NY Times Theater Critic Bows and Scrapes Over 'Transphobic' Review

August 1st, 2018 7:32 AM

It looks like Ben Brantley – co-chief theater critic of The New York Times – caused quite the stir last week with his Friday review of the new Broadway show Head Over Heels, stuffed with songs from the Eighties girl group The Go-Gos. Brantley offended the "transgender and non-binary communities" and then abjectly apologized. 

He *seemed* to show total disregard for the sensitivities surrounding gender identity. At least that’s what Alan Henry of Broadway World charged. Brantley “purposefully misgenders a non-binary character, played by trans actress Peppermint (the first openly trans woman to play a principal role on Broadway) – writing ‘Dametas (Tom Alan Robbins), the King’s viceroy and father of Mopsa, finds himself strangely drawn to her – I mean them.'”

"Misgenders" is PC code for "uses a pronoun that is offensive" to the gender benders.

Henry added "Brantley seems to invalidate an entire gender identity, writing ‘And its dichotomous nature matches the didactic thrust of a show that celebrates the importance of not being (and pardon me, for trotting out what’s starting to feel like the decade’s most overused word) binary."

Uh-oh. Never tell them their hobby-horse words are overused, even with a "pardon me." That passage got scrubbed by the editors. It now reads: "its dichotomous nature matches the didactic thrust of a show that celebrates the importance of not being binary."

Brantley swiftly issued an apology explaining his intent for the chosen words:

I feel horrible about having offended transgender and nonbinary communities. I was trying to reflect the light tone of the show, as well as a plot point in which one character learns to acknowledge another not as ‘she’ but as ‘they’ – this was meant to be a reference to the character of the Oracle, not Peppermint, the person who plays the role. This unfortunately read as more flippant than I would ever have intended, especially with regard to a performance that marks a historical first. I am deeply sorry.”

The Times announced that it would update the review “to reflect some of our readers’ concerns.” One of those corrections included the deletion of quotation marks around the words “nonbinary plural." They are offended by the distancing effect of quotation marks. It now simply reads "Pythio identifies as nonbinary plural.''

Brantley felt the show was too didactic, that it missed a chance to show "a rip-roaring brazenness and glee that exploded gender and good taste into smithereens." For their part, the producers of Head Over Heels issued the following statement:

“We thank Ben Brantley and the @NYTimes for their heartfelt apology. We are so proud to be supported by the Broadway and LGBTQIA+ communities, and are thrilled to be celebrating ALL people 8 times a week at the Hudson Theatre.”

Once again, political correctness wins. And they don't celebrate "ALL people." They don't celebrate people who won't bow before their demands.