Based on a 90-second teaser trailer and a few assumptions, the calls have gone out that we should boycott Bohemian Rhapsody for queer erasure.
“The trailer doesn’t show any gay content, only het stuff!”
There’s a split-second shot of Freddie hugging his girlfriend at one point. There’s also multiple shots of him obviously flirting with guys. The contention that the trailer is queer erasure is mostly coming from cis gay (white) men mad that the movie seems to be depicting Freddie Mercury as bisexual and capable of loving women at all, but given how significant his relationship with Mary Austin was to his life, it would be a disservice to everyone to exclude it.
Also, the cast list includes several male characters listed as “Freddie’s Lover,” as well as Jim Hutton, his partner in his final years.
“They’ve said the movie is going to ignore the AIDS crisis!”
No. What’s been said is that the movie ends in 1985. Once this information was released, people immediately jumped to assume that because the movie wasn’t going to chronicle Freddie’s illness and death in detail, it was avoiding the subject entirely. But the AIDS crisis was in full swing in ‘85, and Freddie of all people was extremely aware of it. The description of the trailer (the first teaser trailer!) even alludes to it.
It’s a fair point that they haven’t mentioned AIDS by name yet, but also, the only materials they’ve released so far are some promo images and one teaser trailer.
In this context, for people wondering why the creative team or the remaining band members don’t come out to “put the matter to rest” by assuring us the film deals with AIDS, it might help to remember that the media has in the past been extremely tawdry and exploitative in its treatment of Freddie Mercury’s illness and death (have you not seen all the “HIS TRAGIC AIDS STORY!!!” videos floating around Youtube? Not read the biographies that linger in lurid, dubiously sympathetic detail?). It makes sense to me that if Brian May and Roger Taylor have a heavy hand in the making of the film (which they seem to), they’d ask for a more subtle approach.
Also, again: we have six months till the movie comes out and only one teaser trailer at this point. Be concerned if you feel the need, but it’s a little early to call for a boycott.
Do not tell people to shun queer content because you have decided, six months in advance with very little information, that it won’t be up to your standards when it comes out.
This is very helpful, thank you.