michael knowles at CPAC saying 'Transgenderism must be eradicated' (l) michael knowles shirtless in bed with a man (r)

Kiro48/YouTube The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder

‘So much for traditional masculinity’: Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire personality played queer character in unearthed student film

Michael Knowles is anti-trans, anti-drag, and opposes gay marriage.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Mar 20, 2023   Updated on Mar 20, 2023, 1:12 pm CDT

The Daily Wire personality who is one of the site’s most vocal opponents of LGBTQ equality played a bisexual lothario in a student film a decade ago.

During his speech at CPAC this year, Michael Knowles said that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” Knowles was heavily criticized for the transphobic comment, which some advocates took as a thinly veiled threat or even a call for genocide.

Knowles has also previously criticized drag because “men aren’t supposed to wear dresses” and said same-sex marriages are illegitimate.

Last summer, he tweeted, “…[S]ame-sex marriage’ is the most radical political shift our civilization has ever embraced.”

After Knowles’ CPAC speech, the Daily Dot uncovered old photos of him wearing drag.

He was the second transphobic, anti-drag conservative to have such photos emerge in recent weeks. In late February, the Daily Dot reported that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) wore a skirt and a wig in a high school yearbook photo. Days later, Lee signed a bill banning drag performances in public spaces or at which children were present.

A film unearthed by the liberal Twitter account Right Wing Cope has people once again calling Knowles a hypocrite.

In the short student film, The House of Shades, Knowles plays a promiscuous bisexual man who belongs to a secret, hedonistic club that his character refers to as a “house of pleasure.” In the film, he invites a young man to the club where he plies him with alcohol and later seduces him.

The next morning, Knowles’ character admits to a friend that he has feelings for the man, who was supposed to be just a fling.

“He was actually awkward, sort of fumbling around, it was kind of sweet,” he says. The friend urges him to move on and “find someone hotter.”

Knowles half-heartedly agrees. “He’s probably just some closet case with a ton of baggage,” his character says. Just before the film ends, he gets a phone call informing him that the police have raided their club.

The House of Shades was posted on YouTube in 2012 when Knowles was attending Yale University.

Although Knowles doesn’t kiss his costar, nor does the film contain a sex scene, many people accused the conservative pundit of hypocrisy for playing a man who has sex with men. The film does depict a post-coital scene of the two shirtless in bed together.

“The current headliner of conservative homophobia played a gay twink,” Right Wing Cope tweeted. “So much for restoring ‘traditional masculinity.'”

LGBTQ Nation referred to Knowles as “yet another anti-LGBTQ+ figure with some inconveniently queer skeletons in his closet” over the role.

Similar commentary filled the internet.

“I don’t really care what these conservatives/republicans do behind closed doors. What I do care about is their hypocrisy knows no bounds,” @Sonar706 tweeted. “It seems like they go the extreme opposite of what they are just to distract from their past or current lifestyle.”

Another video of Knowles subsequently surfaced in which he mimes performing fellatio.


On Friday, Knowles acknowledged critics of his LGBTQ-affirming acting work.

“It seems the libs are perusing old films from my actor days, among them a classmate’s undergrad thesis in which I played a character who was light in the loafers,” he tweeted. “Everyone should rest assured: that movie is one of the least gay things ever produced by Yale.”

Knowles’ fans largely defended him. One describes themself as a “DW fan page” said it was “the least gay, gay thing I’ve ever watched.”

The explanation didn’t sit as well with the trans and gay people who have been the targets of his vitriol and calls to restrict their rights or eradicate them.

“So you openly admit you portrayed what you see as degeneracy as a positive thing? Wouldn’t that be propaganda to you though? Or is it ok for gay people to be portrayed in film as long as it’s you?” one commented on Knowles’ tweet.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Sign up now for free
Share this article
*First Published: Mar 20, 2023, 1:10 pm CDT