The box-office smash Hancock, starring Will Smith, has been accused by US activists of being homophobic because of its use of a gay slur.
According to Damon Romine of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the film’s hero uses the word “homo” in derogatory manner in a “cheap gay joke.”
Approximately 24 minutes into the film, the main character Hancock, a down and out superhero, is shown three comic book images in an effort to inspire him to become a better superhero.
Instead, in a scene intended to be humorous, Hancock rejects the traditional images of costumed superheroes commenting on each one: “Homo. Homo in red. Norwegian homo.”
“In that moment, young gay people in the movie’s audience are put in the position of being ridiculed by a character they are expected to regard as a hero,” writes Romine, adding that “Hancock’s use of the slur sends a problematic message that it’s okay to discriminate using such hateful words.”
GLAAD understands that sometimes anti-gay language shows up in dramatic narrative to reveal a character’s true colours, or to convey a message. But there’s a big difference between using it to highlight a character’s anti-gay attitudes and making a cheap, unfunny shot at gay people,” he concludes.
Hancock opened last week in the US, going straight to the top of the box-office and earning $107.3 million in its first six days.