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Billy Porter apologises to Harry Styles for criticism of Vogue dress cover

"It's not about you."

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Attitude/Columbia

Billy Porter has apologised to Harry Styles after comments he made about the singer wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue.

Former One Direction star Harry wore the garment for the fashion bible last year, generating global headlines.

Pose star Billy addressed the move in an interview with The Times last month, saying: “This is politics for me. This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned [down]. All he has to do is be white and straight.”

He added: “I’m not dragging Harry Styles. But he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do.”

“Slow news day”

However, the star has clarified his point of view, recently saying on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: “The first thing I wanna say is, Harry Styles, I apologise to you for having your name in my mouth. It’s not about you. The conversation is not about you.

“The conversation is actually deeper than that. It is about the systems of oppression and erasure of people of colour who contribute to the culture.”

He added that the quotes lit up because it was a “slow news day”, telling journalists to “call a b***h” [if they want to address the matter] sans the dragging and cancel culture of the internet because I do not now, nor will I ever, adjudicate my life or humanity in sound bites on social media.”

Porter continued: “I’m sorry, Harry. I didn’t mean no harm. I’m a gay man. We like Harry, he’s cute.”

Last month, Porter took home the Man of the Year award supported by Virgin Atlantic at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar.

Styles has never publicly confirmed how he identifies in terms of his sexuality. However, he told The Guardian in 2019: “Am I sprinkling in nuggets of sexual ambiguity to try and be more interesting? No.”

He also said: “It’s not like I’m sitting on an answer, and protecting it, and holding it back. It’s not a case of: I’m not telling you cos I don’t want to tell you. It’s not: ‘Ooh this is mine and it’s not yours.’ […] It’s: who cares? Does that make sense? It’s just: who cares?”

The Attitude December issue is out now.

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