After a week of facing backlash, Jameela Jamil addressed her coming out, saying she might have had bad timing. But while she laments the timing, she's also happy that her experience is touching so many lives positively. On Monday, Feb. 10, The Good Place star posted a lengthy message on Instagram about dealing with the controversy surrounding the announcement that she'll be a judge on HBO Max's ballroom voguing competition series Legendary. In the midst of being accused of taking away a part that could have gone to a member of the ballroom community, Jamil came out as queer. However, she's now acknowledging that her timing could have been better.
Jamil's post begins by stating that last week was "overwhelming" for her, and that the pressure she felt surrounding the Legendary controversy led her to "blurt out" her truth at a moment that some people on social media accused her of being calculated.
"The sequence of events was insane, a misunderstanding was left uncorrected for too long, and misinformation spread too far, too fast, then my timing was bad," she began, before explaining that she just couldn't help herself from telling the truth. "When you have a secret for decades and you’re traumatized, it always feels like it might just f*cking burst out of you at any given moment, even the most inappropriate and unfortunate ones," she wrote in part. "I thankfully chose the *most* inappropriate and unfortunate time, maybe ever, for mine."
Despite the unfortunate timing, Jamil shared that she's received letters from people who were touched by her words, and have decided to come out. She also clarified that there's no wrong time to come out as long as a person feels safe to do so. "Do it whenever you feel the time is right, as long as you think you’ll be safe," she wrote. "Don’t feel bad for hiding it for as long as you need, and move at your own pace. But feel no shame about getting it off your chest and know you aren’t alone." She concluded, hoping for a much calmer week ahead.
The controversy began when HBO Max released a press release that mistakenly named Jamil the MC of Legendary, when she is actually a judge. In actuality, the MC is Dashaun Wesley, the "King of Vogue," who is a part of the ballroom community. Joining Jamil on the judges' panel are Megan Thee Stallion, Law Roach and Leiomy Maldonado, while DJMikeQ will be in charge of the turntables. Despite HBO Max correcting the initial mistake, the social media backlash surrounding Jamil's involvement had already taken off, leading the actor to issue her own statement.
In a Feb. 5 tweet, Jamil acknowledged that "being queer doesn't qualify" her as an expert on ballroom culture, but her hope is that she can use her privilege and fanbase to bring more viewers to Legendary, and in the process "elevate marginalized stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance." She also chose to come out as some Twitter users accused her of having no ties to the LGBTQ+ community beyond being an advocate.
"I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter," Jamil wrote of her sexuality. "But I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid."
The conversation surrounding Jamil's coming out has been problematic at times, and even though she admitted that the timing could have been better, ultimately, her decision to come out as queer has helped others feel ready to speak their own truths, and that's not something that should be dismissed. And, true to that spirit, rather than focusing on the drama, Jamil ended her post with a message of support for anyone who is struggling with the decision to come out: "There is a huge community of people who understand you, respect you and stand with you."