Fans revolt after gay TV character killed off

  • 11 March 2016
Cartoon Image copyright Twitter/@MaryneeLahaye
Image caption Fans orchestrated the online protest to coincide with a new episode of the show.


When a gay character on a popular TV show was killed off, fans orchestrated an enormous online campaign.

"LGBT fans deserve better" was tweeted more than 280,000 times in just a few hours. The hashtag was directed at the makers of The 100, an American post-apocalyptic teen drama. After the character of Lexa - played by Australian actress Alycia Debnam-Carey - was killed shortly after long simmering passions between her and another female character Clarke bubbled over into a kiss.

Minutes after the snog Clexa - as the couple had been jointly dubbed by fans - was no more as Lexa was shot dead.

The kiss and killing took place in an episode broadcast a week ago. In the intervening week outraged fans organised the Twitter campaign to coincide with the next episode, which aired on Thursday night.

Fans accused the programme makers of regressing to an earlier era in entertainment, when a gay character's sexuality often guaranteed they would come to a tragic end on the screen.

Image copyright Twitter/@MaryneeLahaye

"LGBT fans deserve better because after some time it starts being hard to see ourselves die/never get a happy ending," one fan tweeted. Another commented: "How about LGBT storylines that aren't infused with death or heartache."

Image copyright Twitter/@queenvives

As part of the social media campaign fans were also encouraged not to watch the new episode live so ratings would be down. And a hashtag calling for the show to be cancelled was also tweeted more than 10,000 times.

Image copyright Twitter / @lesselke

The campaign wasn't just limited to a twitterstorm, however. Fans promoted a fundraising drive for a suicide prevention charity, The Trevor Project, which is aimed at LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) youth. The drive raised more than $30,000 (£21,000) in just a few hours.

The text on the fundraising page expresses the sense of disappointment and betrayal which some fans feel towards the producers of a show which many had regarded as previously embodying a progressive attitude to the treatment of different sexualities

"This is not something "sorry" can fix. Anyone with any creative control and a literary background has a responsibility to the audience they are so carefully trying to reach," it reads the pitch on the fundraising page. "There is not much we can do in the way of changing what's already been written. What we can do however, is unite to help those who are hurting and despondent through this."

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But the show's producers have defended the plot twist, saying that rather than sexual politics, it was prompted by a much more mundane reason: Debnam-Carey is contracted on another television programme and couldn't continue on The 100. However, few of the aggrieved fans seem to have been appeased by the explanation from The 100's showrunner Jason Rothberg that the actress had to be written out due to her prior commitments to Fear The Walking Dead.

Image copyright Twitter / @debnamcarey
Image caption The actress who played Lexa has thanked fans and the show's producers but has yet to comment on the row over her character's demise.

As for Debnam-Carey herself she has not commented publically on the row but has used her Twitter account to thank the show and its fans and those "who banded together to create an incredible and inspiring character."

Blog by: Mike Wendling

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