is facing some major backlash following comments he made on Monday, in which he said, "I am a gay man right now, pretty much, just without the physical act."
The 33-year-old actor, who is currently starring as Prior Walter in a London production of Angels in America,
opened up about how he prepared for his role as a gay man during a Q&A panel and the issues he faced when taking on the role.
"One of my main concerns, which I feel every day when I do this play, is that, as far as I know, I am not a gay man," the actor said. "Maybe I’ll have an awakening later in my life, which I’m sure will be wonderful and I’ll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I’m secluded to my area, which is wonderful as well. I adore it, but a big concern was what right do I have to play this wonderful, seminal gay part."
"I had to trust that it was the right thing, and [playwright] Tony [Kushner] had asked me and I thought, 'Well, if you're asking me then maybe it's OK,'" he explained. "So for me it was [about] doing honor, doing justice and knowing my herstory, as it were."
"The preparation had begun with all of my friends. Me doing [this play] is as much devoted to my friends in the gay community as it is to those that I don't know and those that passed during the AIDS epidemic," Garfield added.
In detailing the ways in which he prepared for the role, Garfield said that he watched "lots of films," -- such as the 2011 documentary We Were Here and the 2012 documentary How to Survive a Plague -- that he had done "lots of reading," and that he put up "Peter Staley wallpaper on my walls in my dressing room," referring to the iconic AIDS activist and groundbreaking LGBT rights advocate.
Garfield also mentioned that he has been dedicating a lot of time to watching "every season of RuPaul's Drag Race."
"Every Sunday, I would have eight friends over, and we would just watch Ru, that's literally it. This is my life outside of this play," he continued. "I am a gay man right now, pretty much, just without the physical act -- that's all."
While the intent behind Garfield's off-handed remarks is up for debate, many were offended by the statement, arguing that the star was suggesting that watching Drag Race was the extent of gay culture. The argument was also made that Garfield's comments reflected an attitude of cultural appropriation and historical ignorance.
Actor Scott Evans responded to the actors comments on Twitter, writing, "Ur a talented guy,but seem to be completely oblivious to what is coming out of ur mouth."
Another user wrote that Garfield "has a very limited view of what being gay ACTUALLY is."