Jack Whitehall has been cast as Disney’s first openly gay character and the decision has caused a lot of controversy online.
The character, which is set to be a “hugely effete, very camp and very funny” figure who “makes clear he has no interest in women”, is a part of the upcoming movie Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Emily Blunt.
Whitehall’s character is the brother of Blunt’s character, Lily Houghton.
The film, which is based on the Disneyland ride of the same name, tells the story of a captain who takes travellers on a mission into the jungle to find a magic tree.
People have been criticizing the news since it emerged as most believe that a gay man should have been cast instead of Whitehall, who is straight.
“Ironically, gay people have had to play it straight for years and appease society to avoid receiving abuse. Now straight actors are getting PAID to “play gay,” said one Twitter user while another asked, “how about we say no to straight actors playing gay stereotypes?”.
Well that’s great and all but with all of the LGBTQ actors out there, I sure would have liked them to cast from that community.
— Heather (@myweirdmom1) August 12, 2018
Because there are no gay actors out there...🤦♀️
— iRead... (@ReadingDiva3) August 13, 2018
Others are slamming the character’s stereotypical representation of a gay man.
‘Very camp’ character? I can only guess this means overdo every gay stereotype there is - how original 🙄https://t.co/XvgbnAi5w9
— reydelaplaya (@reydelaplaya) August 13, 2018
We are not “comic relief” we do not exist “for a laugh.” pic.twitter.com/mKyvxNj27N
— Gay Jesus (@SimonSFranklin) August 12, 2018
What message is this sending to young gay people?! That all gay people are camp? Same old comedy stereotype, Disney this is really disappointing
— Simon Woolley (@simonewoolley) August 13, 2018
I honestly don't care Jack Whitehall is playing a gay character but surely that character doesn't have to be a total stereotype of gay men... also this wouldn't be such an issue if gay people were cast as straight more often— Emily (@Emmy_Bee13) August 13, 2018
I don’t have a huge problem with the casting. Straight actors have played gay characters before (Jude Law, Nick Robinson etc). I have nothing against Jack Whitehall. I find it more problematic that the description of this character is a damaging stereotype.
— Al (@4llyfayxo) August 13, 2018
2017’s live-action Beauty and the Beast was banned in several markets after the director stated in pre-release interviews that character LeFou was a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
But as the film itself did not explicitly confirm that LeFou was gay, it didn't make the history books.
Jungle Cruise is expected to hit cinemas in 2019.