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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ariana Baio

Theater apologizes over Richard Dreyfuss’ homophobic, sexist diatribe at Jaws screening

Getty Images for TCM

A theater has issued an apology after actor Richard Dreyfuss made demeaning remarks about women, LGBT+ people and diversity at a Jaws-themed event on Saturday.

The Cabot, a performing arts theater in Beverly, Massachusetts, hosted “An Evening With Richard Dreyfuss” where audience members could ask questions to Dreyfuss after a screening of the 1975 thriller film.

According to social media users, the actor used sexist and homophobic language when speaking about women in film, the Me Too movement, transgender youths, LGBT+ rights and the Academy Awards’ efforts to foster inclusivity.

Following the complaints, The Cabot sent an email apology saying it does not endorse the opinions of the actor.

Richard Dreyfuss, pictured in 2023. A theater has apologized for remarks he made during a screening of Jaws this weekend (Getty Images for TCM)

“We deeply regret that Mr Dreyfuss’s comments during the event were not in line with the values of inclusivity and respect that we uphold at The Cabot. We understand that his remarks were distressing and offensive to many of our community members, and for that, we sincerely apologize," The Cabot’s statement said.

The 76-year-old actor, who played a marine biologist in the movie, apparently showed up at the event wearing a blue floral-patterned dress that stage workers helped him remove before he put on a sports coat.

Several attendees stated that people in the crowd walked out while Dreyfuss made remarks during the question-and-answer session.

One person who attended the event told The Boston Globe that Dreyfuss “said that the parents of trans youth, allowing them to transition, was bad parenting.”

A social media user, whose girlfriend’s parents attended the event, said Dreyfus made offensive remarks about Barbara Streisand, his co-star in the 1987 thriller Nuts. He reportedly also described Steven Spielberg, who directed Jaws, as “a genius but an idiot”.

According to AP, Dreyfuss received applause when he ended the discussion by referencing his book, “One Thought Scares Me...” and his opinion that civics is no longer being taught in classrooms, to the country’s detriment. The lack of a foundation in civics means "we have no knowledge of who the hell we are," he said. “If we don’t get it back soon, we’re all going to die.”

The Independent contacted representatives of Dreyfuss for comment on Monday.

Dreyfuss, who has also starred in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, American Graffiti, The Goodbye Girl and more, is known for making controversial comments publicly. The actor previously said the Oscars’ diversity efforts “make me want to vomit”.

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