‘Bros’ Star Billy Eichner Clarifies Comments Many Perceived to Be a ‘Slap in the Face’ of Hulu’s ‘Fire Island’

In a Variety cover story, the “Bros” star and writer said his film is “not some streaming thing which feels disposable”

Billy Eichner and a scene from Hulu's "Fire Island" (from left to right)
Getty Images/Hulu

“Bros” star and writer Billy Eichner is clarifying the comments he made in a Variety cover story that many perceived to be a dig at Hulu’s queer rom-com “Fire Island.”

“This is not an indie movie,” the actor originally said. “This is not some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows. I needed to appreciate that ‘This is a historic moment, and somehow, you’re at the center of it. You helped create it.’”

“Bros,” which hails from Universal Studios, is the first gay romantic comedy from a major studio set for theatrical distribution, whereas “Fire Island” was a Searchlight Pictures production that premiered exclusively on Hulu on June 3.

With “Fire Island” — which stars Joel Kim Booster, Conrad Ricamora and Bowen Yang (also in “Bros”) in a “Pride and Prejudice”-inspired enemies-to-lovers tale — being one of the biggest films of the summer, it didn’t take long for social media users to call out Eichner’s sentiment as shady. Some branded it as “erasure,” emblematic of “pretentious white gay” behavior and a “slap in the face” of the film. Others put it simply: “Yikes,” said a senior entertainment editor at The Daily Beast.

Others added that Eichner’s words went deeper, “disrespecting, sidelining and alienating” queer people of color who have historically charted pathways for equal rights through movements like Stonewall. Another user added, “It’s actually possible to acknowledge the significance of the work you’ve created and the scale at which it’s been produced without directly denigrating other queer created films released this year.”

“I absolutely am gonna see #Bros but let’s not s— on indies (or streaming) because for so many of us, it’s the only representation we’ve had, and continue to have,” journalist Gerrick Kennedy wrote. “Bros stars two white men with POCs relegated to the sides…so let’s not.”

Unaware of the backlash, the official “Bros” Twitter account said of the statement, “Spoken like a true king.”

In a Twitter thread, Eichner addressed the concerns: “I want to clarify what I said about streaming content in Variety. I was not at ALL referring to the quality or monumental impact of streaming films, I was referring to the way that, historically, LGBTQ+ content has often been considered niche and disregarded by Hollywood.”

He continued, “I have been openly gay since the beginning of my career over 20 years ago, at a time when that was very challenging. And I am very proud Bros is one of many projects – theatrical, streaming, online, etc – where so many of us are finally getting to tell our own LGBTQ+ stories.”

“Being an openly gay man and a loud and proud part of the LGBTQ+ community is one of the things I am most proud of in my whole damn life. And from the bottom of my heart I truly am so sorry if I inadvertently offended or insulted anyone. I really am. Thank you,” he concluded.

The actor first gained virality through his comedic and chaotic web series “Billy on the Street.” Since then, he has appeared in Apple TV+’s “Dickinson,” “American Horror Story,” “Friends from College” and “Parks and Recreation.” He has also lent his voice to “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” and “Bob’s Burgers.” “Bros” is set for release Sept. 30.