‘The 100’ Producer Applauds Social Impact of Lexa’s Death: ‘I Am Grateful for the Tidal Wave That Came Down on Me’

The 100 Lexa pledge
Courtesy of The CW

The Bury Your Gays trope came to a forefront this past television season when a multitude of LGBTQ characters were killed off shows including “The Walking Dead,” “Empire” and most notably, “The 100.”

Javier Grillo-Marxuach — who wrote the highly controversial episode of the CW show that killed off Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey), after she had sex with Clarke (Eliza Taylor) — spoke on a panel Saturday morning at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, to address the trope, which is defined as killing off a gay character to further the story of a straight one.

Along with writers and producers from “Shameless,” “Faking It” and “The Originals,” Grillo-Marxuach discussed the progress of the TV industry in regards to the inclusion of LGBTQ characters, but first, he tackled the elephant in the room.

“I think the failure was to recognize the cultural impact that would have on the context of the show,” Grillo-Marxuach said.

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Addressing the social media outcry, he noted that rather than pointing fingers, the bigger issue at hand is the discussion that resulted from the “Clexa” controversy.

“The systemic failure to recognize it as an event of the magnitude that it had [outside the show] is the real subject of discussion here,” Grillo-Marxuach said. “When there’s a bigger issue involved of perhaps if we knew, why did we still go through with it? I think that’s a big issue.”

Coming to his defense, “Faking It” creator Carter Covington applauded Grillo-Marxuach and “The 100” writers for putting Lexa and Clarke’s relationship on TV in the first place.

“I feel like I have one of the gayest shows on TV so I’ve earned the right to speak to this,” Covington said with a laugh. “I think what’s getting lost in ‘The 100’ is that there was an amazing relationship…and that the death of one of these characters caused this huge ripple…This is storytelling, and I think ‘The 100’…is being assaulted and in the end, I think they’re giving fans this amazing chance to meet each other online and on Twitter. There’s so much good the ‘The 100’ is doing for the community.”

Grillo-Marxuach chimed in further on the Twitter barrage — which included fans pleading him to sign The Lexa Pledge, though he explained “I won’t make promises I can’t keep” — and he commended fans for being so vocal and creating a place of social activism.

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“When the thing with ‘The 100’ happened and all the rage and fury came down on Twitter, the thing I was reminded of is when Caitlyn Jenner was on ESPN she said, give me your rage, I can take it,” the writer/producer said, referencing Jenner’s acceptance speech at the ESPY awards last year.

“I am grateful for the tidal wave that came down on me,” Grillo-Marxuach said, adding, “For the exposure and understanding that I received that people are willing to share stories and sometimes the rage, but also other emotions that come with it…the activism that goes on online is humongously important.”

Panelist Carina MacKenzie, writer on “The Originals,” also applauded the loud Twitter noise, saying, “This conversation wouldn’t be happening without fans on social media. I’m really glad that this conversation is happening at all, and that’s because of the fans on a show that’s a tiny little show on a tiny little network that has now changed the way we talk about television.”

While the panel largely commended viewers for sharing their passion on social media, Covington did admit that he’s received many “really hurtful” messages (“I got accused of queer-baiting,” he said). He warned the room of the poor impact that can result from such negativity online.

“I’m trying to put out what I think is the most positive messages out to the community I’ve ever seen on TV,” Covington said. “I really wish we could change the conversation and become a glass half full fandom…I just wish the conversation was more of gratitude so that people could be rewarded, and you’re going to get so many more LGBTQ characters…I’m really worried that it’s going to have the opposite effect of what fans want.”

As simply put by Grillo-Marxuach, “The same pen that created those relationships is the one that created the outcome that we see today.”

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  1. Kevin O'Crean says:

    This article is SERIOUSLY in error and misleading with its headline.
    Javier was NOT credited with being a producer, he was a writer.

    Executive producer(s)
    Jason Rothenberg
    Leslie Morgenstein
    Matt Miller
    Gina Girolamo
    Bharat Nalluri
    Elizabeth Craft

    Producer(s)
    Jae Marchant
    Tim Scanlan
    Aaron Ginsburg
    Wade McIntyre
    T.J. Brady
    Rasheed Newson

    Both Javier and Covington not connected with rhe current show are acting as apologists for Rothenberg who should be
    explaining it himself instead of doing it by proxy.

    Just plainly indicates you cannot trust ANY section of Showbiz at all, even its so called independant pundits.

  2. Kevin O'Crean says:

    well, there have been more straight people killed in the 100 than gays, but CW100 did give assurances to LGBT that Lexa would not be killed off, then they did, so they have to take it on the chin. However, the real howler here is WHY would you kill off a character that was visibly boosting ratings?
    Why not just send her into hiding or banishment?

    Everyone GOT IT that ADC had to shoot on FTWD.
    But someone quite eruditely said in twitter: “Killing of Lexa, because ADC had to shoot FTWD was equivelant to burning your house down before you go on vacation.”

    There was no story to be moved forward by her death. The AI chip in her neck we found doesn’t even have to be CUT out.

    Its not up to ex-writers and other producers to speak for the Showrunner and neither should he get his actors to do it at conventions either.

    Its about time Jason himself came out of hiding and address the misery being caused by a superb character’s unecessary death.

