Robin Lord Taylor, who stars as Penguin in Fox’s Gotham show set in a pre-Batman Gotham City, has once again blasted back at critics of the gay storyline between his character and Cory Michael Smith‘s Riddler.
In an interview with Collider, Taylor blasts back at fans who have criticised his portrayal of the character in the plotline which has seen his Penguin and Riddler become close in the series.
“A lot of people [were] coming at me and saying like, ‘I love what you do with the Penguin, but I really hate this gay thing because it’s not canon.’“Penguin was raised by penguins, and that was apparently fine, and you know Jack Nicholson, the Joker killing Batman’s parents in the [Tim Burton movie]. I haven’t really seen a lot of people shitting their pants about that.
“But, you know, when we introduce a queer storyline, ‘Eh, we love you and we love the show, but this really bothers me because you’re really messing with the character’s origins.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re homophobic, that’s homophobic. That’s it, right there.’”
He raises an interesting point. After all, I started writing for Bleeding Cool off the fact I raised a question to Dan Didio at Kapow Comic Con over how in an interview he declared changing a pre-New 52 straight character to a gay character in the New 52 was the line they wouldn’t cross, despite the New 52 seeing diabled characters become no longer diasabled, fat characters become thin etc. This of course was when he revealed that DC had changed their mind on that, and later we’d learn it was to be Earth 2‘s Alan Scott/Green Lantern. And yet, even after that, I remember a great many fans declaring how unhappy they were he was ‘being made gay’, yet they ignored that this rebooted character was not the same character they knew, nor were they angry that he was no longer a superhero who’d fought in World War 2.
Taylor also discussed how he felt about their decision to take this path for the character in the show.
“I don’t want to get too heavy and political, but I have to say the fact we introduced a queer element to a traditional villain storyline, something that’s been around for a very long time, I thought that was very brave.
“I thought that, even though it’s not the traditional trajectory that things tend to go, I thought that what we brought to it, both Cory and I, was a place of emotional honesty and the fact that that was treated and was embraced by both Warner Bros. and Fox, I think should be applauded.”
Sadly, simply admitting that gay people of all kinds exist is still something we need to applaud, because there’s still an absurd amount of push-back to any attempt to ever actually improve inclusiveness in this manner.