The Palestine issue is not my hill to die on, says Billy Porter

Star comes out in favour of two-state solution as he is probed on Israel


Billy Porter attends 'An Audience With Kylie' at The Royal Albert Hall on December 01, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Critically acclaimed American actor and singer Billy Porter has spoken in favour of a two-state solution and says his Instagram is full of people writing “free Palestine”.

The Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning performer said, “First and foremost, I’m supportive of a two-state solution. The second thing is, this is not my hill, and I am not going to die on it. It’s not mine! I’m not Jewish, nor am I Palestinian.”

In an interview with the Guardian’s Shaad D'Souza, the star of Cinderella and Kinky Boots said: “What’s going on over there [in Gaza] is horrific”. He asked not to be a symbol of American foreign policy: “Please don’t make me a poster child for that.”

“I am in support of my Jewish friends and my Palestinian friends,” Porter went on.

The star stated, “I don’t know” when the interviewer repeatedly questioned him about the conflict, “I don’t want to be in the conversation [about Israel-Palestine], because I don’t know enough about it”.

Porter appeared to forget the name of Hamas: “What are the people called, who started the sh*t? The extremists?”

"All I know is that the extremists came in and did something that was horrific, and then they retaliated [...] Now, the retaliation is a little overkill,” Porter said.

He went on, “I don’t know what to say, and I don’t know what to do, other than hug you and say I’m sorry, and what can we do to fix it? I’m in support of peace! F*cking peace!”

“We’re always at war. It breaks my heart.”

Porter spoke about his upcoming James Baldwin biopic, in which he will star as the famed American civil rights activist and writer.

The interviewer asked Porter about Baldwin’s stance on Israel in relation to his own. Balwin made anti-Israel comments during his lifetime, whereas the interviewer claimed, “Porter has been staunchly supportive of Israel” and referred to Porter’s criticism of a cultural boycott on Israel and his signature on a letter days after October 7 which condemned Hamas and demanded the return of the hostages being held in Gaza. Seven hundred celebrities signed the letter along with Porter, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas and Jerry Seinfeld.

Porter said he did not know what was happening in the conflict when Baldwin was alive and it would not feature in his film: “It’s not a part of the script – his civil rights work in America is what we’re focused on, more than what he thought about the crisis in the Middle East.”

Porter referred to a torrent of abuse he has received about the topic, “I’ve been getting a lot of bullsh*t online about it – I’m like, ‘I don’t know, y’all!’ The man’s been dead since 1987, please!”

Porter said his social media comments are full of people writing “Free Palestine”.

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