Nickelodeon is celebrating Pride Month in a big way this year by spotlighting characters and actors who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. SpongeBob SquarePants was included in the brand’s tweet, and the internet is ecstatic.
On Saturday morning, Nickelodeon tweeted, “Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month.”
With it, the brand featured three photos illustrated by Ramzy Masri. Korra, who identifies as Queer, from Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel The Legend Of Korra, is included alongside Henry Danger actor Michael D. Cohen, who is Transgender.
The third photo is a rainbow-centric illustration of SpongeBob. Many assumed Nickelodeon is confirming past speculation that SpongeBob is gay. However, his sexuality isn’t included in the new post, but late creator Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away in 2018, has addressed it in the past.
In 2002, Hillenburg clarified that SpongeBob is not gay but rather asexual.
“Everybody is different, and the show embraces that,” he explained. “The character SpongeBob is an oddball. He’s kind of weird, but he’s kind of special. I always think of them as being somewhat asexual.”
In 2005, Hillenburg addressed SpongeBob’s sexuality once again after conservative Christian activist groups claimed that his friendship with Patrick Starfish was exploiting a homosexual lifestyle.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with what we’re trying to do,” Hillenburg said. “We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual. We’re just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show.”
You can see Nickelodeon’s post below.
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) June 13, 2020