Drew Barrymore sat on the floor with trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney. Online turmoil ensued
The social media consensus is in: Don't come for Drew.
Drew Barrymore and transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney had a vulnerable moment on TV when talking about dealing with online hate. In response, the actor-turned-daytime talk show host had an onslaught of online hate aimed her way — but Barrymore's fans weren't having it.
“There’s so much hatred and drama and things get convoluted, but getting to meet my role models, even you today — it’s the best part,” Mulvaney said on Monday's "Drew Barrymore Show."
Mulvaney, a comedian and musical theater actor based in Hollywood with a résumé that includes “Book of Mormon” and “Spring Awakening,” has been sharing her transitioning journey over the last year on the episodic TikTok series “Days of Girlhood." She has more than 10 million followers on the app and in October sat down for a high-profile chat with President Biden.
“Let me ask you about the negativity, how have you dealt with it?" Barrymore asked.
“I still read the comments,” Mulvaney said. “But there is so much hatred directed at the trans community right now, it’s everywhere. And I think the greatest weapon that I can contribute is trans joy and comedy and talking about hard subjects, and really intricate moments of a transition, and [I] try to let everybody in to see that I’m not a monster, I’m not somebody that is trying to do anything but be myself and be happy.”
Mulvaney then told Barrymore, “I look at someone like you and can’t imagine anybody disliking you.”
Then, as the exchange turned tender, the two moved their candid conversation from the show's pink satin armchairs down to the rug on the set of "The Drew Barrymore Show." In a recent For Real With Amy Kaufman profile of Barrymore, the "E.T." star told The Times that kneeling or sitting on the floor next to her guests is a personal preference.
“Oh please,” Barrymore said on her show, getting on her knees beside the still-seated Mulvaney and holding her hand. “Do you want to know, ironically, who dislikes me the most sometimes? ... Myself.”
“Oh, me too,” Mulvaney said with a sigh before joining Barrymore on the floor in front of the chairs. “You asked me what I would do to combat the hate, but what do you do? You’ve been doing it a little longer than I have.”
Barrymore likened receiving hate via social media to reading movie reviews. She said regardless of the movie being critiqued, there's a 50-50 guarantee that some will love it, others won't. "So you’ve gotta be willing to bear down and brace for it," she said.
“Sometimes I think the greatest response can just be in the next joyous video,” Mulvaney said. “Or in the next win that you have, because that just goes to show that you are continuing on and whatever those people are projecting onto you, it isn’t actually penetrating.”
Then Mulvaney turned to the audience and exclaimed, “I just realized I’m sitting on the floor with Drew! This is crazy!”
“Thank you for joining me on the floor,” Barrymore said. “The floor always feels safer.”
But the heightened intimacy and, specifically, the act of sitting on the floor rather than remaining in her chair outraged some social media users who put their own spin on the moment. Accusations were made that Barrymore was "kneeling" at Mulvaney's feet.
When tweets calling out Barrymore for "worshiping" Mulvaney started to flood Twitter, her fans quickly followed, shooting down the negative comments.
User @HeyDsLady posted a photo of Barrymore kneeling on the floor beside the chairs of many previous guests, including Brendan Fraser and Tyler Perry, with the caption, "Drew Barrymore is an icon of empathy & compassion let alone an iconic Hollywood sweetheart. Hateful people are going to spew ignorant, judgmental s— no matter what. More people should be like #DrewBarrymore."
"Drew Barrymore and Dylan Mulvaney had a tender moment of connection on television. The critique says everything about the small minds of transphobes and nothing about the big hearts of Drew and Dylan," multimedia journalist Alex Berg tweeted.
And writer Brian Krassenstein tweeted, "Nobody will ever look back in 50 years and say 'How Dare Drew Barrymore embrace this Transgender woman'. They will point out all the bigoted tweets about it though."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.