Benedict Wong defends teen star “Doctor Strange” against homophobic harassment

Surely, in some other universe a teenager is not subjected to online abuse by adult fans of a superhero franchise.

But alas, in this constantly disappointing, the sixteen-year-old star of “Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness”, Xochitl Gomez, became the target of a harassment campaign due to LGBTQ references to her character in the upcoming blockbuster.

Gomez plays the multiverse America Chavez in wonder followed, that was banned in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere after Disney refused to cut the young superhero’s dialogue referencing her lesbian mothers. The character is canonically lesbian in the film’s original comic material.

“It’s a big deal that America is in this movie. It is simply huge. And I’m so happy that Marvel stuck to that and kept the scene there, ”Gomez said Asia One during a recent press tour interview. “And it’s just crazy that I can be the one who plays America. Although yes, my name can be circled between hate and things like that, but that’s okay. “

When Benedict Wong, who plays the sorcerer Wong in the film franchise, heard his young co-star was on the verge of social media vitriol, he stepped in to defend her.

“Not good. Not good,” Wong said “without missing a beat,” according to Asia One. “We all have to understand this collectively. … She auditioned at age 13 and she joined us at age 14, one of the youngest actors to join the MCU of a film of this magnitude. You know, she’s just a young girl who plays her role and praise for that. “

“There is a real level of shame to all those trolls who are cowards not to really put their face on [out there]and they should feel a deep shame for what they are doing, ”Wong added. “We all play well. Let’s all enjoy what we are representing. It’s sad that fans in that country can’t see it. But all we are doing is radiating representation, giving voice to the voiceless. And that’s all we can do: represent people so they can be seen. “

For the past few weeks, Gomez’s Instagram has been flooded with messages from trolls lashing out at the studio’s decision not to eliminate LGBTQ content from the film. Many personally blamed the actor.

The sequel to “Doctor Strange” is not the first Marvel film to face challenges overseas. The 2021 study “The Eternals” was extracted from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait during a kiss between Brian Tree Henry’s character Phastos and her on-screen husband played by Haaz Sleiman, the first gay liplock in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Despite the backlash, Gomez said she is immensely proud of becoming the first Latin LGBTQ superhero in the ever-expanding and diversifying film franchise.

“I understand that some lands have certain rules and I live in a country where our rules are those of inclusion,” said Gomez. Deadline to the premiere this week. “And we will continue to fight for inclusion in every place, city and state so that any child who is not seen can at least see a little of who they can become.”