Kerr Smith is back on television as Mr. Honey on the new season of Riverdale, but he recently sat down to reflect on his role in another classic high school drama: Dawson’s Creek.
In an interview with Too Fab, Smith reflected on the groundbreaking gay kiss between his character, Jack McPhee, and Ethan Brody (Adam Kaufman), which first aired 19 years ago.
“[Series creator Kevin Williamson] said, ‘Kerr, let’s go get some coffee,’” Smith told the outlet, recalling when Williamson visited the Dawson’s Creek set. “I went, ‘Oh no, am I fired?’ And he throws this idea, ‘We want to go down a different avenue with Jack.’”
“I remember calling everybody I respected and said, ‘Hey should I do this?’ Doing the first male-male kiss, I remember it was intense,” Smith added. “I’m glad we did it, and it was part of history.”
Williamson was not out at the time, and Smith went on to explain how Jack’s storyline was really inspired by the drama’s executive producer, Greg Berlanti.
As NewNowNext previously reported, the smooch was a landmark moment for LGBTQ representation in media—one of the first real, romantic gay kisses on primetime television—but Berlanti received a lot of pushback over it.
“I had to threaten to quit, basically because they wouldn’t let us have the characters kiss,” the Love, Simon director told Indiewire. “At the time, there were shows that were fine to show lots of violence in network, but they wouldn’t allow a kiss between two gay characters. They asked me to run the show that year, and part of my agreement with them was that they would allow the character, Jack, to have a kiss. There was a lot of negotiation about that kiss.”