Billy Porter Apologizes to Harry Styles, But Isn’t Backing Down About His Larger Point

Billy Porter poses in the Winners Room at The Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards
David M. Benett/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Billy Porter is walking back some of his previous criticism about Harry Style’s December 2020 Vogue cover, which famously featured Styles modeling in a dress. The actor appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Thursday night where he explained how he ended up in a one-sided feud with Styles and apologized for starting it.

“Apparently, I’m famous now and it was a slow news day,” Porter said when he walked onto Colbert’s stage and was immediately asked about the situation. He then quickly addressed his previous comments. “The first thing I wanna say is, Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth. It’s not about you,” he said. “The conversation is not about you.”

The conversation in question began after an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times was published last month where Porter criticized the cover. “I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to,” Porter said during the original interview. “I created the conversation [about nonbinary fashion], and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.”

"I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it," Porter continued. "I'm not dragging Harry Styles, but ... he doesn't care, he's just doing it because it's the thing to do. This is politics for me. This is my life."

While on The Late Show last night, Porter clarified that the conversation around the issue is “deeper” than Styles and “is about the systems of oppression and erasure of people of color who contribute to the culture.” Porter said that while he knows that is “a lot to unpack” he’s willing to do so without “the dragging and cancel culture of the internet.”

“So, when you're ready to have the real conversation, call a bitch. OK?” Porter said. “I'm ready to have it!” He ended the statement by apologizing to Styles one last time. “I'm sorry, Harry. I didn't mean no harm. I'm a gay man. We like Harry, he's cute!”