As an LGBTQ+ fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’m feeling a little dismissed by the actors of my favorite franchise right now. Somehow, since Chris Pratt is kind to them, his support of discriminatory institutions is no big deal.
The issues many people have with Chris Pratt go back to early 2019. Elliot Page publicly called him out for his support of an anti-LGBTQ+ church, which was the first many of us had heard of this issue. He tried to state that the accusations aren’t true and that his church is open to everyone, but that’s simply not true.
The Zoe Church publicly urged its members to vote against same-sex marriage and has associations with a documentary that implies queer people are broken. Ex-members of the church even came out against Pratt for trying to say the church is LGBTQ+ friendly with their own stories. And, while they may welcome members of the LGBTQ+ community to attend services, they limit their involvement in church leadership. Singer Miley Cyrus also claimed that a related church (part of the Hillsong Church denomination) supports conversion therapy.
But the issues with Pratt’s views go even further than that. He follows several notorious right-wing commentators and politicians on his Twitter account, including Ben Shapiro, Turning Point USA, Tucker Carlson, Nikki Haley, and Congressman Dan Crenshaw.
While one errant follow of a personality who has offensive views might be a fluke, following at least five that frequently peddle hatred and post right-wing propaganda as their primary content feels like a rather pointed endorsement. He clearly enjoyed these personalities enough to give them a follow, which means, on some level, this is content he either agrees with, or he doesn’t take issue with enough to hit that unfollow button.
And then there’s the whole thing where he dismissed the urgency of this upcoming election with a poorly conceived joke. Had his homophobic church and questionable followers not been a thing, I may have just assumed this was poorly timed and that he didn’t read the room well, but it’s rather jarring when the above is taken into account. To him, it can be a joke, because the stakes aren’t all that high from his position of privilege as a wealthy cis straight man.
A few days ago all of this got dragged back to the surface when somebody posted a “which Chris has to go” style meme to Twitter. People overwhelmingly voted for Pratt. So much so that his name trended on Twitter for the better part of a day. It was an uncomfortable walk down memory lane for those of us who found out about his association with the homophobic church almost two years ago, but many people were learning about it for the first time.
And that was that. We could move on until he did something else to remind us of his anti-LGBTQ+ associations.
But things have been kicked up a notch as of today. I was ready to enjoy the Voters Assemble event, which had a lot of politically active MCU cast members alongside Senator Kamala Harris in an effort to raise money for the Biden Victory Fund. My mind was focused on the MCU cast members that had my back, and not the one that supported those who seek to take away my rights. It looked to be a fantastic event!
Unfortunately, a couple of hours before the event began, Pratt’s fellow MCU cast-members started to defend him on social media and it all started going to Hell.
First up was Mark Ruffalo…
You all, @prattprattpratt is as solid a man there is. I know him personally, and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overtly political as a rule. This is a distraction. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, friends. We are so close now.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 20, 2020
Then James Gunn…
Sorry. Just finding out about this nonsense. @prattprattpratt is the best dude in the world. I’ve spent hours & hours sharing my deepest truths with this man, as he has with me. Please stop assuming what he believes, politically or in any other way, because he’s a Christian. https://t.co/XSIgU9WemX
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 20, 2020
Then Robert Downey Junior…
View this post on Instagram
What a world… The “sinless” are casting stones at my #brother, Chris Pratt… A real #Christian who lives by #principle, has never demonstrated anything but #positivity and #gratitude… AND he just married into a family that makes space for civil discourse and (just plain fact) INSISTS on service as the highest value. If you take issue with Chris,,, I’ve got a novel idea. Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of #character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness… @prattprattpratt I #gotyerbackbackback
RDJ’s “delete your social media” jab is particularly brutal. And quite appalling. Especially when this is aimed at people from the LGBTQ+ community whom often find a supportive community online when they may be lacking it in real life.
It doesn’t matter to them that he belongs to a homophobic church or follows right-wing propagandists who openly support initiatives that strip my rights away. Many of these pundits support the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, who has pretty severe anti-LGBTQ+ views and dodges any questions about how she could potentially rule on related cases.
Whether Chris Pratt supports that same view, I’m not sure, but these follows imply that denying me rights as a queer American is either something Pratt agrees with, or can simply brush aside.
But Chris Pratt is nice to them, so his tacit support of institutions that actively harm marginalized and vulnerable people is just a thing that RDJ, Ruffalo, and Gunn can ignore. At the end of the day, they probably just see it as a difference in political opinion and can move on because he’s ‘nice.’ What a privilege that must be!
It’s not that easy for the rest of us, unfortunately. These are our lives on the line. We can’t just ignore it and accept friends who support these institutions. To us, this isn’t just a difference of opinion. These groups deny us our humanity.
I feel like I’m being thrown under the bus here. Celebrities springing into action to defend their anti-LGBTQ+ associated friend makes me feel pretty betrayed. But I shouldn’t be surprised. These stances aren’t an overt threat to them. They can still do things like the Voters Assemble event and pat themselves on the back for a political job well done while turning around and telling their LGBTQ+ fans to ‘delete’ their social media accounts because they dared to speak up about the unjust institutions their friend supports.
And I bet that thought didn’t even cross their mind, because, at the end of the day, they’re privileged enough that this isn’t a deal-breaker.
He’s nice, after all.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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