Film

Actor Sam Elliott apologises to gay community for ‘homophobic’ Power of the Dog rant

Emily Chudy April 11, 2022
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Sam Elliott apologises for calling The Power Of The Dog a 'piece of s***'

Sam Elliott apologises for calling The Power Of The Dog a 'piece of s***' (Greg Doherty/Getty Images for Wynn Las Vegas)

Sam Elliott has apologised after he called Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog a “piece of s**t” on a podcast, criticising its depiction of cowboys and “allusions of homosexuality”.

The veteran actor slated the Oscar nominated film for its portrayal of cowboys, who he compared to Chippendales who “wear bowties and not much else”.

“They’re running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie,” he said on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron.

He added about the director: “What the f**k does this woman from down there [Campion, who is from New Zealand] know about the American west?”

Speaking during a promotion for his series 1883, Elliott apologised for his comments, stating: “I wasn’t very articulate about it. I didn’t articulate it very well.

“I said some things that hurt people, and I feel terrible about that.

“I (said) that I thought Jane Campion was a brilliant director… I want to apologise to the cast of The Power of the Dog – brilliant actors all, in particular Benedict Cumberbatch.”

Sam Elliott added that the “gay community has been incredible to me my entire career” and that he’s sorry to the community that helped him “from before I got started in this town”.

He said: “I’m sorry that I hurt any of those friends and someone I loved and anyone else by the words that I used.”

Power of the Dog director Jane Campion attends the Critics Choice Awards wearing a dark blue velvet outfit
Power of the Dog director Jane Campion (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Campion responded to Elliott’s comments before he apologised, telling Deadline: “I think it’s really unfortunate and sad for him, because he has really hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia.

“I think he was being a little bit of a b***h. He’s not a cowboy, he’s an actor.”

Benedict Cumberbatch, the film’s lead, also responded to Sam Elliott’s comments, calling it a “very odd reaction”.

Speaking during the BAFTA’s Film Sessions, Cumberbatch explained it was important to highlight characters like his in the film to “look under the hood of toxic masculinity and try to discover the root causes of it”. 

“These people still exist in our world,” he said. 

“Whether it’s on our doorstep or whether it’s down the road or whether it’s someone we meet in a bar or pub or on the sports field, there is aggression and anger and frustration and an inability to control or know who you are in that moment that causes damage to that person and, as we know, damage to those around them.”

The Power Of The Dog was nominated for 12 Oscars, with Campion becoming just the third female ever to win Best Director.

More: Homophobia, Jane Campion, Sam Elliott, The Power of the Dog

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