Penn Badgley: We need to stop having ‘privileged ass white people playing everybody’

Penn Badgley at arrivals for Lifetime Pr...

I genuinely enjoy it when white dudes have moments of wokeness, even if those moments are performative. It’s better than the alternative, isn’t it? Penn Badgley never struck me as a bad guy or anything, but his career has struggled for several years now. Maybe some of that is just bad luck, or bad career decisions, or maybe he’s just sick of the way Hollywood works. In a new interview, Penn spoke about how often white, cisgendered men are asked to play characters they have no business playing, and that Hollywood uses white men as the “default” for storytelling. Welcome to Hollywood, Penn Badgley!

Actor Penn Badgley slammed the acting industry for its lack of diversity in a recent interview, saying white people are often chosen to play the roles of marginalized or oppressed peoples.

“If anybody exists at any kind of intersection of oppression beyond the box of white male, I’d say let’s make [expletive] sure that they’re being represented by the people who have lived this experience [and] not have people who haven’t lived the experience portraying them,” he told U.K.-based PinkNews. “Because then at the end of the day you’re getting a real portrayal.”

Specifically responding to a question about whether gay and transgender people should be cast in gay and transgender roles, the actor — who gained notoriety after playing the character Dan Humphrey in the hit drama series “Gossip Girl” on The CW — said he “really [likes] that idea.”

“In reality, we have basically, like, privileged a– white people playing everybody, and so we need to stop that,” he told PinkNews.

Badgley said “in theory” and in a “totally just society,” any actor should be able to portray any character, but “that’s not the world we live in…. We live in a world that does not recognize virtually anyone outside of the white male or the beautiful white woman who has to be an object of desire and affection,” he added.

[From Page Six]

A white dude dates Zoe Kravitz for a year and has a come-to-Jesus revelation: “We live in a world that does not recognize virtually anyone outside of the white male or the beautiful white woman who has to be an object of desire and affection.” I don’t hate it? It’s like it’s slowly dawning on some of these men that they really shouldn’t be cast in certain roles, and that only telling stories about white people is kind of boring. Whitewashing roles is boring. Misgendering characters with cisgendered actors is boring. Penn gets it. Now we need other white dudes to get it.

Penn Badgley at arrivals for Lifetime Pr...

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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16 Responses to “Penn Badgley: We need to stop having ‘privileged ass white people playing everybody’”

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  1. Eric says:

    Says privileged ass white person named Penn of all names.

    Say hello to Skylar, Hunter, Forrest, and Thurston for us.

    • Megan says:

      He didn’t chose his name or his race. We need white men to be part of the conversation if we want real and lasting change. I think speaking out about an industry you rely on for your paycheck takes guts.

      • Eric says:

        Dad’s name was Duff and was a political candidate. Went to private K-12 college prep. Dad coached the soccer team. Mom was PTA president.

        Choose, for what it’s worth.

      • Katherine Vineyard says:

        The people getting the attention ARE white males so I’m pretty damn happy some of them are choosing to use their platform to talk about privilege despite being privileged.

        The second you exclude anyone from the conversation, what you are discussing becomes less important. This is important.

    • Jesma says:

      It seems unfair to judge him for a name his parents picked. Also I don’t think he is saying all white men need to quit acting. He is saying white straight people shouldn’t take roles that are meant for people of color or GLBTQ. It seems like he wants to see more diversity in the Hollywood offerings.

      He plays a great creepy stalker in You.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      my Russian Jewish great grandfather’s name was Americanized to Penn when he immigrated here – it’s not just a rich WASP name

    • Amelie says:

      We need more white males to speak up and make a change. I don’t think we should judge him for being white and rich. Just because he is privileged doesn’t mean he can’t support diversity and inclusion.

  2. Chelsey says:

    He was reeeeally creepy in You. He was very convincing. I do think he’s cute, in that hipster skinny barista way.

  3. Lucy says:

    I’ve always liked him. Always. And this is not the first time he speaks on such subjects. His favorite role of mine is (oddly enough) the one he plays in Easy A. He should do more romcoms!

  4. Legs93 says:

    Penn has always been pretty woke. He’s a good dude. He took some time out to play in his band MOTHXR. They are actually quite good.

    • Moneypenny says:

      Exactly, this is certainly not the first time he’s said things in this vein. Him speaking on an issue does not mean he JUST became aware of an issue.

  5. Trolltoll says:

    Dan Humphrey 😍😍😍