Daniel Franzese. (Mean Girls still/Dominik Bindl/Getty)
Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese has said he was fired from a gig at a Catholic university because he is gay.
The actor and comedian, who played Damian in the 2004 cult classic, claimed he was dropped by Walsh University in Ohio after the Vatican banned blessings for same-sex couples.
In a video shared on YouTube, Franzese said he had signed a contract with the university to host its Mr Walsh pageant on 26 March.
However, he said his contract was cancelled because of “the personal beliefs of the higher administration”.
“Today I was fired from Walsh University in Ohio for being gay,” Franzese said in the video.
Daniel Franzese said his contract was finalised by 18 February, but plans were scrapped on Tuesday (16 March), just one day after the Vatican released its new rules surrounding same-sex couples.
The comedian read out a letter from the director of student activities at the university, which said: “I am incredibly disappointed and sincerely apologise for this.”
The letter acknowledged that the cancellation was “unprofessional” and was “clearly based on personal beliefs of the higher administration”.
Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese said Vatican’s words are being ‘weaponised’
“I am a gay man. I’m single. The Vatican’s statement about blessing unions should have absolutely not have factored into the decision for them to follow through on a booking that they initiated,” Daniel Franzese said.
“Instead these words are being weaponised against me as they will no doubt countless others. I could understand if maybe they don’t want to see my comedy show, which is PG-13 by the way, and I performed at over 50 colleges and universities all around the nation, including Christian and Catholic universities.
“But I was hired to emcee a show with a script that they wrote for a male beauty pageant. And despite the fact that I was doing this for practically half my rate because they are a private university in the midst of a pandemic, I was fired.”
Franzese continued: “I realise that I’m privileged and I have this audience of followers that I can share this experience with, but what I started thinking about was, what if this was a teacher, or a student, or a doctor, or a patient, or the cook at the Walsh commissary, or somebody enjoying food in a restaurant. When does it end?”
The comedian promised to perform at the nearest gay bar to Walsh University when the pandemic allows him to do so to raise funds for the Trevor Project. Students of the university will be allowed to attend for free.
He added: “If you don’t want to bake my cake, I don’t want to hand you my crown. So to the LGBTQ students at Walsh, cause I know you’re there, I am so sorry that I can’t be there with you. I imagine that you’re feeling frustrated and isolated right now, but you must know that God knows everything about you and he loves you just as you are, and no Vatican statement can change that, no university action can change that.
“Nothing can separate us from the love of God and Jesus Christ, and as a Christ-loving Christian and host of my own faith-based podcast Yass, Jesus, I am appalled that somebody could be fired for who they love using God as their reasoning, and as a gay man I wish them luck on their super straight beauty pageant.”
PinkNews has contacted Walsh University for comment.