Richard Dreyfuss’s Comments at “Jaws” Screening Prompt Apology From Theater

Attendees reportedly walked out of the event

Richard Dreyfuss in 2023
Richard Dreyfuss attends a screening of “American Graffiti” during the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 14, 2023.
Presley Ann/Getty Images for TCM

There’s a long history of actors and filmmakers making appearances in conjunction with repertory screenings of their films. Directors like Steven Soderbergh and Kevin Smith do it frequently; friends of mine spoke fondly about attending a showing of Die Hard in which Alan Rickman shared some of his memories of working on the film. So you’d think that attending a screening of Jaws with an appearance by Richard Dreyfuss would offer insight into one of the most beloved summer movies of all time.

Instead, the event seems to have abounded with offensive comments by the featured actor – and an apology from the theater in their aftermath.

The event took place on Saturday at the Beverly, Massachusetts theater The Cabot. As recounted by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kevin Dolak and Carly Thomas, Dreyfuss’s comments at the event prompted reports of walkouts at the event and a backlash to the actor’s comments on social media. By Monday, the theater itself had issued a statement distancing itself from Dreyfuss.

“We are aware of, and share serious concerns, following the recent event with Richard Dreyfuss prior to a screening of the film Jaws at The Cabot,” the theater stated. “The views expressed by Mr. Dreyfuss do not reflect the values of inclusivity and respect that we uphold as an organization. We deeply regret the distress that this has caused to many of our patrons.”

According to reports on social media, Dreyfuss’s comments included insults directed at Barbra Streisand, transgender kids and women. “It went pear shaped really quickly,” wrote one Twitter/X user who was in attendance.

The Best Movie Summer Ever Was 1982
The year when unexpected crowdpleasers played well with horror classics, cult sci-fi and one iconic teen comedy

The Hollywood Reporter also shared that a similar event in New Hampshire also found Dreyfuss inveighing about politics, to the chagrin of much of the audience. That said, this isn’t exactly shocking if you’ve been following some of Dreyfuss’s other public comments in recent years — including the time on Firing Line when he asked the question, “Am I being told that I will never have a chance to play a Black man?”

There’s probably an ideal career anectodes-to-political diatribes ratio for events like this. Whatever that ratio may be, however, Dreyfuss has not achieved it with these recent appearances.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.