Ahead of the release of Birds of Prey, there’s been a lot of chatter about the nature of villain Black Mask and his henchman Victor Zsasz’s relationship in the movie. It’s long been believed that Roman Sionis will be depicted as gay, with him possibly having an attraction to Victor. We don’t yet know how exactly they’ll be portrayed in the film, though, so Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina’s comments on the topic at the recent BoP premiere are basically the only thing we’ve got to go on.
When asked if the pair are gay, the duo mostly avoided stating anything outright, with Messina saying that they definitely share a “love of anarchy” and McGregor joking “more than likely.” It’s unclear at this stage whether the actors are simply trying to avoid spoilers, but many online are taking their comments to indicate that Birds of Prey won’t depict the characters as openly gay. And fans aren’t happy about it.
The Lion King star Billy Eichner kickstarted the conversation on Twitter with a two-part response. Sharing Variety’s story on the quotes, he added a rolling eyes emoji. In a follow-up tweet, he said: “Honestly, just say they’re straight. Please. Enough with this have it both ways nonsense. IMAGINE HOW TIRED WE ARE.”
Honestly just say they’re straight. Please. Enough with this have it both ways nonsense. IMAGINE HOW TIRED WE ARE.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) January 24, 2020
A lot of folks concurred with Eichner’s opinion, too, and it seems there are two main problems people are having with this. First is the lack of explicit representation and second, as one fan put it, is “the villainization of gay people in entertainment.”
idk if the ? is bc of their use of ‘probably’ or bc of the villianization of gay people in entertainment. either way i’m on board
— soph’s gf ro (@h8myself1999) January 24, 2020
Yay for gaycoding villains ?
— drew ?✌ (@drawedbernstein) January 24, 2020
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Yay for more baiting! Just what I wanted! Ugh
— ?TrishAshtear? (@TAshtear) January 24, 2020
Honestly… Like wake me up when we've stopped.
— Stephen Broder ?? (@voodoorusty) January 25, 2020
Lord, these studios need to stop with the queer baiting!! #EndQueerBaiting
— Crazy Craig (@CraigPhoenix20) January 25, 2020
As said above, without having seen the movie, we don’t know if these criticisms of its content are accurate yet. Likewise, some were keen to defend McGregor and Messina’s comments, given their context.
This headline is taken so out of context. The interviewer asked if they're gay. They gave other answers, then Ewan basically said sure to move on to the next question on a busy red carpet.
— Ang Ferraguto (@MagnaFarta) January 25, 2020
In any case, it won’t be long until we can make our minds up about how Black Mask and Zsasz are portrayed in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn), as it hits cinemas on February 7th.