Tan France says he won't return to living in the U.K. because of racism

"I suffered so much racism here and it’s just not something I want to put myself through," the 'Queer Eye' star said.
Image: Tan France arrives for the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, 2018.
Tan France arrives for the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, 2018.Danny Moloshok / Invision / AP file

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By Natasha Roy

Queer Eye” star Tan France won’t be moving back to the United Kingdom any time soon.

In an interview with the U.K.'s Grazia published Feb. 4, France, who is British Pakistani, said that while he used to say he might move back to his native U.K. at some point, that probably won't be the case.

“I suffered so much racism here and it’s just not something I want to put myself through,” France said. “I love this country, I love what it potentially represents, but I just think that until they solve this problem or move forward with it, where you just are not attacked every day, I’m not willing to be here.”

It’s not the first time France has spoken about his reluctance to return to the U.K. due to racism. In June 2019, he told the U.K.’s Channel 4 News that since moving to Salt Lake City, Utah to be with his husband, artist Rob France, he felt his life was easier for him out there. France said it was nice to not worry about his race most days.

France said that it’s not necessarily easier to be who you are in Salt Lake City, but that he is less likely to be called something on the street.

“People may think those things of you, but you won’t hear it,” France said. “I’ve literally never ever been on the receiving end of abuse on the streets of Salt Lake City, and I’ve been there for 11 years now, whereas in England it was almost daily.”

He said he felt the abuse would still be the same if he lived in England. Just a few weeks before “Queer Eye” premiered, he visited the U.K., and someone called him a racial slur on the street.

France also told Channel 4 News that he was hesitant to go to Georgia and Missouri for “Queer Eye” because many people he met had never met a South Asian person before. He said some people had negative ideas about what he represented -- including someone who asked if he was a terrorist.

With fame, though, things have gotten better for France personally.

“I’m not stopped as much for people assuming I’m a terrorist because they now know me from TV, and they don’t see TV people the same way,” France said. “I have the luxury, the privilege, of fame.”