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People are not happy Rami Malek called Freddie Mercury a gay man

People are not happy Rami Malek called Freddie Mercury a gay man

Rami Malek

Some viewers of the Oscars are not happy actor Rami Malek described Freddie Mercury as a ‘gay man’ in his Oscars acceptance speech.

On Sunday night (24 February), Malek won Best Actor for his role as Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

The film has been dogged by controversy since being in production. Fox fired original director Bryan Singer from the film, and then an explosive Atlantic article detailed rape accusations against him.

Responses to this, from Malek to Queen band member Brian May, followed the film throughout the awards season.

Still, all of this did not stop Academy voters from awarding Malek with Best Actor last night.

In his speech, he addressed the audience: ‘We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life unapologetically as himself.’

His words continued the controversy and debate around the film and its portrayal of Mercury — a bisexual man with HIV. Many people took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the apparent bisexual erasure.

A film aimed at straight people?

Some, however, defended Malek’s speech given Mercury never labeled or specified his sexuality. It was known he had relationships with both men and women, but he never explicitly described himself as bisexual.

This was not where the debate around Malek’s speech — and representation in Bohemian Rhapsody at large — ended, though.

Many critics described the movie as lacking any meaningful or nuanced depiction of Mercury’s identity as a queer man and an immigrant.

Others also pointed out that Malek failed to mention Mercury’s HIV status, and that this movie was ‘aimed at’ Queen’s straight fans.

With his win, Malek became the first Egyptian-American actor to take home the Best Actor prize.

See also

Relive the most LGBTI moments of the Oscars

Rami Malek says working with Brian Singer was not ‘pleasant’ for him

Bohemian Rhapsody becomes the highest grossing music biopic of all time