    I have never seen snything so self-destrucively crazy in all my life!

  3. Kat says:

    Wonder if anyone spoke of how Wells was the first to be murdered (“Black person dies first” trope?), or the poor treatment of Lincoln and his actor both on- and off-screen, or the fact that Black women are practically non-existent in the show but LGBT characters are overrepresented. Bet they certainly aren’t going to talk about Murphy being raped. I’m sure they are willing to say they’re grateful – LGBT issues are some of the very few they’re willing to talk about. They just sweep all of the other problems with their show under the rug.

    • Jeremy P. says:

      Actually I do remember reading plenty of articles regarding The 100’s problem with diversity during it’s first season, mentioning Wells death as an example as well as other minorities in the show falling in the stereotypical lines (the asian computer geek with no storyline aside from being the side kick, etc.). They kinda improved a little in Season 2 because of that, but then went back with all the tropes in Season 3. There were a lot of articles about Lincoln’s death and his controversial exit from the show because of the allegations of bullying from the showrunner, but also how he was killed and the imagery it conveyed. There were articles and fan outrage about Murphy’s rape.
      However, because of how organized the LGBT fan reaction and how huge it was, the issue was covered more by the press. And because of how horrifying the numbers were, once several media outlets started actually counting, that brought even more attention to the issue of queer female representation. I mean the numbers, 157 dead vs only 20 living happy endings for queer women in 40 years of television, is pretty harrowing and shameful.
      Saying that avoiding that hurtful story telling and repetitive pattern might limit their ‘genius’ creativity is bs. If killing a queer woman is the only story line they can find for them, then their so-called creativity is rubbish to begin with. They deserve to be called out for it and I for one am happy the media is reporting on it. I myself have been educated quite a lot by it.

  4. dinatarhini says:

    Its funny how straight men conducted this panel to excuse their actions in wrongfuk ways.
    The producer for faking it had created that show as a queerbait for all lesbians since he eveb admitted the 2 main female characters would NOT end up together ever rather it was focused more on the straight relationship. So no, he does not have the right to speak up about the issue and its honestly disgusting that he applauds the 100 for what its done.
    To Xavier, he DID queerbait along with Jason and their actions arent what got this issue as a hot topic rather it wasnall the fans. You dont get applauded for going through the BYG trope and then think you can take credit for the reactions of it. What you contributed is harm. What the AUDIENCE contributed was all this media outrage and positive actions. If you think you have allowed this to happen and youre proud of it youre a part of eveb a bigger problem than simply BYG trope.
    The 100 did not allow fans to connect online and whatsoever because these people wouldve connected either ways on other lgbt issues so you also cannot credit yourself as the mighty uniter.
    Not signing the lexa pledge which basically just asks you to not disrespect or treat an lgbt character unfairly just shows how horrible of a person you are for publicly admittibg that your creativity is so limited you have to kill and disrespect lgbt characters in favor of straight ones.
    This whole panel had just made it all worse for each of these producers and it honestly shows the supremecy of white straight males who think they can even offer their voices abt issues that they no where near relate to. Really shameful that these are the people who get the spotlight on tv shows and slots.

  5. Kim says:

    Are there any other gay characters killed off in this way on shows? Because I heard of a lot of FEMALE characters being killed off lately–even LEAD female characters being sacrificed for the good of the male lead, when it is rare that it is the other way around. I think the bigger issue is that when it comes to drama on TV, minorities are considered expendable because they are usually not the lead characters–it turns out that the lead characters are still usually white men. I don’t think it’s always intentional, it’s just that the writers and producers of shows which get most of the attention are still white men, aren’t they? However, in our culture it is too accepted and needs to change. While I can relate to the white male lead for he goes through much of what I go through as a human being, I think we’d all like to see stories which feature ALL types of human beings, people more like us.

    • Jeremy P. says:

      Yes, part of the outrage is that it’s female queer characters who usually die. 20 queer female characters died on TV these 5 first months of the year alone, where the average amount of queer female is about 20 to begin with. Therein lies the problem. One thing is to have a few die, but when you kill almost 100% half way during the year, something is seriously wrong.

  6. Mitchell says:

    This is why you do NOT include gay characters. If anything happens to them, members of the gay agenda go nuts and spew “bigot” everywhere. Much better off not including the arbitrary gay. I never do.

    • dinatarhini says:

      This is simply ignorance at its best.
      So its acceptable to include gays on a show only fir the purpose of killing them and then expect the community to be grateful and move on but if they want a strong relevant part in the show like the milllions of straight characters then theyre problematic? Youre part of the problem.

    • alltheimportantfacts says:

      Reason why show runners include gays and lesbians is because there are at least 600 million of them in world and they want them to watch their shows. Especially as they are market segment that isn’t over saturated like so many others with nearly 500 US made programs now airing in year and other forms of entertainment (like games and youtube, twitch etc,) eating their share from the viewers. But show runners and writers don’t usually posses similar ability to write compelling story lines for queer characters as for straights as there isn’t that many examples of good queer characters and acceptance towards LGBT people has increased massively in last ten years, so they are now much more willing to publicly express their displeasure, which put productions companies in awkward position where they want queer audience especially in world wide market, but they don’t have knowhow how to do it and then of course they fear that they lose that part of their audience that don’t like anything gay related.

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