Actor Kit Connor took to his Twitter on Monday and came out as bisexual to his fans after Twitter users accused him of ‘queerbaiting’. The 18-year-old actor plays Nick Nelson in Netflix’s hit show Heartstopper, an uplifting LGBTQ+ drama about teen friendship and young romance. The accusations come after the actor was spotted holding hands with co-star Maia Reficco from his upcoming film A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow.
🎥| Kit Connor e Maia Reficco em Paris… pela roupa dele a gravação parecer ser de ontem. (10/09)
— Kit Connor Brasil 🍂 (@kitcombr) September 11, 2022
As he plays a bisexual character on screen, some fans have speculated about his sexuality for a while. Since the incident, many Twitter users have come to Connor’s defense and criticized the accusers.
But the debacle has once again raised pertinent questions on the idea and ethics of representing queer people on screen. Queerbaiting is a marketing gimmick in fiction and entertainment where creators hint at an LGBTQ+ romance to ‘bait’ audiences, but never actualize it. LGBTQ+ communities have widely criticized the concept, which has been prevalent in entertainment for a while now. But the trouble starts when they accuse real-life public figures of queerbaiting.
Harry Styles is a notable example of the same. His flamboyant persona after his departure from One Direction has gathered controversial attention for this very reason. “In terms of how I wanna dress and what the album sleeve’s gonna be, I tend to make decisions in terms of collaborators I want to work with. I want things to look a certain way. Not because it makes me look gay, or it makes me look straight, or it makes me look bisexual, but because I think it looks cool.” Styles said in an interview with The Guardian.
Many accused Billie Eilish of queerbaiting after she released the music video for her single ‘Lost Cause’. In response to the controversy, she posted a behind-the-scenes photo from the music video with the caption “I love girls.”
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