People Outraged After Disney Casts First Openly Gay Lead Character – But Not for the Reason You'd Think
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Disney has reportedly cast its first openly gay lead character in its upcoming film "Jungle Cruise," but many LGBT activists aren't happy.
The Sun reported Tuesday that British actor Jack Whitehall was cast to play a "fun, effete" young man in the film.
While this is an obvious break away from traditional depictions of sexuality and marriage, LGBT fans say there's one big problem – Whitehall isn't gay enough. In fact, he isn't gay at all. He is straight.
They are upset because Disney didn't cast an actual gay man to play the role.
Actor and gay activist Omar Sharif Jr. took to twitter to express his outrage.
"Really @Disney #JungleCruise ? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink," he wrote.
Really @Disney #JungleCruise ? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink. https://t.co/npPESNZaxD— Omar Sharif Jr. (@OmarSharifJr) August 13, 2018
Gay TV host James Barr called the casting "frustrating."
"Super excited about this huge moment for the LGBTQ+ family, and @jackwhitehall is amazing https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/jack-whitehall-gay/ … BUT when so many gay actor friends of mine are turned down for straight roles because there's a "whiff of gay", it's frustrating to cast NonGay people in gay roles," Barr said.
Super excited about this huge moment for the LGBTQ+ family, and @jackwhitehall is amazing https://t.co/FwH4d7BZqZ BUT when so many gay actor friends of mine are turned down for straight roles because there's a "whiff of gay", it's frustrating to cast NonGay people in gay roles— James Barr ️ (@imjamesbarr) August 13, 2018
Neither Whitehall nor Disney have confirmed the reports or responded to the controversy.
This isn't the first time Disney has faced backlash over LGBT issues. Last year, concerned parents disapproved of the company’s choice to include LGBT themes in its live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast."
A Mississippi attorney who identifies as a homosexual objected to the decision and said children should not be exposed to adult topics.
"The vision for Walt's world was clear: Entertain children. Disney characters were about hope, optimism and, above all else, making sure children were able to enjoy their innocence for as long as the outside world would permit. And Disney understood that part of its mission was to provide a buffer for as long as possible," he wrote in a column for The Orlando Sentinel last year.
"Somewhere along the line, Disney went off course," he continued. "No longer did it see itself as a defender of children's innocence. Instead, it saw itself as a conduit to social change. Walt Disney became Harvey Milk."
“Jungle Cruise” will hit theaters October 2019.
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