In an interview with The Telegraph, published Friday (Aug. 11), the 53-year-old Pose star rehashes his negative feelings about Styles becoming Vogue‘s first male cover star. He also slams the magazine’s longtime editor Anna Wintour, who interviewed him shortly before Styles’ cover hit newsstands.
“That b—- said to me at the end, ‘How can we do better?’ And I was so taken off guard that I didn’t say what I should have said,” Porter tells The Telegraph, adding that he should’ve told her, “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.”
The December 2020 issue of Vogue features a cover photo of the British pop star wearing a Gucci dress. In the story, he discusses his gender-bending fashion and drawing inspiration from the likes of David Bowie, Prince and Elton John.
In his Telegraph interview, Porter explains that he doesn’t have a problem specifically with the former One Direction member.
“It’s not Harry Styles’ fault that he happens to be white and cute and straight and fit into the infrastructure that way,” the Tony-and Grammy-winner explains. “I call out the gatekeepers.”
He adds, “[Styles is] white and he’s straight. That’s why he’s on the cover. Non-binary blah blah blah blah. No. 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.”
This isn’t Porter’s first time airing his frustrations with Styles’ Vogue cover. In an October 2021 interview with The Sunday Times, the Kinky Boots star called out the “Watermelon Sugar” singer’s Vogue shoot, saying it was a snub to pioneers like himself who worked to make androgynous and genderfluid fashion more mainstream.
“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 clarified his comments during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
“Apparently I’m famous now, and it was a slow news day, so the first thing I want to say is, ‘Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth,’” he told Colbert in November 2021. “It’s not about you. The conversation is not about you… the conversation is actually deeper than that. It is about the oppression and the erasure of people of color who contribute to the culture. That’s a lot to unpack. I’m willing to unpack it sans the dragging and culture of the Internet because I do not now, nor will I ever, adjudicate my life or humanity in sound bites on social media. So when you’re ready to have the real conversation, call a b—-!”