On Monday, July 10, American actor James Woods tweeted a comment on a photo of parents standing next to their “gender creative” son, stating that the kid would grow up to murder his parents’ and shove their dismembered body parts in a freezer. Openly gay actor Neil Patrick Harris responded, calling Woods’ comments, “Utterly ignorant and classless,” and now the parents themselves have responded, even as Woods has tried to explain his comment.
James Woods’ explanation of his comments
In a series of tweets published on Wednesday, July 12, Woods said:
“Using one’s child as a social justice propaganda doll is tantamount to child abuse. This is not about homophobia. Nice try though…. For the record I have supported human rights of all stripes and persuasions, colors, creeds, choices and preferences my entire life. Period. Some children can be ruthlessly cruel to children who are simply different in any way. I humbly suggest making your child a target is unwise.”
“I spent my entire adult life in the New York theatre scene, kids. I have more gay friends than Liberace. So let’s stop the homophobia train. This is not a defense. I’m old enough to remember the agony friends suffered for being different. Being wrongly accused of anything is vile. And of course the final word on all of this is that I frankly don’t give a shit what anybody thinks about me.”
This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you've done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage pic.twitter.com/1k3ITApFsF
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 10, 2017
The parents’ response
In a recent interview, the parents in the photo, Lori and Matt Duron, spoke about Woods’ comment.
It turns out the Lori started blogging about her son C.J. back in 2011 on a blog called Raising My Rainbow. She started receiving hate mail almost immediately, and the hate mail intensified after the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and again after Woods’ comment.
But Lori also says she’s gotten plenty of supportive messages from LGBTQ adults who say they wished they had had equally supportive parents and parents of gender non-conforming children who appreciate the Durons sharing their experiences.
Regarding Woods’ tweet, Matt said, “It’s hard being the bigger man when someone attacks your family and does it in the way Woods did it. I’ll leave it at that.”
“Woods also implied that we force our son to be gender creative. Anybody who has followed our journey knows that is not true. I’ve written about how much easier our lives would be if both of our boys were straight and cisgender. We had to evolve to the place where we are now, that’s what my writing is all about ― to show our evolution as parents and people and hope that it inspires others. I’m also always disturbed and surprised when adults ― who are old enough to know better ― think it’s okay to talk about a child in a negative way.”
Initially Woods’ tweet caused Lori to lose sleep because of the extra negative attention it directed towards her and her family, but she and her husband say they won’t be changing a thing about how they raise their children. They also say that Woods’ tweet makes them wonder how Woods was raised.
“I’ve had to remind myself of another thing we teach our kids: You can’t let hate breed hate and fear breed fear,” Lori said. “Some of my initial reactions to the tweet included hate and fear, I had to exercise some self-control because lashing out wouldn’t help the situation.”