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Jonathan Bailey recalls scary Washington DC encounter: ‘My life was threatened’

"If that's what children are surrounded by, they're not going to be able to grow in any way"

By Alastair James

Jonathan Bailey/Attitude
Jonathan Bailey's Attitude cover shoot (Picture: Claire Harrison/Attitude)

Bridgerton and Fellow Travelers star, Jonathan Bailey, has shared a rather terrifying experience he had while over in the United States.

The actor, 35, had been in Washington DC for an event with the Human Rights Campaign in October when the incident took place.

Recalling the event where he presented his Fellow Travelers star Matt Bomer with an award for his LGBTQ advocacy, Bailey said, “It was an incredible experience.” Speaking to The Standard further of his first political gala he said he “had the most amazing night,” and was “buzzing” afterward.

The next morning he went to get coffee wearing a Human Rights Campaign branded cap. He was chatting to the woman sorting his coffee who recognised him from Bridgerton when a man arrived behind him.

“He said, ‘Are you famous?’ And I said something like, ‘I’m really famous for ordering coffee,’ which is actually quite an annoying thing to say,” Bailey said. “And then he got my cap, and he pulled it off my head and he threw it across the room and he said, ‘Get out of this f***ing coffee shop, you queer.”

Bailey then said he picked his cap up and put it back on. “If you don’t take that cap off, I’m gonna f***ing shoot you. Where I’m from, people like me kill people like you,” the man then said.

“People’s lives are literally at risk” – Jonathan Bailey

Thankfully one person intervened and said she was recording the incident. She also told Bailey “You are welcome in this country,” and that what the man was saying was “appalling.” The man then left.

Bailey poignantly shared that his takeaway from the exchange was that “potentially, there is a kid who – that’s his father. That’s his uncle. That’s his teacher.”

He went on to say: “My life was threatened. My body believed it; my brain didn’t and it took me a while to really catch up with it.” he took solace in having “friends and security,” before lamenting that “There are so many people that don’t.” he also said: “If that’s what children are surrounded by, they’re not going to be able to grow in any way.”

Seemingly referencing comments from leading Conservative politicians such as the former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, Bailey highlighted that such conditions are not exclusive to the US.

“It’s terrifying, that [here in the UK] we’re not looking after queer people, in terms of allowing them into the country. Because that is the reality; people’s lives are literally at risk.”

As well as taking a leading role in shows such as Fellow Travelers and Bridgerton, Bailey has also become known for his own LGBTQ advocacy. Recently the actor became a patron for the young person’s charity, Just Like Us.

Fellow Travelers is streaming on Paramount+. Bridgerton season three will stream in May and June 2024