NBC have been accused of straight-washing their new drama Rise.
The TV show, inspired by the true story of a gay drama teacher, has received backlash after its producer decided to write the protagonist as a heterosexual family man.
At the Television Critics Association press tour, producer Jason Katims said the rewrite was for him to “connect with the story,” but stated he didn’t want to “shy away from issues of sexuality” and would explore that with other characters.
“We took [the book] as an inspiration, and then I really felt like I needed to make it my own story,” he said.
“With Lou’s family life and Lou’s family itself, there’s a lot of re-imagination. Not just in terms of gay or straight, but in terms of the family structure.”
Based on the 2014 book Drama High, Lou Volpe, a closeted drama teacher who later comes out as gay, attempts to reform school theatre.
However, in NBC’s screen-adaptation Rise, the character portrayed by Josh Radnor will be – you guessed it – straight.
Straight writers turning gay characters straight seems a step backwards in the representation of LGBTQ people, which is a shame considering the number of queer films 2018 is about to bring us.
Unsurprisingly, people took to Twitter to express their frustration.
Thank God we finally have someone brave enough to tell the story of a straight figure. I will never watch this trash.
— The Ides of Starch (@bsj1983) January 11, 2018
— TheOUTFront (@TheOUTFront) January 10, 2018
If you’re a straight writer who can’t write a gay character, maybe the character isn’t the one who needs to change. Gay writers have written straight characters since they were doing it in pictographs. pic.twitter.com/R81Ok1ssyy
— Jeremy C. Fox (@JeremyCFox) January 10, 2018
Words Liam Gilliver