Jameela Jamil has come out as queer following a backlash to her casting in a voguing competition show.
The former T4 presenter and Good Place actress is part of a panel of judges on new show Legendary, about a form of dance inspired by poses in high-end fashion magazines that was pioneered by queer people of colour from deprived areas of New York in the 1960s.
She is joined on the panel of the HBO Max show by rapper Megan Thee Stallion, stylist Law Roach and Leiomy Maldonado, who is known as the Wonder Woman of Vogue.
Pose star Dashaun Wesley will serve as MC, with music by DJ MikeQ.
Jamil had not previously spoken about her sexuality and her casting was widely criticised on social media.
In a lengthy statement on Twitter, she wrote: “Twitter is brutal. This is why I never officially came out as queer.
“I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it’s not easy within the South Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter.
“But I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid.
“I didn’t come from a family with *anyone* openly out. It’s also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties.
“This is absolutely not how I wanted it to come out. I’m jumping off this hell app for a while because I don’t want to read mean comments dismissing this. You can keep your thoughts.”
She added: “I know that my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom. But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show, (as does the absolutely iconic Megan Thee Stallion,) and its beautiful contestants and ballroom hosts.
“Sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalised stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance. I’m not the MC. I’m not the main host.
“I’m just a lead judge due to my 11 years of hosting experience, being fully impartial, a newcomer to ballroom (like much of the audience will be) and therefore a window in for people who are just discovering it now, and being a long time ally of the lgbtq community.
“We start shooting tomorrow and I’m really excited to watch these stars shine and be celebrated.
“I’m excited to work with Leiomy, Dashaun and Mike Q. As I am with my friend Law Roach and Megan.
“It’s f****** hard to be asked to continue to be patient after so long of waiting for what you want. I know that. South Asian stories are almost never told without white stars.
“But I hope you don’t let a few castings designed to help the show get off the ground, stop you from supporting the talent from Ballroom of this show. They really are f******* amazing and I’m really honoured to work with them.”