Massachusetts Theater Issues Apology for Richard Dreyfuss’ Controversial Comments at ‘Jaws’ Screening

In recent years, Richard Dreyfuss, known for his role in “Jaws,” has faced criticism for his comments on topics like Oscar diversity requirements and the use of Blackface.

During a “Jaws” retrospective screening in Beverly, Mass., on Saturday evening, he seemed to escalate his controversial remarks, addressing issues such as trans people, Barbra Streisand, the MeToo movement, and women in general. Diane Wolfe, an attendee, told the Boston Globe that Dreyfuss stated parents of trans youth allowing them to transition were engaging in bad parenting and that these children might change their minds someday.

Cabot executive director J. Casey Soward issued an apology, acknowledging their failure to foresee Dreyfuss’s potentially provocative statements. “We regret that an event intended to celebrate an iconic movie became a platform for political views. We take full responsibility for not anticipating the conversation’s direction and the discomfort it caused many patrons,” Soward said. “We are in active dialogue with our patrons about their experience and are committed to learning from this event to better fulfill our mission of entertaining, educating, and inspiring our community.”

The Cabot also sent an apology email to ticket purchasers, describing the comments as “offensive and distressing.” According to New Bedford, Mass. radio station WBSM, which obtained the email from a patron, it read:

“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’s 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.

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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.”

In a video posted to YouTube by an attendee, Dreyfuss is seen coming onstage to applause with a Taylor Swift song playing, wearing a dress over his clothes, which stagehands then remove before he sits down.

Facebook commenters expressed outrage over his remarks, calling them “vile, dehumanizing, abhorrent things about trans youth, LGBTQ+ people, women, and survivors of sexual violence.”

“A young family with a 10-year-old daughter had to leave,” recounted another commenter. Dozens of patrons reportedly walked out of the venue.

After the screening, another video on YouTube shows him discussing a book he published in 2022. “Why don’t you tell us about your new book?” the moderator asks. “It’s called ‘One Thought Scares Me,’” Dreyfuss replies, “And it’s about how 50 years ago, without telling anyone, they took civics out of the curriculum. Which means we have no knowledge of who the hell we are.” His comments received applause from the remaining audience members.

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