Though the world celebrated when Anthony Mackie finally took the Captain America mantle by the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Mackie has suddenly found himself under some internet scrutiny.
Mackie has gotten some backlash after an interview with Variety quoted him commenting on the internet fandom that wants to see his character Sam and Bucky get together romantically. He says:
“It used to be guys can be friends, we can hang out, and it was cool…You can’t do that anymore, because something as pure and beautiful as homosexuality has been exploited by people who are trying to rationalize themselves.”
For now, the internet is trying to make sense of what Mackie was trying to articulate with his statement, but some have boiled his comments down to some poor choice of words. If anything, Mackie is completely valid when he says that it’s okay for media to portray men having close platonic relationships; but to refer to the side of the fandom that wants Sam and Bucky to get together as ‘exploitative’ is where people start to raise eyebrows.
If you could text Anthony Mackie and let him know that queer people wanting to see media that recognizes they exist isn't exploitative and that queerness isn't grody when it's actually acted out/witnessed by other human beings, that'd be swell. Thanks. pic.twitter.com/yRdX1kvGiA
— candyriot (@candyriot_) June 17, 2021
Um – queer people seeing themselves in a character/wanting representation outside of just queer baiting isn’t just people “trying to rationalize themselves”, what does that even mean? Super icky. 🤮 https://t.co/mWjKQAWjQn
— Mx. Mercy West (@_MercyWest_) June 18, 2021
Personally, I think this is the case of Mackie not being familiar with Marvel fandom culture. Sure there are some fans that want Bucky and Sam to get together, but a lot of those fans are well aware that it couldn’t happen. It’s just a case of sharing fantasies online—and calling that exploitative seems to teeter close to homophobia.
If anything, Mackie should just let the fans fantasize what they want, as much as they want. There’s really no harm in any of that.
For now, you can catch Mackie in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier now streaming on Disney+.