Bryan Fuller Claims Queen Biopic Downplays Freddie Mercury's Sexuality
Famed producer Bryan Fuller has called out the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody for seemingly downplaying the late Freddie Mercury’s sexuality.
“It’s #HETWASHING for marketing sakes,” he tweeted.
After watching a 97-second teaser trailer released Tuesday, Fuller tweeted: “ANYONE ELSE MILDLY ANNOYED (enough to tweet about it) THAT THE #BohemianRapsody TRAILER FEATURES GAY/BI SUPERSTAR FREDDIE MERCURY FLIRTING WITH AND TWIRLING WITH A WOMAN BUT NO INDICATION OF HIS LOVE OF MEN?”
Fuller also took issue with the film’s official description from 20th Century Fox, which mentions that Mercury faced “a life-threatening illness.”
He tweeted: “Yes, it was a life-threatening illness, but more specifically it was AIDS. From having gay sex with men. Do better.”
When fans pointed out that Mercury had relationships with women and men during his life, Fuller responded: “Showing him only romantic with a woman is erasing a huge facet of what made him a queer artist. You may know FM was bisexual, but most of America doesn't. They see a man romantic with a woman. That does not say ‘bi.’”
He acknowledged the teaser trailer had “mere frames” of Mercury getting close to a man “while the relationship with the woman is emphasized.”
Fuller – who produced made-in-Toronto series Hannibal, American Gods and Star Trek: Discovery – pointed the finger at the marketing department of Fox.
"There is a lot of queer erasure in general. And bi-sexuals are more often erased because many don't understand sexuality, much less fluid sexuality,” he said. “Make no mistake, the marketing campaign emphasized [Mercury’s] relationship with a woman to distract from his being a queer artist.”
The singer was a complicated person, according to his former bandmates. Queen drummer Roger Taylor said shortly after Mercury's death in 1991 that while the band was close as a group, "we didn't know a lot of things about Freddie."
May agreed in one interview that Mercury was probably bisexual, though it's unlikely he identified that way, simply because the term wasn't so widely used during his lifetime.
"You're talking to someone who shared rooms with Fred on the first couple of tours, so I knew him pretty well," May once said. “I knew a lot of his girlfriends, and he certainly didn't have boyfriends in those days, that's for sure."
May went so far as to say it "never occurred" to him that the singer was gay until much later in their career, as Mercury was very private. Eventually, the singer revealed to the band that he had relationships with men, but he only did so "years after it was obvious.”
- with files by Andrew Magnotta at iHeartRadio