'Jungle Cruise': Casting of Jack Whitehall as Disney's first-ever openly gay character receives backlash
The LGBTQIA community is enraged that a straight white male would be taking up the role that they feel should go to someone who is actually gay
Just weeks after public outrage over Scarlett Johansson playing a transgender in 'Rub & Tug', news that Jack Whitehall, 30, will be playing the first ever openly gay character in the upcoming Disney film 'Jungle Cruise' has sparked outrage on Twitter. Neither Disney nor the actor himself have released a statement accepting or denying the news. Meanwhile, Whitehall has retweeted both tweets from the official 'Jungle Cruise' account.
The LGBTQIA community is enraged that a straight white male would be taking up the role that they feel should go to someone who is actually gay.
Actor Omar Shariff Junior tweeted, "Really @Disney #JungleCruise? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink.
A source told The Sun that this was huge for the actor. "This is a huge gig for Jack and has landed him his biggest ever pay cheque. But, more excitingly, he is playing a gay man — one who is hugely effete, very camp and very funny. It’s a dream role. Disney’s always been incredibly supportive of the LGBTQ community. This latest script, set at a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable to be gay, is another significant turning point." Actor Chris Salvatore also echoed similar emotions, tweeting, "Such a dam shame it’s so hard to find gay actors to play gay roles in hollywood 🙄. Do better".
The LGBTQ community has been protesting about cisgenders taking up roles that they would add more value to. Television host James Barr, who also identifies as a gay man, tweeted, "Super excited about this huge moment for the LGBTQ+ family, and @jackwhitehall is amazing… 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."
The argument is very similar to Scar Jo's casting controversy. The movie based on the life of 1970's crime kingpin Dante "Tex" Gill was to have her play Gill. A transgender from Pittsburg, Gill rose in the crime ranks dominated by men at the time and ran several brothels disguised as sordid massage parlors. Gill was born as Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man later in life.
'Jungle Cruise' stars Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as Frank and Emily Blunt as Lily. The plot follows Frank, a boat captain, who takes a sister and her brother on a mission into a jungle to find a tree believed to possess healing powers. All the while, the trio must fight against dangerous wild animals and a competing German expedition. The film is set to come out next year on October 12.