Actor Benedict Wong recently defended his “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” co-star Xochitl Gomez from online homophobia.
In the “Doctor Strange” sequel, Wong reprises his role as the mystical warrior Wong, while Gomez plays the multiverse-hopping America Chavez, who is a lesbian.
The film, which hit international theaters on May 5, faced screening bans in some Gulf countries due its LGBTQ-plus content. Marvel Studios recently made headlines for refusing to remove LGBTQ-plus content to appease censors in Saudi Arabia. In addition to America’s sexuality, the film also references her two mothers. The 16-year-old star has since received vitriol on social media following the film’s ban in some countries.
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During an interview with AsiaOne, Gomez commended Marvel for not giving in to the censors’ demands.
“It’s a big deal that America is in this movie,” she was quoted as saying. “It’s just huge. And I’m just so happy that Marvel has stuck to it and kept the scene in there. 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,” she added.
Wong immediately responded, saying, “It’s not OK. It’s not OK. We have to all collectively understand that … 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.”
“So there’s a real level of shame for all those trolls that are cowards not to actually put their face on, 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,” Wong continued. “It’s sad that fans in that country won’t get to see this as yet. 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.”
Gomez, who admitted that she initially brushed off negative comments, revealed that she has recently regained access to her TikTok, which was banned for unclear reasons.
“I got my TikTok back and I posted a TikTok because I know that I do have a very strong, young following,” she said. “So I thought it was only right to post a TikTok of [me saying] nothing can break me down, I’m going to stay strong, just keep going because it’s very important for young teenagers to have a positive person to look up to.”
In “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” Wong and Gomez star alongside Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch.