WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An animated New York Times video was called out by critics who said the depiction was homophobic.
- The short video depicts U.S. President Donald Trump in a romantic relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- The Times published the animated video in its opinion section on Monday after the two leaders’ face-to-face meeting in Helsinki.
The New York Times was highly-criticized after it published a short animated video depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as gay lovers.
The video’s accompanying post read: “In this episode of Trump Bites, Donald Trump’s not-so-secret admiration for Vladimir Putin plays out in a teenager’s bedroom, where the fantasies of this forbidden romance come to life.”
“Trump Bites” is a three-video series made by Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton and produced by Billy Shebar and David Roberts.
The series is a “riff on Mr. Trump’s absurd utterances to illustrate the president’s tumultuous inner life of paranoia, narcissism and xenophobia,” the creators said.
The video, which used real Trump audio clips, shows Trump and Putin going on a date, Trump giving his heart to Putin, riding on a unicorn into the sunset, and sharing a passionate French kiss.
The LGBTQ community called out the video as homophobic.
Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, who is openly gay, tweeted: “This isn’t just intensely stupid it’s homophobic as all hell. What on Earth makes you think that equating the love that millions of people across the planet feel for one another to the unconscionably criminal relationship between these two is OK?!? Truly, please explain.”
Phillip Picardi, also gay, a Condé Nast executive who runs the company’s LGBTQ website, Them, also criticized the video.
“It is implying that being gay is an insult for both of these men. It implies that being gay would emasculate them,” he tweeted. “It implies that calling them gay together would anger them and incite reaction. This is beneath us.”
A spokesperson for The New York Times sent a statement to NBC News, saying the paper’s opinion section “believes it’s important to showcase a diversity of thought through a range of distinct contributor voices, such as Bill Plympton, who is known for his irreverent, unsettling and at times disturbing cartoons.”
The spokesperson also said, “The video is not meant to be homophobic. The filmmaker’s vision was one of teenage infatuation portrayed through a dream-like fantasy sequence. He would have used the same format to satirize Trump’s infatuation with another politician, regardless of sexuality or gender. Exaggerated kissing is a signature feature of his animated shorts, including ‘How to Kiss.'”
Source: NBC News