Richard Dreyfuss speaks onstage at the screening of "American Graffiti" during the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California Source: Presley Ann/Getty Images for TCM

Massachusetts Theater Apologizes for 'Jaws' Actor Richard Dreyfuss' 'Transphobic' and 'Sexist' Remarks

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

A Massachusetts theater was left apologizing after audience members booed and walked out of an event featuring "Jaws" actor Richard Dreyfuss, who reportedly made "transphobic" comments.

The event, which took place at the Cabot Theater last Saturday evening, May 25, in the Massachusetts town of Beverly, was billed as "An Evening with Richard Dreyfuss + Jaws Screening," People Magazine reported.

Audience members "were likely anticipating some amusing or insightful anecdotes from the actor about filming the classic Steven Spielberg action blockbuster," The Hollywood Reporter related, but "the Oscar winner went on a free-form rant that, according to social media posts from those in attendance, began while he was speaking about Barbra Streisand and moved into his bigoted perspective on trans youth, the Academy Awards' inclusion rules and then on to trans kids affirming their gender."

All of this from a celebrity who, People Mag detailed, "entered wearing a dress, at first, to a background track of Taylor Swift's 'Love Story.'"

"In a brief video posted YouTube, Dreyfuss is shown taking the stage for the Q&A wearing a dress over his clothes," The Hollywood Reporter confirmed.

"After doing a brief dance, he's helped out of the dress by two other people and puts on a jacket."

Variety added that Dreyfuss didn't just trash talk trans youth; he also went after "the MeToo movement and women in general."

"As attendee Diane Wolfe described it to the Boston Globe, '[Dreyfuss] said that the parents of trans youth, allowing them to transition, was bad parenting and that someday those kids might change their minds,'" the entertainment news magazine detailed.

The Cabot Theater issued an apology on May 27, reports said.

UK newspaper the Daily Mail recounted that the Cabot's communiqué read, "We deeply regret that Mr. Dreyfuss's comments during the event were not in line with the values of inclusivity we uphold at The Cabot."

Added the message: "We understand that his remarks were distressing and offensive to many of our community members, and for that, we sincerely apologize."

The Cabot told recipients of its apology that the theater is "committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our community. The views expressed by Mr. Dreyfuss do not reflect our beliefs, and we do not endorse them in any way."

Public response to the debacle was pointed on social media. "One user commented on The Cabot's Facebook page to say they were among those who walked out of the screening, writing, 'We walked out of his interview tonight along with hundred [sic] of others because of his racist homophobic misogynistic rant,'" People Mag relayed.

"Another person tweeted an alternative title for the evening: 'An Evening of Misogyny and Homophobia With Richard Dreyfuss,'" the Mail relayed.

"On May 24, Dreyfuss appeared for a similar session at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire," the Mail said, and the response wasn't much different: "An attendee wrote on Facebook: 'Wow. He was awful. Sexist, mean, arrogant. I walked out as did many others even before the Jaws screening. Awful,'" the Mail detailed.

Others took to X (formerly Twitter) to share their own anecdotes.

The Hollywood Reporter recalled the 76-year-old actor letting fly with similarly controversial sentiments last year on PBS in remarks "regarding the Film Academy's inclusion rules."

"They make me vomit," THR quoted Dreyfuss saying on PBS' Firing Line. "No one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is."

"What are we risking?" Dreyfuss went on to say, according to THR. "Are we really risking hurting people's feelings? You can't legislate that. You have to let life be life and I'm sorry, I don't think there is a minority or majority in the country that has to be catered to like that."

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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