Jonathan Bailey says his ‘life was threatened’ for being gay during trip to Washington DC

Jonathan Bailey at the season 2 premiere for Netflix's Bridgerton

Jonathan Bailey has revealed that his “life was threatened” for being gay during a visit to Washinton DC earlier this year.

The actor has been putting his newfound global stardom to good use – when he’s not filming hit TV series like Bridgerton and Fellow Travelers, or future blockbusters like Wicked – and using his platform to promote LGBTQ+ rights and stories.

While certain aspects have come on leaps and bounds, hate crimes and general vitriol based on sexuality and gender have been on the rise over the past five years.

Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey has confirmed he has a "lovely" partner
Wicked star Jonathan Bailey has revealed that his “life was threatened” for being gay. (Getty/Pascal Le Segretain)

This summer, a new study from the charity Just Like Us revealed that 61 per cent of LGBTQ+ young adults in the UK have experienced verbal abuse, while 50 per cent have experienced physical abuse.

Similarly, in October, the FBI reported an alarming spike in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in the US.

Despite his new A-list status, Bailey, who is openly gay, is not exempt from feeling the impact of this unfortunate reality, having revealed that his life was threatened by a stranger just two months ago.

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Detailing the harrowing experience to The Standard, Bailey explained that he had been visiting Washington DC for an annual Human Rights Campaign event, at which both Bridgerton creator Shonda Rhimes and his Fellow Travelers co-star Matt Bomer were being honoured with awards.

The morning after what had been an “amazing night”, Bailey was beaming. But it wasn’t long before the dreamy experience was shattered.

“I went into a coffee shop, and I was wearing a Human Rights Campaign cap from the night before. And the young lady who I was ordering from recognised me from Bridgerton, we were just chatting,” he recalled.

Jonathan Bailey in a black roll-neck and blazer.
Fellow Travelers star Jonathan Bailey detailed the harrowing experience in a recent interview. (Getty)

“And a man arrived behind me and he said, ‘Are you famous?’ And I said something like, ‘I’m really famous for ordering coffee,’ which is actually quite an annoying thing to say.

“And then he got my cap, and he pulled it off my head and he threw it across the room and he said, ‘Get out of this f***ing coffee shop, you queer.”

The Wicked actor described walking over to pick up his hat and put it back on his head before the man told him: “If you don’t take that cap off, I’m gonna f***ing shoot you. Where I’m from, people like me kill people like you.”

The room went utterly still and “no one knew what to do,” he recalled.

Thankfully, one “amazing” woman named Angela whipped her phone out and said: “I’m recording this message, I think you are welcome in this country. And what you’re saying, I think, is appalling,” after which, the man left.

Bailey said that what stuck with him most from that frightening run-in was that “potentially. there is a kid who – that’s his father. That’s his uncle. That’s his teacher.”

The actor noted that, although the experience frightened him, he was still in a luckier position than most.

“My life was threatened. My body believed it; my brain didn’t and it took me a while to really catch up with it,” he shared.

“But I’ve got friends and security. There are so many people that don’t. They are surrounded by that every day, and the torment of what that must be like, the amount of fear that was generated… If that’s what children are surrounded by, they’re not going to be able to grow in any way.

“And of course, that’s not just an American story. It’s international. And it’s terrifying, that [in the UK] we’re not looking after queer people, in terms of allowing them into the country. Because that is the reality; people’s lives are literally at risk.”