Ellen Page was meant to promote her Netflix superhero show The Umbrella Academy in an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Thursday night. Instead, she called out US Vice President Mike Pence’s homophobia in an impassioned speech.
The segment started out with Colbert asking Page if Hollywood’s attitudes towards the LGBT community have gotten better.
Page, who hosted Gaycation on VICELAND, responded that while things have improved, “we need to hurry up. It’s not cutting it.”
She later segued an exchange about climate change into the media’s treatment of the recent beating of Empire star Jussie Smollett, who is gay and black. Smollett was attacked in downtown Chicago Tuesday. Smollett said he was assaulted by two masked men who also tied a rope around his neck, while making racist and homophobic remarks. He said his attackers threw an unknown chemical on him.
“We have a media that’s saying it’s a debate whether or not what just happened to Jussie Smollett is a hate crime. It’s absurd. This shit isn’t a debate,” Page told Colbert, who said he agreed.
“I’m like really fired up tonight but it feels impossible to not feel this way right now with the president and the Vice President Mike Pence, who like wishes I couldn’t be married,” Page continued.
“Let’s just be clear. The Vice President of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife. He wanted to ban that in Indiana, he believes in conversion therapy. He has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the governor of Indiana.”
Page then said the public needs to “connect the dots” between homophobic people in power and attacks on individuals.
“If you are in a position of power and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused and they’re going to kill themselves. And people are going to be beaten on the street,” she said.
Page added she hopes Gaycation connected the dots for people.
“I have travelled the world and I have met the most marginalized people you can be. I am lucky to have this time and privilege to say this. This needs to fucking stop.”
Pence, who describes himself as a conservative Christian, has previously said gay marriage signifies the “societal collapse” and opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a military policy that forced US troops to remain in the closet.
Follow Manisha on Twitter.