In what is sadly the least surprising thing to happen on the Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness press tour, the film’s star Xochitl Gomez has become the target of online harassment. The 16-year-old, who previously starred in Netflix’s The Baby-Sitter’s Club, faces the abuse of the toxic fandom movies about inter-dimensional magicians inspires. The reason? In one scene, it’s revealed that Xochitl’s character, America Chavez, is the child of two women. Previously, the film was banned in Saudi Arabia for having a gay character, the dimension-hopping America is coded as queer in the movie but is canonically gay in the Marvel mythos.
Anyway, because we live in a sick, cruel, and discriminatory society, where personal freedom really only matters if it’s illogically thrown around as a bad-faith talking point, Gomez is facing the ire of the internet for daring to play a gay character. Not that she’s bothered by it. In fact, she’s defiantly proud of the role (which she should be—she’s excellent in the movie).
“It’s a big deal that America is in this movie. It’s just huge. And I’m just so happy that Marvel has stuck to it and kept the scene in there,” Gomez told Asia One (via Variety). “And it’s just pretty crazy that I get to be the one who plays America. Although, yes, my name may be circled within hate and stuff but it’s okay.”
One person who was none too pleased to hear about the harassment is the great Benedict Wong, who plays “Wong” in the two Doctor Stange movies and various MCU adventures. “It’s not okay. It’s not okay. We have to all collectively understand that,” he said. “She auditioned aged 13 and she joined us aged 14, one of the youngest actors to join the MCU of a film of that magnitude. You know, she’s just a young girl playing her role and full praise for that.”
“There’s a real level of shame for all those trolls that are cowards not to actually put their face [out there], and they should feel a deep shame of what they’re doing. Let’s all just play nice. Let’s all just enjoy what we are representing. It’s sad that fans in that country won’t get to see this. But all we are doing is radiating representation, voicing the voiceless. And that’s all that we can do — represent people so that they can be seen.”
Again, these are movies about inter-dimensional magicians with sentient capes and funny goatees. Maybe we can tone down the homophobia.