Schafer, 24, who is transgender, appeared on the host’s Late Night Show on Saturday (18 November) to promote her newest film, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.
While discussing her childhood obsession with the original Jennifer Lawrence-led Hunger Games trilogy, Fallon held up a photo of young Schafer dressed in costume as one of the Capitol residents from the movie.
“This is really cool! Now you’re in Hunger Games!” Fallon said, bringing out a new image of Schafer in character as Tigris Snow. “Look at you, congratulations, bud!”
Since the show released a clip of the interview on TikTok, certain commenters criticised Fallon, arguing that the term “bud” is masculine-coded.
Some argued that Fallon would not have called Schafer “bud” had she been a cisgender woman.
However, many have come to Fallon’s defence, reminding others that he has used the term of endearment with cis-female celebrities in the past.
“He’s literally called Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande (two cisgender women) ‘bud’ before and this is no different??? I would get it if Hunter was uncomfortable but she [didn’t care],” one tweeted.
Ahead of Swift’s appearance on Fallon’s talk show in 2021, the two filmed a promo clip that saw the host knock on the “Anti-Hero” singer’s dressing room door to greet her. “Hey bud,” he said. “I’m so excited! 10 minutes until show time.”
“I’m really aware of cis people who call trans women ‘dude, bro, etc’ but we have to see how he calls cis women and in Jimmy's case he always did the same to every younger woman on his show,” a second responded. “So yeah, let's pay attention to the patterns.”
Fallon’s representatives declined to comment when contacted by The Independent. Schafer’s representatives did not immediately respond.
The Hunger Games prequel stars Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute from District 12 who has been assigned to be mentored by 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), decades before he becomes the tyrannical president of Panem.
In her two-star review of the movie for The Independent, Clarisse Loughrey found it to be “a limp prequel that dilutes its biggest villain”.
The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is in cinemas now.