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.
Anthony Mackie didn't have to go on a homophobic rant and disappoint me like this, but here we are pic.twitter.com/AV4IeHHfh2
— Μαρία. ? FMA NEWS 12/7 ? (@suhosbunny) June 17, 2021
Wow… @AnthonyMackie saying gay ppl are ruining male friendships during pride month.?
This is just plain homophobic. This show baited the idea of a relationship w/ Sam and Bucky as bi.
You just ruined Sam in every way for so many ppl. Heroes don’t say bigoted ? like this. https://t.co/7R3CZBF2C2
— Tfb-5 (@tfb55555) June 17, 2021
am i tripping or did anthony mackie seem kinda ʰᵒᵐᵒᵖʰᵒᵇⁱᶜ
— kayla ? (@geminiassbitch) June 18, 2021
me reading four paragrpahs of anthony mackie denouncing sambucky shippers ??? like bae there was a way to do that w/o being homophobic ☝? pic.twitter.com/GT7MR1tMbJ
— carole ann (@shawtycaroleann) June 18, 2021
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.
anthony mackie is not homophobic and his stance on sam/bucky is 100% valid as sam is his character and it’s his place as well as ours to pass judgment on his character’s relationships.
— kate (@katieromanoff15) June 17, 2021
if you seriously believe that anthony mackie is homophobic, please educate yourself first. what he said in the variety interview wasn't right, but he's not a fucking homophobe. also, don't take this as an excuse to be racist. (which i think should be clear by now)
— michasartdump (@michasartdump) June 18, 2021
Okay, y'all. Did my listening, my reading and my mulling.
My boy @AnthonyMackie is FAAAR from homophobic. Whole football and baseball fields.
But damn… DAMN… It was hard NOT to wince at some of his words.
I just hope he knows what he said. pic.twitter.com/fCHieBfqBr
— Aunte Mame (@AunteMame) June 18, 2021
Anthony Mackie may have worded what he said terribly, but I better not see any of y'all calling him homophobic
— jen? (@cinephilejen) June 17, 2021
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.