New York Times Critic Gets Dragged for Misgendering in Head Over Heels Review

Peppermint as Pythio. Photo: Joan Marcus

The Gray Lady apparently can’t learn how to use pronouns correctly. In a review of Head Over Heels, the hybrid Go-Go’s jukebox musical and Elizabethan farce that opened on Broadway last night, the New York Times’s chief theater critic Ben Brantley misgenders the character of an oracle played by former Drag Race contestant Peppermint, who happens to be making her debut as the first openly trans woman actor to create a principal role on Broadway. The character, a non-binary oracle named Pythio, uses they/them pronouns, something clearly established within the show. In Brantley’s review, he made a joke at the expense of the character’s identity, referring to someone who “finds himself strangely drawn to her–I mean them.” The line, which somehow made it through edits, drew plenty of ire on online.

On Friday morning, the Times updated the language in the review to say that the character “finds himself strangely drawn to Pythio.” Brantley then released an apology saying, “I was trying to reflect the light tone of the show, as well as a plot point in which one character learns to acknowledge another not as ‘she’ but as ‘they.” He continued, “this unfortunately read as more flippant than I would ever have intended, especially with regard to a performance that marks a historical first. I am deeply sorry.”

The New York Times Doesn’t Understand How Pronouns Work