Actress Jameela Jamila has come out as queer amid backlash over her role in a new competition show. "The Good Place" star made the statement on Twitter, explaining, "This is absolutely not how I wanted it to come out."
Jamil tweeted the three-page statement, titled, "Twitter is brutal" on Wednesday afternoon.
"This is why I never officially came out as queer," she said. "I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it's not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter. But I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid."
She added that she does not come from a family with "anyone openly out."
"It's also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you're already a brown female in your thirties," she said. "This is absolutely not how I wanted it to come out."
The 33-year-old then announced she would be taking a break from Twitter for "a while," as she doesn't want to "read mean comments" dismissing her announcement. "You can keep your thoughts," she said.
The performer also addressed the negative reaction to her role in the upcoming unscripted series "Legendary" from streaming service HBO Max. The platform announced the show in September, according to Variety.
"Legendary" is a competition show where contestants will be placed on voguing teams, called "houses," with an opportunity to win money through fashion and dance challenges. The style of dance known as "vogue" is a "highly stylized form of dance created by black and Latino LGBTQ communities," according to the National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Jamil, who regularly speaks in support for body positivity and against misogyny and racism online, announced she would be a judge on the new show on Tuesday. Her participance in the show was met with disdain by some who believed the role should have gone to a member of the LGBTQ community.
"Look I get that we're all out here just trying to get a paycheck," wrote comic artist Adam Ellis on Tuesday. "But @jameelajamil how are you gonna work tirelessly on behalf of underrepresented people and then turn around and accept a job on a panel that should be populated with queer and trans people?"
explained in her statement on Wednesday that she knows "being queer" doesn't qualify her as an expert in the community that will be represented on the show. She also said she will be the lead judge, not the host or emcee.
"I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show," Jamil said. "Sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalized stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance."
She added that she is a "newcomer" to the community and will be a "window in" for those just discovering it. Jamil said the show begins shooting on Thursday.
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