Jungle Cruise will reportedly feature the first major gay character in a Disney film. However, there is controversy around the casting as the character will be played by Jack Whitehall, a straight man.
Whitehall announced on Instagram that he will be joining the cast alongside Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in the film based on the Disney theme park ride.
Whitehall will play Blunt’s brother, who according to a report by The Sun, is “a gay man – one who is hugely effete, very camp and very funny.”
Consequently, many people are outraged that Disney reportedly cast a straight man to play the first major character who is openly gay in a film.
— Omar Sharif Jr. (@OmarSharifJr) August 13, 2018
— Callum Jackson (@cjjackson93) August 13, 2018
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
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
Um, @DisneyMovies … I’m all about the first openly gay Disney character being a part of The Jungle Cruise. And @jackwhitehall is great. But, there are a lot of gay actors that can play this groundbreaking role. I’m very disappointed in this.
— Nikki Giancola (@nikkig5) August 13, 2018
Some people also are relating the situation to a recent controversy with Scarlett Johansson. Johansson was set to play a character who is transgender in Rub And Tug, but left the film due to backlash.
cc: scarlett johansson https://t.co/NoPofpflp8
— Izaha Akins (@izahaakins) August 13, 2018
I love Jack Whitehall and it’s great that they’re making an openly gay Disney character. But why is he being played by a straight man when gay men aren’t allowed to play straight men? This is Scarlett Johansson all over again. https://t.co/UwTKoptRUO
— Hayley Minn (@hayleyminn) August 13, 2018
.@Disney casting Jack Whitehall (straight white guy) as Disney’s first openly gay character is about as tone deaf as it gets. With the recent backlash with Scarlett Johansson (and more recently, along another vein, Ruby Rose) when will Hollywood (the rest of the world) wake up?
— Tanner Gill (@tannaurus) August 13, 2018
Disney nor Whitehall have confirmed that his character is gay.
If this is confirmed, it will not actually be the first gay character in a Disney film, as LeFou in Beauty And The Beast was gay. However, Whitehall’s character would be the first major character to be gay.
Jungle Cruise is set to be released October 2019.