Hollywood is no saint. Though film aficionados would feel empty inside without the crowning jewel of the entertainment industry, La La Land’s uncouth reputation certainly precedes it. Over the years, for all the cinematic perfection that it’s delivered to audiences all around the world, there has been a fair share of questionable antics and choices—especially in terms of its stance on political correctness (with which it is often associated).
When it comes to portraying controversial beliefs, Hollywood has hit some hurdles over the years, and when it comes to how they treat the LGBTQ community, they have’t necessarily been solid champions. Despite what your gut might be telling you. And, to be fair, television hasn’t exactly been a through-and-through advocate, either. So, on all sides, sensitivity is hardly given its due.
Say what you will about film and television seemingly acting the part of the PC Police, but this industry isn’t completely without faults. And though the world has certainly come a long way in terms of its “gay friendliness,” Hollywood needs to check itself before it wrecks itself. And if you want to see where exactly they’ve slipped up, keep reading to check out the 15 Most Homophobic Moments In Kids Movies And TV Shows.
15. Deleted Scene – Back To The Future
In Back to the Future, Marty McFly is your classic “Average Joe” hero. Even though his life choices aren’t always completely defendable (purple underwear, a vest/jean jacket combo), he’s your classic ’80s luminary. Sure, he almost erases the existence of his siblings, but what’s a solid time travel flick without some heavy stakes?
All that aside though, had the film kept a particular deleted scene in the final cut, Marty might have been interpreted in a much more homophobic light. Despite the fact that he’s just discovered that something as mind-blowing as time travel exists, the biggest worry on his mind is that—gasp!—he might be gay.
In fact, that’s literally what he says to Doc: “You know, this is the kind of thing that could screw me up permanently. What if I go back to the future and end up being… gay?” Yikes.
14. The Steel Mill – The Simpsons
Homer Simpson has always been a solid father to his two kids, Bart and Lisa (even when he’s too busy napping on the couch or scarfing down donuts), but every so often, he slips up. Like the time, for example, when he brought Bart to a steel mill to show him what “real men” look like.
In the episode “Homer’s Phobia,” Homer is worried that his gay neighbor might inspire his son to be gay—by sheer proximity. So, in order to “fix the problem,” he believes that introducing him to stereotypically masculine figures might reel him away from homosexuality.
What happens instead is the exact opposite, with the millworkers being portrayed as gay stereotypes. Now, even though the point of the episode was meant to stand in defense of the LGBTQ community, the stereotypes in this scene were crude and unnecessary.
13. Grossed Out By The Trans Reveal – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
The big twist at the end of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective isn’t just the fact that Sean Young’s Lt. Lois Einhorn is the villain, but that she is a he. And in one of the more insensitive displays of homophobia (especially from someone like Jim Carrey, who’s always seemed to be someone of the forward-thinking persuasion), Ace discovers that Einhorn was a man who underwent a sex change operation, and ends up unapologetically repulsed.
Now, Ace is hardly painted as a character ripe with very much tact, but still… when a minority group is doing their best to weave themselves into a wider range of social acceptance, calling them out as the butt of a lame joke is more than a little unfair. It’s a cheap laugh at best—assuming you even found it funny in the first place.
12. Gay Panic – Escape From Planet Earth
Escape from Planet Earth is one of those “come and go” movies in terms of their shelf life in an audience’s collective memory. It’s an animated kids movie that reverses the whole alien invasion concept; instead of extraterrestrials trying to invade Earth, they’re trying to escape it.
Why anyone felt the need to force some homophobic angles into the story is anyone’s guess, but it happens all the same. While the jokes themselves are weak on their own merits, the context makes it even worse. During its 90 minute runtime, the movie’s writers felt the need—for whatever reason—to weave “gay panic” around some of the characters (that ultimately goes over a younger audience’s head anyway), adding nothing to the script but what could only be rationalized as projected insecurity.
