Richard Dreyfuss Turned a ‘Jaws’ Retrospective Into an Indictment on Kids Transitioning

Richard Dreyfuss is gonna need a smaller platform.

The actor attended a “Jaws” retrospective screening at the Cabot theater in Beverly, Massachusetts and participated in a post-screening Q&A. However, Dreyfuss used the platform to make negative comments about the trans community, women (he referred to them as submissive and weak), and the #MeToo movement, according to the Boston Globe.

More from IndieWire

Dreyfuss walked onstage wearing a dress over his clothes, using a cane, and dancing to Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.” It only got weirder from there.

When referencing teenagers transitioning, Dreyfuss said, “It’s not OK because when the kid’s 15, she’s going to say, ‘I’m an octopus.'”

IndieWire has reached out to Dreyfuss’ representatives for comment.

The Cabot executive director J. Casey Soward issued a formal apology to patrons for Dreyfuss’ outburst onstage.

“We regret that an event that was meant to be a conversation to celebrate an iconic movie instead became a platform for political views,” Soward said in a statement shared with IndieWire. “We take full responsibility for the oversight in not anticipating the direction of the conversation and for the discomfort it caused to many patrons. We are in active dialogue with our patrons about their experience and are committed to learning from this event how to better enact our mission of entertaining, educating and inspiring our community.”

The Cabot additionally sent an email to those who purchased tickets to the event, according to New Bedford, Massachusetts radio station WBSM, as obtained by Variety.

This isn’t the first time Dreyfuss has made controversial political statements during an interview about his craft: The actor has previously voiced his support for blackface and slammed the inclusivity requirements for the Academy Awards.

“It’s an art. No one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is. What are we risking? Are we really risking hurting people’s feelings?” Dreyfuss said during an interview with PBS’ “Firing Line With Margaret Hoover” in 2023. “You can’t legislate that. You have to let life be life. I’m sorry, I don’t think there is a minority or majority in the country that has to be catered to like that.”

Read the full email from The Cabot below.

JAWS, Richard Dreyfuss, 1975
JAWS, Richard Dreyfuss, 1975Courtesy Everett Collection

Dear Cabot Patrons,

I am writing to address an important matter concerning last night’s event with Richard Dreyfuss at The Cabot.

We deeply regret that Mr. Dreyfuss’ comments during the event were not in line with the values of inclusivity and respect that we uphold at The Cabot. We understand that his remarks were distressing and offensive to many of our community members, and for that, we sincerely apologize.

At The Cabot, we are committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our community. The views expressed by Mr. Dreyfuss do not reflect our beliefs, and we do not endorse them in any way.

We take full responsibility for the oversight in not anticipating the direction of the conversation and for any discomfort it caused.

We are taking immediate steps to ensure that such an incident does not happen again. This includes more rigorous vetting of our event participants and more proactive communication strategies to keep our audience informed.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support of The Cabot.

We value your feedback and are dedicated to learning from this experience to better serve our community.

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.