Last week, it was announced that Australian actress Ruby Rose would be cast as Batwoman for Greg Berlanti’s series of Arrowverse shows on the CW. Rose wrote to her 13 million Instagram followers that being cast was “a childhood dream.” She added: “This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on TV and felt alone and different.”
Then, over the weekend, Rose quit Twitter and shut down public commenting on her Instagram account after receiving backlash for the very same thing.
In 2006, DC Comics canonically reintroduced Batwoman (a.k.a. Kate Kane) to its modern universe as a character who is lesbian and of Jewish descent. Some online commenters wrote that Rose was “not gay enough” to play the role because she has identified as gender-fluid, as well as the fact that Rose is not Jewish. Rose’s situation tracks onto other actors’ experiences of being criticized for playing gay characters on screen.
Before abandoning Twitter, Rose got in a few final tweets about the negative reaction to her casting.
“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,” tweeted the actress, whose casting was announced last week. “I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with ‘she’s too gay’ how do y’all flip it like that?
Last year, the actress recounted to NBC’s “Today” her experience of coming out as gay at 12 and having identified as gender-fluid.
Much of the backlash huddled around the hashtag #RecastBatwoman, with some commenters wanting to see “Big Legend” actress Ashley Platz get the role.
Rose’s controversy was followed by the news that Disney has cast a straight actor, British comedian Jack Whitehall, to play its first major openly gay live-action character, as the Times reported.
Whitehall will star opposite Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in “Jungle Cruise.”
British actor Ethan Harvey reflected the sentiment of some critics when he criticized the casting on Twitter: “If only there were gay actors who could play ‘camp’ as well as Jack Whitehall.”
Fellow celebrities, meanwhile, tweeted out congratulatory messages. Arrowverse colleague Stephen Amell, who stars on the CW’s “Arrow,” was among those who tweeted his support of the former “Orange Is the New Black” actress.
Rose also tweeted that she is taking a “break from Twitter to focus all my energy on my next 2 projects.” Over the weekend, Rose was widely seen in another Warner Bros. property, “The Meg,” which topped the box office with a $44 million domestic debut.
“If you need me,” Rose tweeted, “I’ll be on my Bat Phone.”