11. Homos And Cat Heads – Monster Squad
In The Monster Squad, screenwriters Shane Black and Fred Dekker (who also directed) weren’t holding back in the slightest when it came to giving their cast of adolescent boys realistically age-appropriate dialogue. As they say, boys will be boys. However, that doesn’t mean that they needed to shoehorn some blatantly homophobic line into their dialogue that painted gay men in a negative light.
After a visit with their principal—and just before bumping into the cat-like Mrs. Carlsen—leader of the Monster Squad, Sean (played by Andre Gower), says, “I mean, when they send you to school, why don’t they tell you about the homos and the people with cat heads?”
10. Quite A Few Moments – Friends
At its core, Friends is hardly a mean-spirited sitcom. That said, though, it definitely isn’t without its flaws. In fact, even when it seems light and approachable, there is a noticeable rough-around-the-edges sensibility that’s tough to ignore. Especially when it comes to a handful of homophobic moments through the series’ run.
Whether it has to do with Ross (David Schwimmer) losing it over the fact that his current girlfriend is hanging out with his ex-wife’s wife or worrying that his son is playing with a Barbie, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) assuming that a guy who was using her had to have been gay, considering that he threw “great Academy Award parties” and happens to be a figure skater, or Monica (Courteney Cox) inquiring about whether or not Joey (Matt LeBlanc) is gay yet once he starts taking dance lessons — this series certainly had a few questionable bits.
9. Thor The “Homo” – Adventures In Babysitting
Adventures in Babysitting tackles some fairly brazen thematic elements, despite the fact that it’s a kid’s movie. It puts children into legitimate peril, and though audiences are well aware that nothing too traumatic is going to happen to them (what with the PG rating and all), the stakes are unquestionably high.
However, this flick really crosses the line between kid-oriented and body inappropriate when one of the characters casually drops a homophobic slur—against Thor, the god of thunder, no less.
Right from the get-go, it’s made clear that the young sister, Sara, is an unapologetic Thor enthusiast. She has the winged helmet to prove it. And in a classic case of sibling teasing, her older brother Brad continuously calls Thor a “homo,” furthering the diss by upgrading it to a “complete homo.” Whatever that means.
8. Outing A Trans Person – Crocodile Dundee
In no scene whatsoever throughout the entire runtime of Crocodile Dundee does Paul Hogan’s Australian stereotype let his masculine guard down. This man is textbook male (that is, textbooks written anytime pre-21st century), so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he would partake in some questionably non-PC behavior.
Still, though, that shouldn’t excuse him for calling out a trans person in the film—and then going so far as to berate them under the guise of family-friendly humor.
After finding out that a woman he’s been talking to in a bar is actually a trans woman, he goes so far as to physically grab her crotch, whereupon he announces the “gut-buster” of a line: “That was a guy dressed up like a sheila!”
7. Several Scenes – Meet The Spartans
When it comes to cash-grabs in the entertainment industry, Hollywood runs the gamut. Movies will be released from time-to-time that don’t seem to have very much entertainment value, and yet, they exist all the same.
Writer/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are especially guilty of crafting films within this realm. They’re the duo behind such films as Epic Movie, Date Movie, Disaster Movie… You know, the bread and butter of cinema. And though these gents haven’t ever really been ones for tact, they go especially low in their 300 spoof movie Meet the Spartans, where they take numerous jabs at gay stereotypes as a means to a cheap laugh.
6. Picking Out Curtains – Aladdin
Aladdin is an innocent enough kid’s movie, and the wish-granting Genie (voiced by Robin Williams) is especially good-natured. That said, he has been living under a rock for quite a long time, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that his consideration for people from all walks of life isn’t exactly fine-tuned.
Throughout the movie, he and Aladdin become best buds. They’re each other’s partner-in-crime, and it’s clear to see (despite the fact that Genie is technically bound by natural law to Aladdin) that their friendship is as endearing as it is worth enduring. But of course, Disney had to make a gay joke about these two men being close, with Genie saying to Aladdin, regarding how fond of him he is, “Not that I wanna pick out curtains or anything.”
