Billy Porter apologizes to Harry Styles for Vogue cover remark

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

“Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth. It’s not about you. The conversation is not about you,” Porter said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Thursday.

Styles made history last year as the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue. He wore a lacy Gucci dress in the photo, which was met with both praise and criticism.

Porter, who is known for his showstopping red carpet looks that often blend traditionally masculine and feminine influences, did not have any issue with Styles wearing a dress in general.

However, he questioned Vogue’s decision to feature the “Watermelon Sugar” singer on the groundbreaking cover.

“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to,” Porter said in an interview with The Sunday Times of London last month. “I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why. I created the conversation (about nonbinary fashion) and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.

“I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation?” the “Pose” star continued. “He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do. This is politics for me. This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight.”

In his recent “Late Show” appearance, Porter explained that he did not intend to specifically criticize Styles, but to call attention to systemic discrimination when it comes to who is given a platform in the fashion world.

Porter, seen here at the 2019 Oscars, is known for his epic red carpet looks.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

“The conversation is actually deeper than that,” he said. “It is about the systems of oppression and erasure of people of color who contribute to the culture. Now, that’s a lot to unpack. I’m willing to unpack it, sans the dragging and cancel culture of the Internet, because I do not now, nor will ever, adjudicate my life or humanity in sound bites on social media.”

He finished with another apology to Styles.

“I’m sorry, Harry. I didn’t mean no harm,” he said. “I’m a gay man. We like Harry, he’s cute!”

Styles hasn’t spoken publicly about Porter’s recent comments. In his Vogue interview last year, he 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.”