KEY POINTS

  • Billy Porter said the “conversation” around Harry Styles’ groundbreaking Vogue cover wasn’t about the singer
  • He explained that he was calling attention to systemic discrimination when it comes to who is given a platform in the fashion world
  • Styles became Vogue’s first solo male cover star last year

Billy Porter is saying sorry for criticizing Harry Styles over his historic Vogue cover.

Weeks after the “Pose” star slammed Vogue and Styles over the singer’s groundbreaking appearance as the magazine’s first solo male cover star, Porter, 52, clarified his remarks during an interview on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Thursday.

“Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth,” Porter was quoted by Page Six as saying. “It’s not about you. The conversation is not about you.”

The actor explained that rather than criticize Styles himself, he wanted to call attention to systemic discrimination when it comes to who is given a platform in the fashion world.

“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,” Porter explained.

He then doubled down on his apology, adding, “I’m sorry, Harry. I didn’t mean [any] harm. I’m a gay man. We like Harry Styles, he’s cute!”

The “Eternals” star, 27, received both praise and criticism when he wore a lacy Gucci dress for Vogue’s December 2020 edition.

Porter, who has been wearing gowns on red carpets for years, was among those who weren’t impressed. In an interview with The Sunday Times in October, he questioned the fashion magazine’s decision to feature the singer on the groundbreaking cover.

“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to. I’m not necessarily convinced, and here is why: 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,” Porter said at the time. “I’m not dragging Harry Styles, 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.”

The Tony winner explained that his choice of outfits was about more than just making a splash on the red carpet. Porter said that it was “politics” for him and that he had to “fight” to get to the place where he could wear a dress to the Oscars, unlike Styles who only has to “be white and straight.”

Styles hasn’t spoken publicly about Porter’s recent comments.

In his Vogue interview last year, the “Watermelon Sugar” singer opened up about why he likes challenging traditional gender norms when it comes to his fashion choices.

“Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with,” Styles said. “What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away. When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play. I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing.”

Harry Styles Harry Styles was groped onstage during his performance. Pictured: Styles of One Direction performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball 2015 Presented by Capital One at STAPLES CENTER on Dec. 4, 2015 in Los Angeles. Photo: Getty Images/Jason Meritt