Actor Penn Badgley: Too Many ‘Privileged Ass White People’ in Hollywood

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: Penn Badgley attends the ANGELO GALASSO Polso Orologio Party at The Plaza Hotel on September 5, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Angelo Galasso)
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Angelo Galasso

Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley called out Hollywood and the overwhelming amount of “privileged ass white people” in the entertainment industry in a new interview, attacking its lack of diversity.

“If anybody exists at any kind of intersection of oppression beyond the box of white male, I’d say let’s make damn 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,” Penn Badgley told PinkNews.

Badgley also sounded off on the controversy around “privileged” actors playing the roles of “marginalized” characters.

“In theory, in a totally just society, yeah, anybody can play anybody and that would be great,” he said, adding, “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.”

The 32-year-old also simply attacked white actors, saying, “In reality, we have basically, like, privileged ass white people playing everybody, and so we need to stop that.”

The debate over whether actors should be taking roles that don’t match their actual gender and race has become a hot topic in Hollywood over the last few years.

This summer, actress Scarlett Johansson was cast to play the role of a transgender character in the film Rub & Tug, but after social media outrage, she backed out of the role because she was not transgender.

“In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,” she said.

“Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive.”

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