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Richard Dreyfuss' Alleged Sexist, Transphobic Comments at 'Jaws' Event Cause Audience Members to Walk Out

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Richard Dreyfuss in 2023. Photo:

Kevin Winter/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty

A Jaws screening and Q&A with the film's star, Richard Dreyfuss, in Massachusetts ended in walkouts after the 76-year-old actor allegedly made sexist and transphobic comments.

On Saturday, May 25, Dreyfuss spoke at The Cabot theater in Beverly, Massachusetts, at an event billed as "An Evening with Richard Dreyfuss + Jaws Screening." Attendees expected behind-the-scenes secrets from the film, but were allegedly treated to the actor's thoughts on trans youth and the Academy Awards' inclusivity rules instead, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

No transcript from the event — at which Dreyfuss entered wearing a dress, at first, to a background track of Taylor Swift's "Love Story" — has been made public, but social media posts suggest his alleged comments began while he was speaking about Barbra Streisand and escalated from there.

One user commented on The Cabot's Facebook page to say they were among those who walked out of the screening, writing, "We walked out of his interview tonight along with hundred [sic] of others because of his racist homophobic misogynistic rant."

PEOPLE has reached out to representatives for Dreyfuss but did not receive an immediate response.

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From left: Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw in Jaws (1975).

Universal Studios/Courtesy of Getty Images

The venue issued a statement apologizing to attendees on Monday, May 27.

"We are aware of, and share serious concerns, following the recent event with Richard Dreyfuss prior to a screening of the film Jaws at The Cabot," the statement began. "The views expressed by Mr. Dreyfuss do not reflect the values of inclusivity and respect that we uphold as an organization. We deeply regret the distress that this has caused to many of our patrons."

"We regret that an event that was meant to be a conversation to celebrate an iconic movie instead became a platform for political views," it continued. "We take full responsibility for the oversight in not anticipating the direction of the conversation and for the discomfort it caused to many patrons."

The statement concluded, "We are in active dialogue with our patrons about their experience and are committed to learning from this event how to better enact our mission of entertaining, educating and inspiring our community."

Richard Dreyfuss in 2023. Bobby Bank/Getty Images

This isn't the first time Dreyfuss' comments have sparked backlash. In 2023, he appeared on the PBS series Firing Line with Margaret Hoover where he called out the Academy over its diversity and inclusion requirements for the Oscars.

"They make me vomit," the Mr. Holland's Opus actor said at the time. "Because this is an art form. It's also a form of commerce, and it makes money. But it's an art. And no one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is."

He went on to call the requirements "patronizing" and praised Laurence Olivier's 1965 portrayal of Othello, saying, "He played a Black man brilliantly."

"What are we risking?" Dreyfuss continued. "Are we really risking hurting people's feelings? You can't legislate that, and you have to let life be life. And I'm sorry, I don't think that there is a minority or a majority in the country that has to be catered to like that."

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