Antoni Porowski, best known for helping people perfect their culinary skills on Netflix’s Queer Eye, has revealed what prompted him to speak out after seeing videos of recent violence against LGBTQ people in Poland.
“I was super triggered recently,” Porowski said on BuzzFeed News’ Twitter morning show, AM to DM, while doing promotion for his latest cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen. “A lot of young LGBTQI+ youth and allies tagged me in these really violent videos where they were throwing flour at protesters, and I found out later that they were actually throwing rocks at them.”
Porowski, who is Canadian and Polish, was referring to an incident that happened in Bialystok, Poland, which hosted its first pride parade in July.
Nearly 1,000 people who came out to celebrate the event were met with chants from far-right protesters. They chanted things like “God, honor, and motherland” and “Bialystok free of perverts.” Participants in the parade responded by saying, “Poland free of fascists.”
“I felt like it was a call to action to me,” Porowski said, adding that he felt an obligation to say something because of his Polish heritage.
“Sometimes you can’t be complacent and you have to say something.”
In late August, the star condemned the violence against LGBTQ people in Poland in an op-ed with the Washington Post.
“The youth in Poland need to know that we’re watching,” he told BuzzFeed News. “The whole world needs to know, actually, like there’s some messed up stuff going on in this country, but we are lucky in a sense. Like, we’re able to actually march through pride.”
Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the Law and Justice party in Poland, has said LGBTQ rights were a “threat to Polish identity, to our nation, to its existence and thus to the Polish state.” In recent months, dozens of Polish towns, led by members of this nationalist party, have called for “LGBT-free zones.”
“I marched pride on the Queer Eye float and we were able to do it safely,” Porowski said.
“I did it in Canada safely. In Poland they’re not able to do that.”
Watch the complete interview below:
The violence occurred at the city of Bialystok’s first-ever pride parade. A previous version of this post said the event was Poland’s first pride parade, which occurred in 2001.