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Comic Riffs

Ruby Rose leaves Twitter after criticism that she isn’t ‘gay enough’ for Batwoman

August 13, 2018 at 3:16 PM

Ruby Rose at the Los Angeles premiere of “The Meg” on Aug. 6. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

SOME CORNERS of Twitter and Instagram are criticizing actors who have been cast to play gay characters on screen — leading one of them to abandon a platform.

Over the weekend, Australian actress Ruby Rose quit Twitter and shut down public commenting on her Instagram account after receiving backlash over her being cast as Batwoman for Greg Berlanti’s series of Arrowverse shows on the CW. Part of the furor centered on representation of the DC Comics superhero, who is a lesbian.

Before abandoning Twitter, Rose got in a few final tweets about the negative reaction to her casting.

“Where on Earth did ‘Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can’t be Batwoman’ come from — has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read,” tweeted the actress, whose casting was announced last week. “I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with ‘she’s too gay’ how do y’all flip it like that?

“I didn’t change. I wish we would all support each other and our journeys,” added Rose, who recounted last year to NBC’s “Today” her experience of coming out as gay at 12 and having identified as gender-fluid.

Arrowverse colleague Stephen Amell, who stars on the CW’s “Arrow,” was among those who tweeted his support of the former “Orange Is the New Black” actress.

Other online commenters addressed the criticisms that Rose was “not gay enough” because she has identified as gender-fluid, as well as the fact that Rose is not Jewish. In 2006, DC Comics canonically reintroduced Batwoman (a.k.a. Kate Kane) to its modern universe as a character who is lesbian and of Jewish descent.

Much of the backlash huddled around the hashtag #RecastBatwoman, with some commenters wanting to see “Big Legend” actress Ashley Platz get the role.

Rose will debut as Batwoman during the Arrowverse’s crossover event — including “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and “Supergirl” — that’s set to begin in December. She will then assume the Bat-mantle as the first LGBT superhero to lead a live-action TV show.

Batwoman Kate Kane. (The CW/)

Last week, Rose wrote on Instagram to her nearly 13 million followers: “This is a childhood dream. This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on TV and felt alone and different.” The post has received more than 400,000 likes.

Rose also tweeted that she is taking a “break from Twitter to focus all my energy on my next 2 projects.” Over the weekend, Rose was widely seen in another Warner Bros. property, “The Meg,” which topped the box office with a $44 million domestic debut.

“If you need me,” Rose tweeted, “I’ll be on my Bat Phone.”

Ruby Rose (second from left) currently stars as Jaxx in the new hit film “The Meg,” starring Jason Statham, center. (Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Rose is just the latest celebrity in a geek-world project to quit a social-media platform. “Rick and Morty” creator Dan Harmon recently quit Twitter after a controversy over past content. “Star Wars” actresses Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley quit Instagram after receiving online backlash.

Rose’s controversy was followed by the news that Disney has cast a straight actor, British comedian Jack Whitehall, to play its first major openly gay live-action character, as the Times reported.

Whitehall will star opposite Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in “Jungle Cruise.”

British actor Ethan Harvey reflected the sentiment of some critics when he criticized the casting on Twitter: “If only there were gay actors who could play ‘camp’ as well as Jack Whitehall.”

Read more:

‘Rick and Morty’ creator Dan Harmon deletes Twitter account as culture wars heat up online

Kelly Marie Tran deleted her Instagram posts. Is it tied to harassment of Star Wars actresses?


Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the Comic Riffs column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Washington Post's Book World.

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