Actor Guy Pearce apologizes after criticizing idea that only trans actors should play trans characters

Actor Guy Pearce has issued an apology after facing criticism for statements he made regarding the idea that only trans actors should play trans characters.

Pearce, who recently starred in the Netflix movie “The Innocents,” spoke out against the idea in an interview with Australia's earlier this month.

“I think it's lovely to be able to have the opportunity to play roles that are outside of your own skin,” he said. “But I do feel that, it’s dangerous for us to say ‘okay, only people who are trans can play a trans character.'”

The comments sparked backlash online, with many accusing the actor of “transphobia” and “cis privilege.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Pearce said he wanted to apologize “for any hurt and distress caused by my comments.”

“I want to be clear that I fully support the rights of transgender actors to play any role they wish, as well as the wider rights of the transgender community,” Pearce said.

Pearce also said he was “aware of the complexities of this debate” and that he would “continue to listen, educate (himself) and further engage on this important topic.”

The actor's apology comes amid a growing debate in Hollywood over which actors should be allowed to portray certain characters. In recent years, films such as “The Danish Girl” and “The Tangerine” have featured actors portraying trans characters, sparking controversy among some members of the trans community and their advocates.

At the same time, some argue that actors should be allowed to play any role they want, regardless of their gender identity, as long as they are talented and suitable for the role.

Pearce's apology has been widely accepted by the LGBT community, with many expressing appreciation for his willingness to listen and learn.