entertainment

'Queer Eye's Karamo Brown accuses 'Call Me By Your Name' of glorifying a 'predatory' relationship

The lifestyle guru has branded Elio and Oliver's story "problematic as f**k".

2018-12-17

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown has slammed Call Me By Your Name, accusing the Oscar-nominated romantic drama of "glorifying" a "predatory" relationship.

The lifestyle guru says he believes the movie, which tells the love story of 17-year-old Elio (played by Timothée Chalamet) and 24-year-old grad student Oliver (Armie Hammer), is "problematic as f**k".

Brown told Insider: "I've worked with many survivors of sexual assault, especially in the LGBTQ community, which oftentimes goes unreported.

"And so the minute I saw that movie, I thought, 'Here we are glorifying this sort of relationship'."

The 38-year-old continued: "I know we're calling him a college student, but it looks like a grown man having sex with a little boy. And for me, I just was not OK with that. And I was like, 'Why are we pretending like this is OK in any sense? Fashion or form?'

"I haven't read the book, but I understand that the college student character is like, 19 years old. And so the relationship between him and this 17-year-old boy — I guess it 'makes more sense,' and I'm doing air quotations there.

"But there is predatory behavior there that I see, especially in the movie, where Armie Hammer looks dramatically older than this young man."

In André Aciman's original 2007 book, Oliver is desribed as 24 years old - though his age is never explicitly stated in the movie adaptation.

Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer were aged 20 and 30 respectively at the time of filming, with some commentators arguing that Hammer's notably older appearance changed the dynamic of the original story.

Brown, who is also a licencsed psychotherapist, went on: "I think to myself, 'If that was an older man, or a perceived college student who looked that much older with a 16 or 17-year-old girl, we would have all had a hissy fit.' We would have recognized that this is a problem.

"But for some reason, because it was two men, we're just like, 'Oh, well this is just exploration'."

The Netflix star also hit out at the decision to cast Chalamet and Hammer, who both identify as straight, as the film's leads.

"I'm tired of this continued narrative of pretty white boys as the only representation of the LGBT community," he said.

"Every movie is like, 'Look! I'm a pretty white boy and my life is hard but maybe it'll get better!'"

Armie Hammer, who has expressed interest in revisiting Elio and Oliver's story in a planned sequel, currently being written by Aciman, has previously defended Call Me By Your Name from accusations that is depicts predatory behaviour. 

"We weren't trying to make some salacious, predatory movie," the actor said last year. "The age of consent in Italy is 14. So, to get technical, it's not illegal there.

He added: "This isn't a normal situation: The younger guy goes after the older guy. The dynamic is not older predatory versus younger boy."