Richard Dreyfuss Faces Backlash Over Se-ist, Homophobic Remarks at 'Jaws' Event

Event veers off-script, ignites debate and public backlash.

by Nouman Rasool
Richard Dreyfuss Faces Backlash Over Se-ist, Homophobic Remarks at 'Jaws' Event
© Presley Ann/Getty Images

A Massachusetts theater has apologized for controversial comments made by actor Richard Dreyfuss during a recent "Jaws" screening event that reportedly sent the audience into an uproar and left some viewers appalled. The show at The Cabot theater in Beverly, Massachusetts, was supposed to be a nostalgia-driven event titled "An Evening With Richard Dreyfuss + Jaws Screening", but it went south after the Oscar-winning actor famous for his work in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster got into a contentious rant.

The incident occurred over the Memorial Day weekend, as Dreyfuss apparently had a number of inappropriate comments to say about a vast array of social and political issues. Attendees said the monologue opened with comments on Barbra Streisand but then veered toward more polarizing topics: the transgender youth and efforts by the Academy Awards to be inclusive.

Social Media Uproar

It didn't take a long time before social media reacted, with many of the attendees expressing their outrage and disappointment. Many shared their experiences of walking out in protest, with one user on, Rogue Mama, questioning if the event would lead to Dreyfuss being "canceled." YET another audience member cynically retitled the event, "An Evening of Misogyny and Homophobia With Richard Dreyfuss In reaction to the backlash, the Cabot theater apologized, stating that the event was not at all in keeping with the concept of merry it was intended to be.

"We are aware of, and share serious concerns, following the recent event with Richard Dreyfuss prior to a screening of the film Jaws at The Cabot. The views expressed by Mr. Dreyfuss do not reflect the values of inclusivity and respect that we uphold as an organization," the statement read.

The theater also took responsibility for not foreseeing the potential shift in tone of the conversation, apologizing for the discomfort it caused many patrons. The venue is now engaging in active dialogues with its patrons to learn from this episode and better fulfill its mission of entertaining, educating, and inspiring the community.

This incident at The Cabot wasn’t isolated. Dreyfuss faced similar criticisms for his conduct at another event at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Furthermore, his controversial views were echoed in May 2023 during an appearance on PBS’s "Firing Line," where he criticized the Film Academy's inclusion rules, stating they made him "vomit" and challenged the imposition of current moral standards on artists.