Anthony Mackie Under Fire After Blasting Sam/Bucky Shipping

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Image via Marvel Studios

Probably the most popular aspect of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was what’s commonly called the “bromance” between Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, with the two heroes going from uneasy allies to best pals over the course of the season. Plus, countless fans are hoping the dynamic duo will become even closer in future MCU projects as they believe the pair have romantic chemistry. Someone who doesn’t “ship” the pair, though, is star Anthony Mackie. And he’s coming under fire online for his heated comments on the topic.

While speaking to Variety, Mackie denied that Sam and Bucky have a bromance, instead calling them “two guys who have each other’s backs.” The actor went on to say it’s a “problem” that the “exploitation of homosexuality” has made it impossible for platonic male friendships to be depicted on screen. Here’s his full quote:

“The idea of two guys being friends and loving each other in 2021 is a problem because of the exploitation of homosexuality. It used to be guys can be friends, we can hang out, and it was cool. You can’t do that anymore because something as pure and beautiful as homosexuality has been exploited by people who are trying to rationalize themselves.”

Marvel fans have been left stunned by Mackie’s strong words, leading to him receiving a lot of backlash on social media, with accusations of homophobia being directed his way.

On the other hand, many are also defending Mackie against these homophobia accusations, even if it seems that everyone, even his defenders, are in agreement that his comments were poorly worded at best.

Mackie’s comments are in pretty stark contrast to co-star Sebastian Stan, who has revealed he’s open to Sam and Bucky becoming an item in the future if that’s what Marvel wants. With Falcon director Kari Skogland playing down talk of the duo being in love, however, fans may be losing hope that this is something that’s going to happen. It certainly sounds like Anthony Mackie would rather the pair remain just friends.