Jungle Cruise is attempting to bring the Disney magic in a new way, but its latest decision has stirred up quite a bit of controversy.
Comedian and actor Jack Whitehall has landed a role in the upcoming live-action Disney film, an announcement he made on his Instagram account. According to The Sun, Whitehall would be portraying a "hugely effete, very camp" openly gay character, who is the brother of Emily Blunt's Lily Houghton.
View this post on Instagram
I’m so honoured to be part of this epic adventure - @disneysjunglecruise. Filming is underway and I am having the time of my life with my amazing co stars. It’s so cool to be part of something of this scale and also as possibly one of the biggest Disney nerds on the planet so exciting to be working on a project with this much history. Watch to the end of this video and see the most incredible set I’ve ever seen. They built it from the ground up and walking onto it for the first time a month ago was like stepping back in time. Can’t wait for you to see this film... #junglecruise
While the reporting is unconfirmed, the notion that Whitehall might be portraying an openly gay character — one of the first to be seen in a Disney film — has gotten quite a lot of attention. Some are unhappy that this landmark Disney role appears to be rooted in stereotypes, a fact that is only made worse by the fact that Whitehall is straight in real life.
Granted, quite a few online are fine with the Jungle Cruise casting, but there still has been quite a lot of discourse all the same. Here's a round up of some of those responses.
Wanting to Be Seen
It’s not that it’s a problem to cast a fantastic straight ally to play a gay role, it’s that there are so many gay actors that are under represented in all sorts of roles across the board... and so I think that this is, fantastic, but also a bit sad ? #JungleCruise— James Barr ?️? (@imjamesbarr) August 13, 2018
An Important First
I'm not saying straight people shouldn't be allowed to play gay people, but Disney should have known there would be backlash to Jack Whitehall in Jungle Cruise. The first openly gay character in a Disney film? Wasted opportunity to be truly historic.— Eli Sanza (@ejunkie2014) August 13, 2018
ISNT IT FANTASTIC how white people cant fathom Idris Elba, a black man, playing James Bond, a ‘white character’ but then a straight man is to play a gay character and apparently that’s how movies work, playing someone they’re not. LMAO sit down #jackwhitehall #JungleCruise— Lewis (@lcharding28) August 13, 2018
Time For Change
person responding to the jungle cruise actor controversy: *states all the straight men who have acted in famous gay roles and gay men who have acted in famous straight roles*
me: ok but can you name gay men who have played famous gay roles— fabi0lahh (@fabiola_liano) August 13, 2018
A Lot of Significance
You’re 100% right. My point: For a company and brand that speaks primarily to youth, Disney had an opportunity to give queer kids an authentic reflection of themselves to see on TV and role model to look up to in real life. Not the self-professed stereotyping we’re told to expect— Omar Sharif Jr. (@OmarSharifJr) August 13, 2018
Don't Rely on Stereotypes
I don’t care about the actor’s sexuality. A “very effete, very camp, and very funny” gay character doesn’t help LGBT representation. It perpetuates a stereotype, which is a problematic if this will be the first mayor gay Disney character. #JackWhitehall #JungleCruise— Jason Kesse (@jasonkesse) August 13, 2018
Not a Punchline
Jack Whitehall playing gay for laughs is NOT the progress we need— Hazza (@Clarkhf) August 12, 2018