Rami Malek called Freddie Mercury a 'gay man' at the Oscars and Twitter is upset
The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was a blockbuster success at the box office, yet the critical response was lukewarm. Detractors called the film a conventional biopic that resembled a greatest hits playlist more than an in-depth look at the band. But never doubt the power of nostalgia bait on Baby Boomers! In a surprising turn of events, the Academy members gave Bohemian Rhapsody more Oscars than any other movie last night. The film picked up four trophies - Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Actor, for Rami Malek's uncanny portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.
Seeking to avoid controversy, none of the winners mentioned director Bryan Singer in their acceptance speeches. (Singer served as the director for the majority of the film, but was fired last December for taking an unexplained absence. The following month, The Atlantic released a bombshell report, chronicling two decades of sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations.) However, Rami Malek's acceptance speech still managed to spark a backlash on Twitter, after he referred to Freddie Mercury as "a gay man."
"I think about what it would have been like to tell little bubba Rami that one day this might happen to him, and I think his curly-haired mind would have been blown," said Malek, during his touching speech. "That kid was struggling with his identity, trying to figure himself out, and I think to anyone struggling with theirs and trying to discover their voice - listen we made a film about a gay man and an immigrant who lived his life just unapologetically himself. And the fact that I'm celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we're longing for stories like this."
Twitter users quickly pointed out that Freddie Mercury wasn't a gay man; he was bisexual, and had several relationships with women. One person asserted, "Freddie Mercury was unapologetically himself, as a bisexual man, yet Rami Malek erased his sexuality by calling him a gay man during his acceptance speech." Another person couldn't believe he could get such a significant detail wrong, tweeting, "How are you at the pinnacle of awards season and STILL calling the REAL PERSON you portrayed gay when he was NOT GAY?! Dammit Rami!"
Other Twitter users criticized Malek for playing a person who tragically died from HIV/AIDs, but never brought up HIV/AIDS in his acceptance speech. This echoes criticism of the movie; detractors claim Bohemian Rhapsody sanitizes Freddie Mercury's life, glossing over his relationships with men, drug addiction, and struggle with HIV/AIDS. Some even accused the film of 'straight-washing,' catering to a straight audience.
On the other hand, some argued that Freddie never revealed his sexuality to the public, so who are you to officially declare him "bisexual?"
Well, regardless of the Twitter backlash, congratulations to Malek on his Oscar. He's come a long way from Night At The Museum.