Jeff Goldblum has faced backlash from viewers of RuPaul‘s Drag Race after his comments on Islam.
Appearing as a guest judge, he asked one contestant Jackie Cox, who is of Iranian ancestry, about Islam’s treatment of women and the LGBTQ+ community.
“I’m here, and I deserve to be in America just as much as anyone else.”
— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) April 25, 2020
Cox, real name Darius Rose, was dressed in a stars and stripes hijab in keeping with the episode’s patriotic theme, which the drag queen said “represents the importance that visibility for people of religious minorities need to have in this country.”
— Jackie Cox (@JackieCoxNYC) April 25, 2020
Goldblum then asked Cox: “Is there something in this religion that is anti-homosexuality and anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue? I’m just raising it and thinking out loud and maybe being stupid.”
The actor’s comments sparked backlash online. The poet Omar Sakr said: “Jeff Goldblum felt the need to say “but isn’t Islam anti-gay and anti-woman” to Jackie because she was wearing a stars-and-stripes hijab, as if America hasn’t been anti-gay and anti-woman from the outset, or killed and displaced millions of Muslims, including women and queers…”
America, and by extension Christianity, is forever allowed to be exemplified by the best of what it represents; Arabs and Muslims are forever and only allowed to be exemplified by the worst. This is not just tiresome, it's also deadly in how it entraps a billion+ in villainy.
— Omar Sakr (@OmarjSakr) April 25, 2020
Others described the comment as “incredibly uneducated and dangerous and hurtful,” and said his comment “erases Muslim women & LGBT people fighting to practice Islam while affirming their identity.”
that statement by jeff goldblum that islam as a religion is anti woman and anti lgbt was so incredibly uneducated and dangerous and hurtful
— Femme Snowflake ❄ (@femmesnowflake) April 25, 2020
On @RuPaulsDragRace, Jeff Goldblum was wrong & being stupid. A white non-Muslim man abusing his platform to push Islam as anti-homosexuality & anti-woman erases Muslim women & LGBT people fighting to practice Islam while affirming their identity. Love & respect to @JackieCoxNYC. pic.twitter.com/b5QOqfX7a4
— #MassTestingNowPH / #MilkTeaAlliance Stan ⁷ (@MarchingHere) April 25, 2020
Some also said that texts from other religions such as Christianity and Judaism are intolerant of homosexuality, and questioned Goldblum’s decision to single out Islam.
and reading the tweets of these white gays clapping for Jeff Goldblum further proves that LGBTQ Muslims are not welcomed and we are always told to choose one, either what we are or what faith we follow. why can't we choose both? islamophobia within LGBTQ spaces is real. #DragRace
— ahmed gay ish (@baddest_biittch) April 25, 2020
Others, however, defended Goldblum’s asking of the question. “It is an extremely valid discussion point on an episode that focussed on the political nature of being LGBT. We need to be able to have these discussions,” wrote one fan on Twitter.
Why are people giving Jeff Goldblum shit for very considerately asking about sexism and homophobia in Islam? It is an extremely valid discussion point on an episode that focussed on the political nature of being LGBT. We need to be able to have these discussions. #DragRace
— Euan (@purpleisafruit1) April 25, 2020
Cox herself responded on the show with an impassioned speech about her identity. “When [Donald Trump’s] Muslim ban happened, it really destroyed a lot of my faith in this country, and really hurt my family.
“That’s so wrong to me. And I had to show America that you can be LGBT and from the Middle East, and there’s gonna be complicated shit around that, and that’s OK.”
Godblum is no stranger to controversial comments. In November 2019 he sparked backlash for defending Woody Allen and saying he would “definitely” work with him again.