“Fire Island” writer and star Joel Kim Booster has responded to Billy Eichner’s comments about projects released on streaming platforms being “disposable.”
Eichner sparked controversy over statements he made to Variety, in which he appeared to set his latest film “Bros” apart from those released for streaming. The Universal Pictures movie was promoted as the first LGBTQ romantic comedy to be released theatrically by a major studio.
“This is not an indie movie,” the “Billy On The Street” star was quoted as saying. “This is not some streaming thing, which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows. I needed to appreciate that.”
Some people on social media interpreted the message as a diss against LGBTQ movies released on streaming services, including Booster’s “Fire Island.”
“Fire Island,” which also stars Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully and Margaret Cho, is an LGBTQ-plus romantic comedy that was released exclusively on Hulu on June 3.
On Sunday, Booster took to Twitter to address the controversy, explaining that he had been in the desert without cell service when Eichner’s interview came out.
“I’m not entirely sure what happened, but I feel like I should say: Billy was my first comedy boss, is my friend and has supported me in countless ways in the making of Fire Island and ultimately our movies had very little to do with each other,” Booster tweeted. “It seems like he was pretty inarticulate in his excitement about his movie getting a theatrical release, which is really f**king cool and something I’m sure the studio and his publicist is making him talk about. God knows I’ve said plenty of dumb shit without a publicist’s help.”
He continued, “I’m so proud of my movie and all the people who helped make it happen and am so grateful it was accessible to so many people on streaming, and don’t see it as any less valuable because of that. That being said, I’m also excited to see Bros on the big screen and wish Billy nothing but the best. I truly hope you can enjoy both or neither of our movies without pitting them against each other (even though that is obviously a very fun thing to do and basically what gay Twitter was created for).”
Booster added that he has spoken to Eichner and noted that he is focused on other things instead of dwelling on the issue.
In response to Booster’s message, Eichner wrote: “I adore you as an artist and as a friend and I have insane amounts of respect for you. We are all in this together.”
Eichner had earlier posted a Twitter thread that came with an apology “from the bottom of my heart” to anyone who felt offended or insulted:
“I was not at ALL referring to the quality or monumental impact of streaming films, I was referring to the way that, historically, LGBTQ+ content has often been considered niche and disregarded by Hollywood,” he added.
He further stated that he is “very proud Bros is one of many projects — theatrical, streaming, online, etc. — where so many of us are finally getting to tell our own LGBTQ+ stories.”