Marvel’s first openly gay superhero, and his family, has a new adversary on the horizon – One Million Moms (OMM). The OMM group has also asked Disney+ to remove its first gay short film, Out, from the streaming service.
The Eternals, based on characters created by Jack Kirby, is the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is scheduled for a February 2021 release. The film takes place after the events in Avengers: Endgame. Marvel had announced that the film will have the first gay superhero in the MCU – Phastos – portrayed on screen by actor Bryan Tyree Henry.
From media reports, it looks like the queer representation in MCU will not be a token one. Phastos will share a same sex kiss on screen and will be shown in a rainbow family, with his husband and child. Haaz Sleiman, who plays Phastos’ husband told Logo earlier this year, “I just shot a Marvel film with the first openly gay superhero. I’m married to the gay superhero Phastos, played by Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry, and we represent a gay family and have a child.”
Not surprisingly One Million Moms, an arm of the US-based Christian fundamentalist organisation American Family Organisation, is outraged. OMM, on its website, is asking people to sign a petition to Marvel Studios “stating that your family will not watch the film The Eternals since its inclusion of an openly gay superhero goes against your beliefs and values.”
OMM has had a busy few months recently calling for a boycott of Disney for “promoting sin.” This year so far, Disney has featured a lesbian character in its film Onward and gay dads in Ducktales. Most recently, Pixar recently released the gay short film Out which follows Greg as he struggles to come out to his family.
“Disney has increased its inclusion of LGBTQ characters in supporting roles. Christian families have noticed the increase and spoken out about it,” OMM said.
Disney’s portrayal of LGBTQI characters has been welcomed by the community.
“Out represents the best of Disney and Pixar’s legacy as a place for heartwarming stories about finding one’s own inner strength in the face of life’s challenges,” Jeremy Blacklow, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Media said.
“The release of Out on Disney+ represents a huge step forward for The Walt Disney Company in establishing itself as a welcoming home for stories about all loving couples and families, including LGBTQI ones. GLAAD is thrilled to see Out’s debut today on Disney+ and we’re excited about its power to further LGBTQI acceptance for Disney fans around the world,” added Blacklow.