Tituss Burgess Slams Andy Cohen's 'Blatant Disregard' for Him as Host Dismisses Awkward WWHL Banter as 'Entertaining'
After appearing on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Sunday night, the actor — best known for his breakout role on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — took to Instagram to slam Cohen for being “a messy queen.”
“Yes I said it! Don’t care he knows either!” Burgess wrote in the comments section of his latest post. “He should remember his talk show isn’t an episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta! It’s a place where artists come to talk about art and have a little fun. NOT a place to rehash old rumors or bring a star negative press.”
On WWHL, Cohen asked Burgess about working with Eddie Murphy on the upcoming film, Dolemite Is My Name. “Did you get to chat with him at all?” Cohen asked. “He was very problematic for the gays at one point when I was coming up.”
Cohen, 51, was referring to homophobic jokes about gays and AIDS Murphy made early on in his career and featured in his 1981 HBO special, Delirious. In 1996, Murphy apologized for the statements, telling the media, “I deeply regret any pain all this has caused.” He also admitted that he was young and “misinformed” back then.
“Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981. I think it is unfair to take the words of a misinformed 21-year-old and apply them to an informed 35-year-old man,” said Murphy, now 58, according to the San Francisco Gate. “I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over. I know that AIDS isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now.”
Burgess and guest Laverne Cox both agreed on WWHL that they had no issue with Murphy.
“He wasn’t problematic for Tituss, and we had a wonderful time … Any troubles he may have had with gay people I guess are gone because he loved me,” Burgess said before mouthing something to someone off-camera.
When Cohen noticed, he asked, “What are you saying, Tituss?” To which Burgess responded, “Keep going, girl. Do your show.”
On Instagram, Burgess elaborated about the moment.
“Sunday was a display of ratchet behavior by a well connected man having blatant disregard for one of his guests,” he said. “If only time were taken to know who I am and not assuming that I am the character I play on TV, he would know how to conduct a proper interview with at all!”
“I received 4 Emmy nominations for acting! NOT for being my self,” he continued. “He was lucky I had my wits and Christian values THAT day. Always keep it classy. Being friends with other talented celebrities doesn’t make you talented, it makes you friends with other famous celebrities! He should rip a page from Anderson Cooper and learn how to do his job.”
On Monday, Cohen touched on Burgess’ appearance on his SiriusXM radio show, Andy Cohen Live.
“He wasn’t having me,” Cohen said. “What can I tell you? From the jump. I was trying, but no idea.”
Cohen said tensions with Burgess, 40, even carried over backstage.
“He ran out of there. Did not sign the guest book — he ran out,” Cohen said. “He was like, ‘He knows I was here.’ That’s what he said to the person who asks to sign the guest book. It was something else, alright.”
The host then brought up another moment from the show in which Burgess appeared to snap at Cohen when he brought up the musical adaptation of The Preacher’s Wife he’s been working on.
“I think that was the first moment that he was pissed,” Cohen recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, you wrote the musical for The Preacher’s Wife. And then I said, ‘I didn’t know that, that’s a great idea.’ And he said, ‘You talked about it two other times on this show!’ And I was like, ‘Ugh oh…’ I think that was the first point.”
“I’ve done 1300 episodes. Forgive me for forgetting you wrote the musical about The Preacher’s Wife,” Cohen continued. “By the way, I still think it’s a great idea. I’m still excited to talk about it. I was being supportive. But yes, I had forgotten. I’m sorry that I forgot your upcoming project. I know I shouldn’t have forgotten. I like the guy. I ran into him at a bar in Harlem like, eight months ago, and we had a really nice talk. So I don’t know.”
In the end, Cohen didn’t appear to be taking it too hard.
“He made an entertaining show, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “Sometimes it’s fun to watch the show when the guest hates the host.”
Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen airs Sunday through Thursday nights on Bravo.