A debate with Riverdale fans on social media prompted Shannon Purser to publicly come out as bisexual late last night.
The 19-year-old actress, who plays Ethel on the CW teen drama, made the reveal after clashing with some viewers about a same-sex kiss between Archie Andrews' two love interests on the show, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes), during cheerleader tryouts. The smooch was immediately written off by another character as "faux-lesbianism," but fans have been eager to see the characters defy the standard heteronormative Archie storyline.
"Ships are great, being horrible to people who don't ship your ship is not," the actress, who famously played fan favorite Barb on Stranger Things, tweeted about the drama.
"And I get that, representation is so powerful and important," she continued. "But we didn't write the show? We have literally no say in what happens. Lemme clarify, not angry at Beronica stans. Not even angry at rightfully upset Beronica stans. Disappointed with hateful people. Peace."
The conflict clearly upset Purser, as she drafted and posted a note about her bisexuality.
"I don't normally do this, but I figure now is just as good a time as any to get personal," she wrote. "I've only just recently come out as bisexual to my family and friends. It's something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don't like talking about it too much.
"I'm very very new to the LGBT community," she continued. "I have never heard the term 'queer-baiting' in my life until today. That being said, I have never ever wanted to alienate anyone and my tweet was thoughtless. I wasn't referring to all the Beronica shippers, just the ones who had been particularly cruel to me personally. Either way, it wasn't a wise or kind thing to say and I'm disappointed in myself, especially as a Christian who has always been taught to speak love to others.
"Thank you to all the people who kindly reached out to me and educated me about the reality [of] your feelings about queer-baiting and I apologize to those who were hurt."