After Backlash, Halle Berry Backs Out of Potential Role as Transgender Character

Halle Berry typically lays low but if you follow her on Instagram, you’ll note she shares cooking videos, fitness routines, and other content.

Since quarantine, she’s even doing the occasional Instagram Live session like the one she did during the Fourth of July weekend. Berry recently caused a stir online over comments about a role she was excited to play, and wound up apologizing.

Halle Berry
Halle Berry | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

What did Halle Berry say?

Berry spent time chatting with Christin Brown, a professional makeup and hair artist. Brown and her wife co-own a salon that caters to clientele with curly hair. She and Berry reminisced about what sparked their friendship and eventually pivoted to Berry’s career and her hairstyles over the years.

Since Brown is a stylist, much of their conversation touched on Berry’s hair on and off screen. Brown brought up the shortest haircut she’d ever had (in James Bond), and asked Berry if she would do it again.

Berry answered yes, and said, “I’m thinking about this character where the woman is transgender.” Noting short hair, she continued, “She’s a woman that transitioned into a man.”

Brown asked Berry what type of role she would like to try next, and she indicated it’d be this one. “This project got pitched to me right when I was on the brink of making Bruised and my directorial debut, and I was so in the mindset of getting in the body to play that [MMA character].”

Berry caught flak over prospective role as transgender man

Berry stated that as soon as Bruised wrapped, she said to herself she wanted to do this transgender role. “I want to experience that world. I want to understand that world, I want to understand that character.”

She continued, “Who this woman was is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next project.” Berry called it a female story about a woman transitioning to a man, and said it was important to her to explore the story, and the “why” behind it.

While Brown sounded excited about role, some social media users were not.

Instagram commenters on Brown’s feed wrote such things as “Plenty of trans male actors in the world. This role isn’t for you. Stop taking up space,” and “Don’t play a transgender man character. And a transman’s pronouns are HE/HIM and he is NOT A FEMALE or A WOMAN.”

Many were angered that Berry used the incorrect pronouns when referring to the character and believe the role should go to a trans actor.

Activist Serena Daniari tweeted, “It absolutely is NOT a female story, it is a story about a man. And why is the aspect of physical transition the focal point for her? Cis peoples’ understanding of trans issues is really myopic. Girl watch Disclosure on Netflix.”

Berry backed out, apologized for her words

After hearing about the criticism on social media, Berry issued a statement via Twitter. She apologized for her comments and wrote, “As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role, and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories.”

Berry’s message was well-received. Fans thanked her for listening to them and applauded her for being an ally. She pledged to use her voice to work toward equal representation for the LGBTQ community.

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