When Don Cheadle hosted Saturday Night Live this past weekend, he made news with two different clothing choices. At the end of the show, Cheadle wore an old Soviet Union hockey jersey, one with “Trump 45” on the back. But prior to one of the musical performances by guest Gary Clark Jr., Cheadle wore a t-shirt that said “Protect Trans Kids.”
Cheadle was thanked by many trans people for the gesture, as well as by such organizers as the National Center For Transgender Equality, who thanked him in a Twitter post.
But others questioned Cheadle’s shirt choice, including a Twitter user with whom the actor had an exchange on Wednesday.
When a Twitter user asked Cheadle why he chose to wear that particular shirt, instead of one for a “black cause,” the actor replied on Twitter.
“That shirt was given to me by my daughter last year, who, not unlike myself, has a deep and personal connection to the issue. it was a sign of support to marginalized individuals in need or protection, irrespective of ppl’s belief in their hvng a right to… even exist or not. support for trans kids (many of them black and often the MOST maligned [look up intersectionality]) in no way means fkkk black kids and it’s specious to insinuate that it does. claro?”
Cheadle’s Twitter followers also asked him where they can purchase the shirt, in such a way that benefits that particular cause. The actor replied on Twitter, writing “stay tuned.” He also spread another Twitter post by a user who had created coffee mugs using a picture of Cheadle wearing the shirt on the show.
Some of Saturday Night Live‘s cast members — and guests — of late have been wearing shirts touting political causes during the proceedings. Cecily Strong wore a “trans rights are human rights” shirt on one episode of the show in 2017, per Mic.
Others were critical of the other shirt Cheadle wore on the show, with some Twitter users noting that the CCCP jersey didn’t make much sense as a Trump critique. These critics pointed out that the Soviet Union is not the same country as contemporary Russia, nor was it governed by the same ideology as currently governs Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Cheadle is currently starring on the Showtime drama series Black Monday, which is set on Wall Street in the 1980s. The show co-stars Andrew Rannells, Regina Hall, Paul Scheer, and Horatio Sanz.