Damon Wayans Jr. is the executive producer of a potentially historic, new CW show centered on a gender nonconforming character, yet Out reports, the actor-comedian has a history of homophobic and anti-trans behavior on social media.
Wayans, who is part of the infamous Wayans comedy dynasty, called a Twitter user a "tranny bitch" in 2010. In another instance months later, he tweeted "being on the road during the day sucks tranny balls!" A search of his account for other anti-LGBTQ+ slurs resulted in uses of words like "fags" and excessive use of "no homo." The majority of the tweets are from 2010 and 2011, with a 2016 message referencing a fellow comedian's "tranny getting shot bit."
The tweets were deleted after Out contacted Wayans' representatives for comment.
"When I was a young comic trying to find my voice, I made some immature and hurtful tweets that I deeply regret at the expense of the LGBTQ community," Wayans said in a statement to Out. "When I tweeted those comments, almost 10 years ago, I was unaware of the emotional impact they could have. I am not excusing that behavior but that is not who I am today. Society evolved and so have I and it is something I will continue to do both personally and professionally."
He added: "You know better, you do better."
The CW announced last week a pilot order for Glamorous, a drama about a gender nonconforming high school graduate who lands an internship at a cosmetics company whose products they panned on YouTube. It comes from Wayans' production company Two Shakes, which aims to center characters often on the margins, and is written by Jordon Nardino (Star Trek: Discovery, Quantico, Desperate Housewives).
The network has a history of supporting LGBTQ+ storytelling. A Ruby Rose-led Batwoman is in the works, which will be the first time a superhero series is led by an openly queer character, and The CW also has television's first transgender superhero played by a trans actress (Nicole Maines) on Supergirl. If Glamorous gets picked up, it would be historic for having a gender nonconforming lead -- though no word yet on if a nonbinary or gender nonconforming actor will be cast.
While the apparent subject of Glamorous and its potentially history-making nature is to be applauded, there's been an industry-wide shift to hold accountable the people creating stories across margins, either as writers or producers. Words matter, whether said or tweeted almost 10 years ago or not, and they sometimes reflect deep-rooted attitudes about groups of people that could manifest themselves in one's art. This is not to say Wayans or any other person who has expressed problematic thoughts in the past cannot grow -- rather, it's that we won't know if there's been growth if we don't ask.
Read Wayans' full statement below:
"When I was a young comic trying to find my voice, I made some immature and hurtful tweets that I deeply regret at the expense of the LGBTQ community. When I tweeted those comments, almost 10 years ago, I was unaware of the emotional impact they could have.
I am not excusing that behavior but that is not who I am today. Society evolved and so have I and it is something I will continue to do both personally and professionally. Continued learning, acceptance and thoughtful words are all important actions that will help make society a kinder and safer place for all people. You know better, you do better.
I am very proud of the work we are doing at Two Shakes entertainment. The company was founded with the mission of working with diverse voices, both in front and behind the camera. When GLAMOROUS was pitched to us I thought it was brilliant, heartwarming and important. We will continue to be committed to pursuing protagonists who don't traditionally get to be at the center of a show and bringing their stories to the screen."