Benedict Wong is standing up for his “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” co-star Xochitl Gomez in the wake of homophobic language being pointed her way online.
“The Baby-Sitters Club” actor Gomez makes her MCU debut in the film as America Chavez, a gay teenager who has the ability to jump between universes. America’s inclusion in the film and dialogue referencing her lesbian mothers is reportedly the reason the “Doctor Strange” sequel is banned in Saudi Arabia and other territories. Disney refused to cut the LGBTQ references in the film.
“It’s a big deal that America is in this movie. It’s just huge. And I’m just so happy that Marvel has stuck to it and kept the scene in there,” Gomez told Asia One (via The Independent). “And it’s just pretty crazy that I get to be the one who plays America. Although, yes, my name may be circled within hate and stuff but it’s okay.”
When Gomez’s co-star Wong heard about the backlash she’s faced, he jumped into the interview and said, “It’s not okay. It’s not okay. We have to all collectively understand that… She auditioned aged 13 and she joined us aged 14, one of the youngest actors to join the MCU of a film of that magnitude. You know, she’s just a young girl playing her role and full praise for that.”
“There’s a real level of shame for all those trolls that are cowards not to actually put their face [out there], and they should feel a deep shame of what they’re doing,” Wong added. “Let’s all just play nice. Let’s all just enjoy what we are representing. It’s sad that fans in that country won’t get to see this. But all we are doing is radiating representation, voicing the voiceless. And that’s all that we can do — represent people so that they can be seen.”
Wong has played the sorcerer Wong since the original “Doctor Strange” in 2016. He went on to reprise the character in several MCU films, including the recent record-breaking “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
Disney opens “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” in theaters on Friday.