Billy Porter, the Emmy-winning star of “Pose” and a trailblazer for gender-fluid fashion, has reignited his criticism of Harry Styles’ Vogue cover and accused editor Anna Wintour of favoritism. Porter said he feels like the fashion industry has accepted him “because they have to” and not because they appreciate his style and activism.
Porter, who made history by wearing a tuxedo gown to the Oscars in 2019, told The Telegraph that he had done a Q&A discussion with Wintour in the months leading up to Styles’ December 2020 cover, in which the British pop singer wore a lace ballgown by Gucci. Porter said he was asked by Wintour how Vogue could do better in promoting the “de-gendering of fashion movement”.
“I was so taken off guard that I didn’t say what I should have said,” Porter said. “Use your power as Vogue to uplift the voices of the leaders of this de-gendering of fashion movement… Six months later, Harry Styles is the first man on the cover.”
Porter added that he doesn’t blame Styles, who has not publicly labeled his sexuality, but he does take issue with “the gatekeepers” in the fashion industry that have allowed for this oversight in LGBTQ representation.
“It’s not Harry Styles’ fault that he happens to be white and cute and straight and fit into the infrastructure that way,” Porter said. “It doesn’t feel good to me. You’re using my community — or your people are using my community — to elevate you. You haven’t had to sacrifice anything.”
Porter previously apologized to Styles for his comments
This is not the first time that Porter has expressed his displeasure with Styles’ Vogue cover. In an interview with The Sunday Times in October 2021, Porter said that he “changed the whole game” for gender-nonconforming looks in celebrity men’s fashion, but he felt like Vogue still chose Styles as the first solo male cover star because he was “white and straight”.
“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,” Porter said at the time. “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.”
Porter later apologized to Styles for his comments during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in November 2021.
“Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth. It’s not about you,” Porter said. “The conversation is not about you.”
Porter says he needs to sell his house due to Hollywood strikes
Porter’s latest remarks come amid his personal and professional challenges. The actor recently revealed that he and his husband Adam Smith have split up after six years of marriage. He also said that he has to sell his house because of the ongoing Hollywood strikes that have affected his income.
“I live check-to-check,” Porter told The Telegraph. “I don’t have any money saved up.”
Porter said he hopes to find more opportunities in the entertainment industry that will allow him to showcase his talents and passions.
“I want to be a part of something that changes people’s lives,” he said. “I want to be a part of something that makes people think differently about themselves and about each other.”