred Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis. That movie had been intended for a theatrical release before producers decided to unveil it on Hulu due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Wednesday night, Eichner had clarified his comments, noting on Twitter that he hadn’t intended to downplay “the quality or monumental impact” of streaming content, but merely to emphasize “the way that, historically, LGBTQ+ content has often been considered niche and disregarded by Hollywood.”

Before it hits screens nationwide, “Bros” will make its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival later this month.

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