Billy Porter calls out the ‘gatekeepers’ responsible for Harry Styles’ Vogue cover

Billy Porter poses in a pink cowboy hat and white suit.
Billy Porter has elaborated on his remarks about Harry Styles’ historic 2021 Vogue cover.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP)

Billy Porter has elaborated on his widely circulated remarks about Harry Styles’ historic Vogue cover — and called Anna Wintour a “b—” in the process.

In an interview with the Telegraph published Friday, Porter said he blames “the gatekeepers” — not Styles — for selecting the “As It Was” singer to be the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue. Styles wore a dress on a 2021 cover of Vogue two years after Porter turned heads in a tuxedo gown at the 2019 Academy Awards.

“It’s not Harry Styles’ fault that he happens to be white and cute and straight and fit into the infrastructure that way,” Porter told the Telegraph. “I call out the gatekeepers.”


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The “Harry’s House” artist was chosen to grace the cover of Vogue because he’s “white and he’s straight,” Porter added. “Non-binary blah blah blah blah. No. It doesn’t feel good to me. You’re using my community — or your people are using my community — to elevate you. You haven’t had to sacrifice anything.” (For the record, Styles has consistently avoided labeling his sexuality in interviews.)

Porter also recalled participating in a Q&A with Vogue editor Wintour six months before Styles showed up on the cover of the fashion magazine.

“That b— said to me at the end, ‘How can we do better?’” Porter told the Telegraph. “And I was so taken off guard that I didn’t say what I should have said.”

The trailblazing “Pose” star added that he should have urged Wintour and her staff to use their “power as Vogue to uplift the voices of the leaders of this de-gendering of fashion movement.”

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This isn’t the first time Porter has revisited his comments about Styles’ Vogue cover. On a 2021 episode of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” the “Cinderella” actor apologized to the pop musician for how he initially responded to his landmark Vogue shoot.

“Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth,” Porter said at the time.


“It’s not about you. ... The conversation is actually deeper than that. It is about the systems of oppression and erasure of people of color who contribute to the culture. ... I’m sorry, Harry. I didn’t mean no harm. I’m a gay man. We like Harry. He’s cute!”

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All of this stems from a 2021 interview with the Sunday Times in which Porter criticized Vogue for spotlighting Styles.

“I created the conversation, and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time,” the Emmy winner said.

“I’m not dragging Harry Styles,” he added, “but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do.”