5. Disney’s “Gay” Villains – Various Disney Movies
When it comes to its villains, Disney tends to take an odd approach. From Prince John in Robin Hood to Scar in The Lion King, Disney’s villains tend to be based around a exhausting list of gay stereotypes. Sassy, dramatic, effeminate, and owners of what is described as the “gay voice” in David Thorpe’s documentary Do I Sound Gay?
Even VICE tackled this bizarre connection, going so far as to argue that Disney seems to go out of its way to make its villains seem gay—helping kids draw parallels between the fact that only heteros can be heroes.
If you go back and explore some older Disney animated movies, you may notice that characters like Shere Khan from The Jungle Book, Jafar from Aladdin, and Ratcliffe from Pocahontas all share strangely similar characteristics… which also happen to be rooted in cheap gay stereotypes.
4. “Nelly Wafer” – Wreck-It Ralph
Speaking of Disney villains, we can’t just point fingers at older releases, because 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph is just as guilty. In the film, our titular hero is an all-around genuine, albeit digital, guy. But when he’s facing off against his nemesis, he gets a bit nasty, using a dated gay slur as his way to throw shade at the baddie, King Candy.
Specifically, he called King Candy a “nelly wafer.”
At first, it just seems like a reference to Nilla Wafers (if you want to diss a guy whose life revolves around candy, reference cookies), but the term “nelly” isn’t quite as innocent as it seems. In fact, The Huffington Post’s Chis Bogia did some digging of his very own and displayed the definition online for all to see: “Offensive Slang: Used as a disparaging term for an effeminate homosexual man.”
3. Calling Each Other “Fags” – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Most kids who grew up in the ’90s are more than familiar with the tubular duo that was Bill and Ted. They traveled through time and faced off against android versions of themselves, but in their first film together, the two take an arbitrary turn towards blatant homophobia, and all because they went so far as to hug each other.
Careful not to show any affection towards each other that might be confused as sexual feelings, they both pull away from the hug, stare at each other, and yell, “Fag!” You know, just to be safe.
For the most part, these two characters are perfectly likable, so having them force out this awkward homophobic slur seems beyond-shoehorned. Just let them enjoy each other’s friendship without making it weird.
2. “Predatory Gay” – Glee
Glee painted itself as a very pro-LGBTQ series when it aired on Fox, and for the most part, it was. Created by Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story), who is openly gay, the series regularly tackled issues dealing with gay and trans characters who didn’t always fit in. That said, it also wasn’t afraid of pushing limits—even when it really should have just stopped while it was ahead.
It’s one thing to be so confident in your pro-acceptance that you think you can make casual jokes at an already heavily-ridiculed community’s expense, but there are limits. For example, referring to a character as “Predatory Gay,” which is exactly what the show did with William McKinley High’s former Glee Club teacher, Sandy Ryerson.
And not taking this as a joke isn’t about being sensitive, it’s about not understanding the purpose of comparing gay men to predators in a mainstream show that’s taken such a strong stand in favor of the LGBTQ crowd. May as well take two steps forward and one step back.
1. “I’m Not A Fag, I’m A Werewolf” – Teen Wolf
According to the 1985 comedy Teen Wolf, you’re better off being a werewolf than gay. At least, that’s what’s implied when Michael J. Fox’s Scott has a sort of “coming out” moment to his friend. He’s trying to find the right words to explain his situation, and after stumbling over his way towards an explanation, his friend blurts out, “Are you gonna tell me you’re a fag? Because if you’re gonna tell me you’re a fag, I don’t think I can handle it.”
With his masculinity on the line, Scott backs off awkwardly, insisting that he’s not a fag, but a werewolf. Because that’s so much better, right? God forbid someone is attracted to the same sex, but let’s put out the welcome wagon for a full-blown monster transformation and human flesh buffets.
Do you think this post hits the nail on the homophobic head, or are some of these examples nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking? Let us know in the comments.
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