Okay hear me out: the critical role cast has some issues when it comes to lgbt+ representation & interacting with fans.
I know it’s easy to look at fans being upset over Marisha’s comments about Keyleth’s sexuality & think fans are “demanding”, “asking too much”, “intruding on a private game”. These are all accusations I’ve seen in the last 24 hours. It’s important to remember that this has all come up because Marisha was joking about f/f attraction on the stream. She has Keyleth say she wanted to see Vex’s breasts and it spiraled from there.
Fans are reacting to this because Keyleth being bi/questioning/etc will remove the sting of this conversation.
Confirming a character as exploring something other than heterosexuality (however badly it’s done) is still better than using other sexualities as a punchline.
And the critical role cast does this. It does this a lot. Here are a few from the top of my head:
- the purposeful misgendering of raishan (mainly by sam)
- grog’s ‘boyfriend’
- scanlan’s many, many jokes about sex with men*
- laura’s whole ‘haha maybe vex will get a gf ;) jk she’s been in love with percy this whole time’
- hell, vax’s romance with gilmore started off as liam trying to flirt the price of goods down. to his credit he committed to it for a while, but then he followed the bisexual trope of finding the ‘right’ person of a different sex and choosing them instead.
*sam had been joking about scanlan and men for months before finally discussing the topic seriously on twitter. even then he just said “not 100% heterosexual”. it’s progress, but there’s still a way to go
“but emma, they have good intentions! you have to be patient and respectful of the cast!” my dudes i dont have to respect someone who treats the representation of my community like a novelty shirt they can wear for a day and take off later. i know they’re trying, i know they’re learning, but they still need to apologize when they make a mistake. no one is asking for blood, folks.
This could have been avoided (or certainly at least reduced) if Marisha hadn’t initially been so evasive on twitter. the unwillingness to confirm anything read as Marisha wanting to continue the trend of joking about lgbt+ representation. it was a dismissal.
i love Marisha, god knows i defend her until i’m red in the face, but no one gets a universal pass. she’s an adult and she knew she upset people. it wouldn’t have cost her anything to tweet something like “hey i didn’t think about keyleth’s speech last night and i’m sorry that it came across as a cheap joke. i’d like to explore keyleth’s sexuality more & this will take time bc she’s inexperienced. please bear with me as both she and i figure this out”
that’s literally all she needed to do.
the cast struggles when it comes to apologizing to the lgbt+ community. we just need to look at how they handled the situation with j’mon’s misgendering. matt actually used the “dont get mad at your allies” speech, something i know a lot of us (myself included) have heard before. again, mistakes are going to happen. people slip up, we know this, but you still apologize for mistakes. you dont get to say “hm i dont think what i did caused you any harm”. you have to step back and say “oh i upset you? that wasnt my intention and i’m very sorry for that. this is new to me and i hope i will do better in the future”
-this isn’t a private game anymore. this is a show that many of us pay money to access. that doesn’t give us the right to make demands, but it does give us the right to ask that our sexuality and gender aren’t treated as a joke. it gives us the right to ask a cast member if they were serious when they flirted with the idea of their character not being straight.
-the problem isn’t that keyleth is questioning. the problem is that the cast has a tendency to joke about these things and then never return to it, as if lgbt+ representation is a tap you can turn on or off. (sam is the only exception i can think of, but again that wasn’t confirmed on screen.) minority groups shouldn’t be treated like this.
-it’s not entitlement to ask that your sexuality isn’t a punchline. it’s not demanding to ask for clarification. it’s not asking too much for an apology.
if straight actors dont want to seriously consider non-heterosexual orientations, then they dont get to make jokes about sexuality.