Actor from Controversial New LGBT Film “Adam” Alleges Cast Was Lied To About Content

Phaylen Fairchild
Nov 1 · 5 min read

The controversial new film “Adam” directed by Rhys Ernst which features a cisgender man who pretends to be a transgender man in an effort to deceive his sister’s friends into having sex with him has been widely condemned for it’s lesbophobic and transphobic themes, even fetching calls for a boycott.

Based on the 2014 book of the same name by Ariel Schrag, Adam portrays transgender people as con artists who easily slip into the trans identity to manipulate others, as the protagonist does to a lesbian woman he essentially rapes, but in an amazing turn of events, when Adam reveals himself to be a straight male, the lesbian character seems to shrug off her sexuality, and the fact that she was mislead into having sex with him, and decides she’s not completely a lesbian after all and goes on to have a relationship with him suggesting lesbian women aren’t really all that serious about their sexuality and are for the sake of storytelling, all sexually fluid as long as the man satisfies them.

It’s pretty repugnant and reckless, to say the least. But, a recent twist of events shows the theme of deception began long before the film hit theaters.

In June, a member of the cast of Adam took to twitter to criticize the director for lying to them about the content of the film and urged angry viewers not to attack the cast that they allege had no idea what the film was about and were grossly mistreated while on the set.

According to reviews, many cisgender straight people are lauding the film as funny, with one reviewer delighting in the fact it will “Make SJW’s mad” and “ a complex, original, sophisticated and beautifully made film by a transman director and a cis lesbian.” Transgender folks and lesbians? Not entirely. The reactions seems to be exactly what AI/Cerv was fearing;

Indeed, some anti-trans trolls who’ve picked up on the disdain many in the LGBT community have for the film have offered reviews without, admittedly, ever intending to see the film.

If the allegations made by the actor are true, the film is more than just an ill conceived project by a seemingly overzealous new director drunk on his own ego, but also one built off the backs of innocent people who were duped in order to serve the purpose of the filmmakers.

Given the increasingly hostile climate toward transgender people, many of those commenting on the film have expressed their concerns of it being used as leverage against them with the intent to portray them as predators.

In an interview with Advocate Magazine, Ernst explains that “It is a weird time to take a creative risk, certainly as a trans filmmaker…” He goes on to say, regarding his critics, “I think there’s a war on nuance right now.”

What is most interesting is that Erst was a producer on the hit Amazon original series “Transparent” which featured a large transgender cast and was celebrated for its showcase of diversity. However, if the dismissive language Ernst uses to squelch naysayers seems a little familiar, that’s because in 2018- in the midst of the #MeToo movement- we saw accusations of sexual impropriety by multiple women against Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor. In response, show creator Jill Soloway, who identifies as non-binary, sent Tambor a text claiming they were “In a coup” over the backlash the production received and subsequent public support for the accusers. The award winning series ended when Amazon executives fired Tambor after an investigation.

They’ve been after Maura from the beginning.” Soloway wrote in a text to Tambor and confirmed by the Hollywood Reporter of the transgender cast members, including Trace Lysette, Alexandra Billings, behind the scenes producers and the audience. When challenged on the statement that seemed to blame the trans members of the show and the viewers, they responded:

“While much of the trans community immediately embraced the show, some vocally opposed the casting of a cis man, Jeffrey, in the lead role. This sentiment has persisted in parts of the community — coming up again on social media in the wake of these allegations. It was a text I wrote in frustration after pouring my heart into this show for years. I wanted to tell a story that brought power and visibility to trans people, and to my own family’s journey into understanding, acceptance, and pride.” — Jill Soloway

Soloway then appeared to abruptly self-cancel the series, announcing the fifth season would be the last before Amazon, the studio behind the series, had ever mad any public statement or comment about its future.

Hollywood isn’t kind to transgender actors, and what little space is afforded to us both in front of and behind the scenes is heavily competitive. Soloway has positioned themselves into a power position in the industry, moving on to direct big budget features and has teamed up with Amazon again to launch Topple Books, an imprint which intends to focus on telling the stories from authors in minority communities. I discovered this when preparing a pitch for my book that explores LGBT experiences in a post Trump era, but upon realizing Soloway was heading up the newly formed division, I opted out of submitting given their demonstrated history of trans intolerance. It would be difficult to trust them as an ally again.

The themes that have come out of Soloway’s orbit are bound to hamstring progress for transgender actors and actresses. When we don’t have make our own content in order to work, we must rely on trans inclusive filmmakers who actively choose to include us in their projects. Ryan Murphy is a perfect example of a showrunner who creates a pathway for LGBT actors in every one of the shows he develops, including POSE, American Horror Story, Feud and Scream Queens, and he remains only one of just a handful that takes this approach to diversifying his casts. In Soloway, we didn’t just lose an ally, but an insider champion that seems to have enjoyed that title, despite their mutual community support being conditional… until we became a liability.

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