Last night’s third-season premiere of FX’s Pose was held in person at Manhattan’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, but while things might slowly be returning to normal when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Janet Mock is dead set against normalcy when it comes to the industry’s treatment of her fellow trans women and BIPOC. In an impassioned 15-minute speech, the Pose executive producer and director issued a wide-ranging, emotional address to the cast members, executives, and journalists gathered ahead of the night’s screening, expressing her frustration with her paycheck, the denigration of trans women in the industry, and, seemingly, her own infidelity in her relationship with Pose actor Angel Bismark Curiel, who plays Lil Papi on the series.
“Fuck Hollywood,” Mock said, pacing once she took the microphone, according to the Daily Beast. “This makes you uncomfortable? It should. It should make you fucking shake in your motherfucking boots. This is speaking the truth. This is what Pose is.” Mock expressed her exasperation with her pay on the series. “Why am I making $40,000 a motherfucking episode, huh? Do you know who the fuck I am? Do you know what I fucking mean?” said the EP. “I am angry. This is truth. This is the motherfucking truth.”
Mock told the crowd that Pose’s first two episodes suffered from the lack of trans women in the room; Mock and fellow producer-writer Our Lady J joined the writing staff later on. She called on series creator Ryan Murphy in the audience, asking him, “Who brought the girls in?” “I did,” replied Murphy, “I wanted to bring in the girls.” Mock also apologized to Our Lady J. “I tried to shrink you to make myself bigger,” she said. “Why couldn’t I just love you?”
Despite her frustrations, Mock also praised Pose’s cast members, including Hailie Sahar, Dominique Jackson, Angelica Ross, and Mj Rodriguez, and the show’s impact on the Hollywood landscape. “This is what Pose taught me,” she said. “I stand up taller in the world because of this show.” However, explained Mock, she felt immense pressure to pretend all was well despite her concerns. “I was happy because I had to be happy, because if I wasn’t happy, the girls wouldn’t know that that happiness is possible,” she said. “I’m hurting, y’all. I see injustice and it hurts me inside.”
“‘It means so much to everyone to ensure that we enable Black and brown trans women to make it,’” Mock said sarcastically. “That sounds good, right? It makes you comfortable, me talking like that, because then I don’t scare you into facing the fucking truth; you all have stomped on us.” Wondered the EP at a certain point, “As I stand here, I’m shaking and quaking, afraid that what I said, I cannot put back in.”
According to “Page Six,” Mock’s speech also veered into an even more personal lane when she asked boyfriend, Pose’s Angel Bismark Curiel, to stand up, which he did. “Let me tell you something about love. Today, I was gonna let [Angel] go,” said Mock. “I was gonna let you go, right, but what did I do? I fucked someone on the crew, right?” She continued, “Angel, Angel, I’m not losing you. You hear me? You are fucking important to me. 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,” Mock told the crowd, who alternately fell silent and shouted support and encouragement during her speech. “I forgot who the fuck I was. They want me to come up here and pretend. I don’t need Hollywood, honey. You know why? ’Cause I’m fucking free.”