Leslye Headland Says The Acolyte Isn’t Gay After All

It’s become a bit trite to say that the making of a piece of entertainment, or some real-life story surrounding it, is more entertaining than the art itself, but The Acolyte almost demands it, especially after showrunner Leslye Headland’s latest howler. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about The Acolyte’s dismal audience score and the accompanying fan reaction (which must be fake, since the show is being review-bombed on Rotten Tomatoes, right?), Headland is puzzled by the term “lesbian space witches” because – I swear, I’m not making this up – she claims the witches aren’t lesbians. Or maybe they are a little, but not really. Or something; I doubt even Headland knows what she means at this point. But here’s the quote if you need a laugh:

“I was surprised by the question. Amandla and I just burst out laughing because that’s our knee-jerk reaction to being asked that, but to be honest, I don’t know what the term ‘gay’ means in that sense… I don’t believe that I’ve created queer, with a capital Q, content… They’re in a matriarchal society. As a gay woman, I knew it would read that their sexuality is queer, but there also aren’t any men in their community… So a closeness between the two of them would be natural. It seemed plot-driven… I would say it’s really reductive to call them lesbians. I think it means you’re not really paying attention to this story.

“I’m proud of being a gay woman who’s accomplished this feat, and certainly, if my content is called queer, I don’t want to disown whatever queerness is in the show. I would be proud to create something that inspired queer people… Honestly, I feel sad that people would think that if something were gay, that that would be bad… It makes me feel sad that a bunch of people on the internet would somehow dismantle what I consider to be the most important piece of art that I’ve ever made.”

What the hell is this word salad nonsense? The witches aren’t gay, although they may be gay because Headland is gay, but their society is just matriarchal, but the two mothers of the twins may have gotten together because there are no men around, but if people say it’s “queer,” then it is, but you’re hateful for not liking something because it’s gay, even though this isn’t gay, although maybe it is? This smacks of desperation, of Headland – and maybe Disney and Lucasfilm by extension – trying desperately to control the narrative around The Acolyte but, because it’s so widely disliked, having no idea how. They played the woman card and the gay card before the show even premiered as a preemptive strike, and since that clearly didn’t work, they’re disowning the gay angle while still trying to hang onto it a little, just in case.

The desperation is clear because of how dishonest this is. We all saw that interview (above, if you haven’t) where Headland and star Amandla Stenberg (she of the burgeoning social justice rap career) declared The Acolyte gay, Star Wars gay, C-3PO and R2-D2 gay, and nerds gay. Now, Headland is spinning that as a nervous reaction that had no bearing on the show. Please, nobody buys this. Lucasfilm rolled the woke dice, came up snake eyes, and now they’re trying to save the hand. It’s funny, but it’s also heartening because it shows that, at least on some level, they don’t want their shows and movies to be failures. The rejection of The Acolyte is hurting them if they’d go to these pathetic lengths to save face. At the very least, they know that their current trajectory is not working for them, if only financially. I’m sure they feel good beating their identity politics drum, but it must be getting frustrating to know nobody else is listening.

Comments (2)

June 24, 2024 at 7:04 am

The worst part about this is that they initially set out to rub the noses of the public in it, but even worst than that, is that they had a Disney Princess brand in that Princess Leia was a sultry babe in the original story.
I thought Disney got Dejah Thoris right in John Carter. All they had to do was somehow stick with that.
The thing about butchering this show is that, it reminds a lot of Rings of Power, but I’d say The Acolyte is even worse than Rings of Power. I stuck with ROP for 5 episodes, but once all the guys were feminized cheerleaders while Guyladriel was riding a horse in battle, I had this awful sickening feeling and knew I’d never watch it again.
At least there were actual men in ROP though. There is zero testosterone in The Acolyte. Zero imposing male figures. None. It’s all kids and even the males look like twinks. I do not like shading that Korean guy, but even his casting makes you wonder why they hate western male actors.
Again, they turned on their base about as extreme and radically as possible. The best statement about this was from Chris Gore, who said that what they did with the male brand of Star Wars would be like trying to market Barbie to men instead of girls. That’s what they did to this show.
All the budget, but it also just looks so cheap and amateur. At least Ahsoka and Andor had a look. This show doesn’t even have that.

June 24, 2024 at 7:11 am

So, basically, not only did this show manage to ruin the male fan base, but it even destroyed the Disney Princess genre, so it was a two-fer. Princess Leia was straight, and they even through that tried and true Disney trope in the trash.

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