Bette Midler may be flying (via broomstick) back onto your screens, but that doesn’t mean she has anything to prove.
In a new interview with Page Six at the New York premiere of Hocus Pocus 2 (Tuesday, Sept. 27), the long-awaited sequel to her 1993 Disney cult classic, Midler was asked whether or not she needed the film to buff her status as a gay icon. “No!” she told the publication. “This is worldwide, this is global, girl! Get a grip!”
During her interview, Midler also spoke to the process that she and her fellow Sanderson sisters Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy went through to get the film made nearly three decades after the original’s debut. “We sort of asked about it … when we finally realized it had become something, we asked about it again,” she said. “They sort of neglected us, and then finally they decided it was time. Thirty years, girl!”
The 76-year-old actress has long been lauded by the LGBTQ community as a gay icon, thanks not only to her acting and singing, but also her advocacy for queer rights throughout her career. However, the actress faced significant backlash in July 2022 after publishing a tweet that many users deemed transphobic, in which she used language often employed by trans-exclusionary radical feminists (otherwise known as TERFs) to advocate for women’s rights.
“WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name,” she wrote at the time. “They don’t call us ‘women’ anymore; they call us ‘birthing people’ or ‘menstruators’, and even ‘people with vaginas’! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!”
In a subsequent tweet, Midler defended her comments saying that there was “no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic” in what she wrote.
Hocus Pocus 2 premieres Friday, Sept. 30, exclusively on Disney+.