After days of controversy surrounding her casting on HBO Max's upcoming ballroom voguing competition show Legendary, The Good Place star Jameela Jamil came out as queer last week in an attempt to assuage the online vitriol.
"This is absolutely not how I wanted it to come out," she wrote. "Twitter is brutal."
Many LGBTQ+ celebs immersed in ballroom culture called out the actor (who they assumed to be a straight, cisgender woman) and questioned why she was qualified to judge an art form that has often been appropriated for mainstream consumption. After attempts to fend off the understandably critical onslaught floundered, it seems Jamil assumed they'd be more understanding of her as a judge if it was known that she was a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
It did her no favors. People continued to pile on, pointing out that just because Jamil is queer doesn't mean she's qualified to judge ballroom. She also became the butt of many jokes, as you can see in PinkNews article, "Jameela Jamil is being harassed with ‘shocking vitriol’ after coming out as queer and it’s seriously not OK."
Five days later, Jamil has broken her silence on the drama.
"Well. Last week was a perfect clusterfuck," she wrote. "It was completely overwhelming."
"The sequence of events was insane, a misunderstanding was left uncorrected for too long, and misinformation spread too far, too fast, then my timing was bad, and in a moment of distress and pain, personal things were blurted out because when you have a secret for decades and you’re traumatized, it always feels like it might just fucking burst out of you at any given moment, even the most inappropriate and unfortunate ones. I thankfully chose the *most* inappropriate and unfortunate time, maybe ever, for mine. So now you don’t have to feel embarrassed about yours.
I PEAKED FOR ALL OF US! But timing aside. Better out than in, and thank you for the thousands of messages of kindness and deeply personal letters from strangers and people I know, coming out to me privately. I don’t take it lightly and am happy for you that you felt ready to tell even one person.
Do it whenever you feel the time is right, as long as you think you’ll be safe. Don’t feel bad for hiding it for as long as you need, and move at your own pace. But feel no shame about getting it off your chest and know you aren’t alone. There is a huge community of people who understand you, respect you and stand with you.
On we go, hoping this week will be calmer than the last, and sending everyone the most love."
It's a complicated situation. Ballroom has helped queer and trans black and brown people find a community for decades and is an artistic channel for their experiences. Those involved and invested in those communities are understandably protective. HBO is trying to push it into the mainstream with this new show but should certainly listen to the concerns of the community for accurate representation. It's also unfair that Jamil faced the grunt of the online anger and that she felt so backed into a corner that she came out when she wasn't ready.
The internet can be unforgiving.0
Jameela Jamil Breaks Silence on Her 'Clusterf*ck' of a Coming Out0