The upcoming production of “The Jungle Cruise” from Disney will feature the entertainment corporation’s first openly gay character.
But instead of celebration from a largely left-leaning Hollywood about the gesture on behalf of the LGBTQ community, Disney is facing backlash. Why?
Because it broke the new PC rule about casting roles associated with underrepresented communities: “Straight white males need not apply.”
Jack Whitehall, a 30-year-old British actor who has dated females such as actress Gemma Chan, announced on Instagram that he was honored to snag the Disney role.
He also shared a promotion for the production.
A sample of Disney’s social media backlash illustrates the perceived hypocrisy.
“If you’re one of the people who ‘doesn’t see the big deal’ RE Jack Whitehall, a straight white male cast as the first openly gay Disney character, then you’re part of the problem,” one Twitter user complained.
“If Scarlett Johansson wasn’t allowed to play a trans man, then Jack Whitehall shouldn’t be allowed to play a gay man,” another noted about Johansson’s backing out of the film “Rub and Tug.”
“Especially so when you consider there are absolute[ly] hundreds of out gay men in Hollywood who are better actors than him,” the commenter added.
“Really @Disney #JungleCruise? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink,” actor Omar Sharif Jr., son of the famed late Egyptian actor, said on Twitter.
But several conservatives noted the silliness of the politically correct stance of casting actors for roles that require them to — well, act.
“I grew up with a stutter. It never once occurred to me to be angry that Colin Firth (who doesn’t stutter) was cast as King George VI in The King’s Speech. It’s called acting for a reason,” journalist Peter Hasson pointed out.
British Labour party representative Wes Streeting, who is reported to be a gay man, supported Disney’s casting decision.
“Shock as actor is asked to play someone different from themselves. Isn’t that kind of the point?” Streeting said, according to Sky News. “Wouldn’t always casting gay actors in gay roles be condemned for typecasting?”
Ironically, Whitehall isn’t the only “Jungle Cruise” cast member who has experienced backlash for accepting a role portraying a member from an underrepresented community.
Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson faced blowback for portraying an amputee in the blockbuster film “Skyscraper.”
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