Everyone has a breaking point. Janet Mock may have hit hers at the premiere party for Pose’s final season on Thursday night, as she gave a speech that can only be described as—in the words of The Root’s Entertainment Staff Writer Tonja Stidhum—a “PLOT TWIST.”
Page Six recapped the reckoning on Friday afternoon, noting that the executive producer and bestselling author, who made her directorial debut on the hit show, went off-script for approximately 15 minutes in front of an audience of cast, crew, media, and FX execs, leaving them “stunned.”
From Page Six:
During the 15-minute-long speech, she complained about how much the network is paying her, demanded better treatment for the trans community, shouted “Fuck Hollywood,” revealed that she’d slept with someone in the show’s crew, asked her “Pose” actor boyfriend not to leave her over the infidelity, decried the quality of the writing on the show, and had a brief conversation with co-creator and Hollywood mogul Ryan Murphy from the stage.
Early in her talk, Mock, 38, wondered aloud, “Why am I making $40,000 an episode? Huh?”
“I am angry!,” she said, demanding more money and perks equal to other TV executives.
The room at Jazz at Lincoln Center fell completely silent as Mock shouted: “Fuck Hollywood … Does this make you uncomfortable? It should. It should make you fucking shake in your motherfucking boots. This is speaking truth. This is what ‘Pose’ is,” she said.
Mock apparently then addressed an artistic elephant in the room—the quality of the writing on the otherwise much-beloved show. She suggested that the writers’ room struggled in the first two eps because of male (presumably not trans) writers, addressing producer Ryan Murphy directly to say, “you brought… girls in to help you.”
By “girls,” we don’t know if Mock explicitly meant trans women, but since the unprecedented amount of trans talent behind the scenes of a show centering LGBTQ+ lives has been a talking point since its first season and as recently as Monday of this week, it’s safe to assume this was at least part of Mock’s inference.
“Who brought the girls in?,” she asked Murphy, according to Page Six. “I did,” he replied, “I wanted the girls to be there.”
But apparently, things got extra-awkward as Mock next turned the lens on herself and her relationship with Pose cast member Angel Bismark Curiel, who plays “Lil Papi Evangelista” on the show. Demanding that Curiel “stand up… right now!” Mock then addressed the crowd, saying: “Let me tell you something about love.”
“Today, I was gonna let [Angel] go,” she continued. “I was gonna let you go, right, but what did I do? I fucked someone on the crew, right?”
Ummm...yikes. Despite gasps from the audience, Mock pressed on, according to Page Six:
“Angel, Angel. I’m not losing you. You hear me? You are fucking important to me,” Mock continued. “I don’t want to live in a house alone. I want you. You motherfucker. Right there. That’s who I want. I’m getting what’s mine.”
“I fucked up, y’all. I forgot who the fuck I was. They want me to come up here and pretend,” she said, “I don’t need Hollywood, honey. You know why? Cuz I’m fucking free.”
Ultimately (and understandably), the industry seemed to be the true target of Mock’s ire. While she “provided some inspirational words for cast members—including Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore and the show’s lead, Mj Rodriguez,” she was not as generous in assessing the true dynamics behind the scenes of what has widely been regarded as a watershed moment in primetime television.
“It’s a show, but it means so much to everyone to ‘ensure that we enable Black and brown trans women to make it,’ because that sounds good,” she said bitingly (h/t Page Six). “It makes you comfortable to talk like that because then I don’t scare you into facing the fucking truth. You all have stomped on us.”
Page Six reports that an insider who’d worked closely with Mock speculated that the turmoil in her relationship may have caused her to become “emotionally unhinged.”
“She seemed almost immediately remorseful at what she aired publicly,” the source surmised. The outlet further reported that “Mock admitted that she was afraid the forthright speech might have ruined her career, though some in the room had her back.”
We’d argue that feeling stomped on and exploited by an industry propping you up as a shining example of its less-than-authentic progress might also be a bit of a mindfuck. Mock and her reps did not respond to Page Six’s requests for comment, but whatever she is currently experiencing personally, she and the cast and crew of Pose are forever deserving of respect for their indelible and truly transformative impact.