For the most part, celebrity interviews are the epitome of fluff and prescreened questions. But too often when the conversation turns to sexuality and gender identity, an interviewer will come up with questions that are invasive or downright queerphobic. As cringe as these segments can be, they also provide rare moments of queer affirmation on mainstream TV. With that said, here are some famous clips of a celebrity turning an uncomfortable question into an opportunity for learning.
In an old interview, Paul McCartney alluded to the shocking idea that there is more than one gender a person can be attracted to. The clueless interviewer asked, “Could you give me the alternative to girls?”
“Yes, boys,” McCartney replied. Obviously.
I cant stop thinking about this homophobic interviewer … like😩 pic.twitter.com/NB86zxsiOn
— sausage mcshiddle (@spideytcrch) February 26, 2022
During a promotion for her 1991 documentary film “Truth or Dare,” Madonna responded to an interviewer’s belittling questions about how homophobic viewers might receive the film (as if she should care…?). “This is Madonna on a one-woman crusade to change the world?” he commented sarcastically.
“Somebody’s got to do it,” she replied.
When promoting the documentary Truth or Dare in 1991, Madonna effortlessly shuts down this 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 publicly address his sexuality. “You could stop these rumors,” she said, insinuating that he should come out to do so. Of course, Walters could also have put a stop to the rumors by not perpetuating them on live TV. Said Martin, “I think sexuality is something that each individual should deal with in their own way,” adding that “homosexuality should not be a problem for anyone.”
Way back in the One Direction era, an interviewer pressed the boys on whether they were uncomfortable with the fact that they have male fans. Like really pressed. Over and over again. Almost as though he wanted them to be uncomfortable. “Everyone is welcome as a One Direction fan,” was their response.
Louis getting pissed at a homophobic interviewer and defending 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 to whether she makes music for “gays” with a simple “I do.” She looked around for a follow-up question, but that was as far as the hosts had thought it through, assuming this was some scandalous revelation. It was an awkward moment, and Banks let the hosts stew in that awkwardness.
And finally, Laverne Cox made an appearance on MSNBC in 2017, shutting down a transphobic opponent to gender-neutral bathrooms. “I think it’s important that when we have conversations with and about trans people that we do not reduce us to body parts,” she said. “We are more than the sum of our parts, and it is so deeply objectifying and dehumanizing to talk about trans people and reduce us to body parts.” Just Laverne Cox flawlessly demonstrating that she is not only a great actress but an eloquent speaker for trans rights.