New York Times critic Ben Brantley apologized Friday for remarks in his “Head Over Heels’ review that drew criticism for the treatment of a nonbinary character in the show.
“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 a “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 ever would have intended, especially with regard to a performance that marks a historical first,” Brantley said in a statement tweeted out by the New York Times Communications account.
The review has since been edited, after it drew “significant feedback,” according to a note at the top of the review.
The musical, which opened Thursday at the Hudson Theatre, stars Peppermint, a transgender woman, who plays a nonbinary character named Pythio, the Oracle of Delphi. In the show, Pythio is referenced by “they/them” pronouns. Peppermint made history as the first openly transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway.
Brantley’s initial review drew criticism on social media for its treatment of pronouns for the character.
This comment is at best, unfunny, and worst, transphobic. We’ve got to do better, folks! Haven’t seen @HOHmusical, but this problematic @nytimestheater review just made it jump to the top of my list! pic.twitter.com/ope6e3vb5P
— Andrew Keenan-Bolger (@KeenanBlogger) July 27, 2018
That line has since been changed.
Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the producers of “Head Over Heels” pointed to a tweet the show issued Friday afternoon .
“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,” the tweet reads.