Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ Takes Home Top Prize at the GLAAD Awards Amid Disney Controversy
The 33rd annual GLAAD Media Awards took place this weekend, where Marvel’s Eternals won the top prize for Outstanding Film (Wide Release). Director Chloé Zhao’s moody, atmospheric entry into the MCU was notable for its diverse cast and the introduction of Marvel’s first openly gay onscreen superhero in Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry). Far from a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment of representation, Phastos is married to Ben (Haaz Sleiman) and they have a son. The film also includes Marvel’s first same-sex kiss between the couple. Given the groundbreaking nature of these characters in the comic book film genre, it’s no surprise that Eternals won the award.
But Eternals‘ win is overshadowed by Disney’s donations to the supporters and authors of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and CEO Bob Chapek’s failure to adequately address the situation. The fallout came quickly, with queer employees and allies issuing letters of protest and condemnation, along with walkouts in protest. Marvel Studios executive Victoria Alonso, who is gay, had some choice words for Chapek during her acceptance speech alongside director Chloé Zhao.
Alonso told the audience that she had a 45-minute conversation with Chapek, saying “I asked him to look around and truly if what we sell is entertainment for family, that we don’t choose what family. Family is this entire room. Family is the family in Texas, in Arizona, in Florida, and in my family, in my home, … So I ask you again Mr. Chapek: please respect if we’re selling family, take a stand against all of these crazy outdated laws. Take a stand for the family.” Alonso added, “As long as I am at Marvel Studios, I will fight for representation.”
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis also had a message for Disney and fellow studios saying, “Don’t wait until you’re in the hot seat, … There’s no more time to sit on the sidelines. We need Hollywood on the front lines, fighting for our rights and telling our stories.” Ellis also called on Hollywood “to take meaningful action and will soon convene the biggest brands, agencies, studios and streamers together with two goals: one, to commit to improving the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBTQ images, especially in kids and family programming. And, two, to speak out against anti-LGBTQ legislation in favor of rights like the Equality Act.”
Other winners from the ceremony included Saved by the Bell, Hacks, and Life Is Strange: True Colors. Comic book winners included Crush & Lobo, written by Mariko Tamaki (DC Comics) and Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms, written by Crystal Frasier (Oni Press).
(via THR, image: Disney/Marvel)
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