Not everyone has been in love with Andrew Garfield's inclusion in Arcade Fire's music video for We Exist.
Among others, Singer and guitarist for Against Me! Laura Jane Grace has criticized the Reflektor band for not reflekting more on their casting decision and deciding to use a Trans actor instead of Andrew:
Meanwhile, Arcade Fire's frontman Win Butler has responded in kind, saying that he wanted to use Andrew for empowering purposes:
"There was just so much thought and love that went into the video I don't personally see it as negative. I can totally see the sensitivity of the issue…For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion."
In addition, David Wilson, the director of what we think is a very moving music video, said that they decided against using a transgender person due to Andrew's commitment.
"Before I got on the call, I thought, 'Is this the right person - should we be using a transgender person?' But then getting on the phone with Andrew, and Andrew's commitment and passion toward the project was just overwhelming."
In fact, here's what Our Lady J, Andrew's coach for the music video and transgender musician, had to say on his inclusion in the video:
In response to Win, Laura responded on Twitter in a series of tweets that have since been taken down. Here were her thoughts:
“This article is hella problematic. To start with there’s the fact that Win says ’he’ and Wilson says ’she’… the implication that a homeless Jamaican LGBT youth living in a sewer is going to feel empowered because… a cis, straight white male actor in movies they can’t afford to see stars in a music video they’ll never watch? That’s so like wtf?… My main problem with the video isn’t even casting it’s stereotyping. Like why does Garfield cry about shaving their head to then put on a wig when they have gorgeous hair? Why does Garfield go to the shittiest bar ever to drink domestic beer and dance with bigot rednecks? And the idea that the band playing Coachella is their Mecca of acceptance and validation. Phfff. As if. If the song was called anything else I wouldn’t have even had a problem with it it’s called ’We Exist’ and there is literally no signs of that existence represented. Should have been called ’They Exist’.”
That's a pretty scathing rant!
However, she was persuaded to rethink her argument after talking with Our Lady J, and learning of her part in helping Andrew in the music video:
Some really complicated issues being discussed here, but in the end, we think Andrew did a beautiful job in the music video, and that the direction of the music video had a positive message about acceptance in the end.
Tags: andrew garfield, arcade fire, criticism, drag, gay gay gay, music minute, music video, respond, trans, we exist