Actor and comedian Damon Wayans Jr. has described his tweets mocking LGBT+ people as “immature and hurtful.”
Out magazine reported on Sunday (February 3) about several posts dated between 2010 and 2011—and, in one instance, 2016—using the slurs “tranny” and “no homo.”
The tweets have since been deleted, but Out published screenshots of posts. In 2010, Wayans Jr. called another Twitter user a “tranny bitch” and, in another, he wrote: “being on the road during the day sucks tranny balls!”
“When I tweeted those comments, almost 10 years ago, I was unaware of the emotional impact they could have.”
— Damon Wayans Jr.
Several other tweets used the hashtag “no homo” in a variety of situations, like biting into a juicy pear or staying in, instead of going out.
Wayans Jr. is billed to be an executive producer in the series Glamorous, which will feature a non-binary character in its lead role.
He issued a statement to Out distancing himself from the tweets.
“When I was a young comic trying to find my voice, I made some immature and hurtful tweets that I deeply regret at the expense of the LGBTQ community. When I tweeted those comments, almost 10 years ago, I was unaware of the emotional impact they could have,” Wayans Jr. wrote.
Damon Wayans Jr. wrote tweets using the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory term
Along with the tweets featuring the anti-LGBT slurs, Wayans Jr. also wrote several tweets using the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory term or using stereotypes about LGBT people—some of which are still published on Twitter.
In a tweet published as recently as 2016, Wayans Jr. took aim at a disabled LGBT person. “Just saw a blind gay dude, and I have so many questions. Question One: Where’d you get that teacup Seeing Eye dog?” he wrote.
“Excuse me, um, do you have these Toms in a size ‘not gay as hell’?” reads another tweet from 2013.
In 2011, he remarked about the outfit R&B singer Usher wore to the Grammy Awards: “Even Prince thought what Usher had on was gay.
In an interview with the Associated Press in December, just a few days after Kevin Hart pulled out of hosting the Oscars over his past homophobic tweets, Wayans Jr. defended comedians’ right to be offensive.
“We need to protect our comedians because it is another perspective, you don’t want everyone thinking the same—I don’t” he said, adding: “You can’t even work through an idea anymore because you’re like oh-oh-oh that offends people. I don’t like people getting offended, but if there is a good joke at the end of it… [laughs] please offend.”
In his statement to Out magazine, Wayans Jr. said the past tweets do not reflect the person he is now: “I am not excusing that behavior but that is not who I am today. Society evolved and so have I and it is something I will continue to do both personally and professionally. Continued learning, acceptance and thoughtful words are all important actions that will help make society a kinder and safer place for all people. You know better, you do better.”
He also championed the series Glamorous, whose pilot was recently ordered by US TV channel The CW.
“When GLAMOROUS was pitched to us I thought it was brilliant, heartwarming and important. We will continue to be committed to pursuing protagonists who don’t traditionally get to be at the center of a show and bringing their stories to the screen,” Wayans Jr. wrote.