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When did it become OK to yell at celebrities as they accept awards on a stage? Jared Leto became the latest celebrity to be heckled by an attendee at an awards ceremony, this one taking place Tuesday evening in Santa Barbara, California. It extends a bizarre (and hopefully short-lived) trend of entitled audience members thinking they can bully themselves into an actor’s moment to get their "message" heard.
Leto was accepting the Virtuosos Award Tuesday at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As he spoke about his work in Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club -- a role that has earned him an Oscar nomination and numerous early awards – Leto heard a woman in the audience shout, "Trans-misogyny does not deserve an award." I’m not even sure what "trans-mysogyny" means. Neither did Leto, for he fired back, "What do you mean by that?" The following back-and-forth took place:
As you might expect, that last comment from Leto earned huge applause from the audience, mostly consisting of actors, producers and directors who need to explore such roles if this industry is to survive. THR reports that Leto "met with the heckler and her friend afterwards, where the trio had a cordial conversation for about fifteen minutes." Class act.
I’m not trying to say that the woman’s comments aren’t valid. She can hope to see actual trans-gender actors playing characters like Rayon on screen. Imagine flipping the script ever so slightly. What if a white actor had been cast as Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave? Said actor could make the same argument that Leto proposes. "What, because I’m white, I don’t deserve to play that part?" And I think most of us would agree that yes, it would be silly to see a white actor playing an enslaved free-man in the Antebellum South.
But seriously, when did it become routine for people attending awards ceremonies to just shout comments at actors on the stage? It’s disgraceful when supposed "professional" critics do it. It’s not much better when regular attendees take to heckling. Does this trend mean we’re primed to see a disruption at the Academy Awards on March 2? Tune it to see if we get something as bizarre as this: