Former Orange is the New Black star Ruby Rose is set to make history as the first small screen portrayal of Batwoman and her alter-ego Kate Kane, an out lesbian. Yet, instead of celebrating a milestone for the LGBTQ community, fans have aggressively nitpicked Rose's casting on social media — so much so that the Meg actress has left Twitter because of it.
Rose, 32, is slated to portray Batwoman on the CW's annual Arrowverse crossover, which would combine characters from The CW's Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Arrow, and The Flash. After news of Rose's casting broke, the Pitch Perfect 3 star received a flood of backlash. Some believed that Batwoman should not be portrayed as a lesbian. (Kate Kane was introduced as a lesbian in the comics in 2006.) Yet it wasn't just these people who had issue with this casting. Many fans on Twitter shared the sentiment that Rose wasn't gay enough to play the character, and still others were angry that Rose was not Jewish, as the character in the comics is.
Shortly before leaving Twitter, Rose responded to the latter accusations, specifically, on the social media platform. Per The Hollywood Reporter:
"Where on earth did 'Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can't be batwoman' come from -- has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I've ever read. I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with 'she's too gay' how doy'all flip it like that? I didn't change. I wish we would all support each other and our journeys.
"When women and when minorities join forces we are unstoppable... when we tear each other down it's much more hurtful than from any group. But hey/ love a challenge I just wish women and the LGBT community supported each other more, My wish was we were all a little kinder and more supportive of each other...Sending everyone my love and gratitude, it's been a rollercoaster of a year, this month especially.
"I am looking forward to getting more than 4 hours of sleep and to break from Twitter to focus all my energy on my next 2 projects. If you need me, I'll be on my Bat Phone." Representation for Rose did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Twitter gives people within fandoms a voice that, only years ago, they did not have. Yet, lately, it's the women involved in big, fandom-inspiring projects that receive the most brutal attacks on social media. Kelly Marie Tran, who portrays new character Rose in the Star Wars franchise, was bullied off Instagram after racist trolls came for her on the platform. The upcoming live-action Teen Titans television series received thinly-veiled racist backlash when it hired Anna Diop, a Black woman, to portray an orange-skinned alien named Starfire.
While Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot did not receive any backlash over her race, her body type (specifically, her breasts) was called out by fans on Twitter as not being "authentic" enough to the comic book character.
The truth is, social media can be a scary place. (See: The rape and death threats levied against women gamers.) Can we blame Rose for wanting to leave it?
There's absolutely no reason for the racist responses to Tran and Diop's casting — none. The tricky part of Rose's casting backlash is that while there is plenty of homophobia to go around on Twitter, the hate is now coming from both sides. LGBTQ and minority representation on the small screen is a huge issue, and many fans who aren't perfectly content with how this particular Batwoman casting played out have shared vitriolic reactions. Thoughtful criticism is vital for the creative process, but what good is sharing an opinion if the point is to bully someone into silence, or even out of a role?
How should fans react when they are faced with a creative decision they disagree with, within a fandom they love? It's a tricky question, but certainly, a little more consideration is necessary before they take to Twitter to share their thoughts. Otherwise, the only thing they're accomplishing is booting women off Twitter.