Olivia Colman lets her onscreen son know how proud she is of him. On December 1, the Oscar winner told diversity how much she admired her “Heartstopper” co-star Kit Connor after he was bullied into coming out as bisexual on social media.
“I’m so proud of him, but I’m not proud of how people bullied him,” Colman said. “I think people should be allowed to have their own journey. But I’m incredibly proud of him as a young man, to be able to handle it all and be in the spotlight. It’s unfair, but he’s amazing. He’s a very beautiful person.”
Connor is best known for playing Nick in the LGBTQ+ Netflix rom-com Heartstopper, which follows teenagers on their journey through school, their feelings and their sexuality. While the series itself spotlights LGBTQ+ characters in a wonderfully authentic way, giving many of them plenty of room to express themselves in their own time, the compassionate message behind the show seems to have been lost on many, as evidenced by what Connor with some has gone through the viewer of the show.
On Oct. 31, the “Rocketman” star wrote a tweet He revealed he’s bisexual, but added that he felt compelled to come out after being harassed by fans. The actor wrote: “Back for a minute. I’m bisexual. Congratulations on forcing an 18 year old to come out. I think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.”
Moments after Connor’s tweet, supportive comments flooded his timeline, both with love for the star and anger at the circumstances under which he felt he had to make the announcement. “Heartstopper” author Alice Oseman responded via tweet“I really don’t understand how people can see Heartstopper and then happily spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes. I hope all these people are embarrassed as F*CK. Kit you are amazing 💖.”
Joe Locke, his “Heartstopper” castmate who plays Charlie, responded through tweeting“You don’t owe anyone anything. I’m so proud of you my friend 💕.” Kizzy Edgell, who plays Darcy Olsson, tweeted“I love you, I’m sorry that was so disgustingly hard on you. Was treated so unfairly,” while costar Sebastian Croft, who plays Ben Hope, wrote“Kit Connor, the world doesn’t deserve you. I love you my friend ❤️.”
The toxicity that prompted Connor’s tweet was largely due to him being accused by fans of being queerbaiting after he saw queer actress Maia Reficco holding hands with his co- Starin was seen. He left Twitter in September after troubling comments he made to the actor, writing: “This is a dumb dumb app. Bit bored with it, delete twitter :)” but he fleetingly returned to set the record straight.
Connor had also previously spoken out about unnecessary speculation about his sexuality and unease at being labeled. “To start speculating about our sexuality and maybe pressuring ourselves to come out when we might not be ready. For me, I just feel totally confident and comfortable with my sexuality,” he said “Reign with Josh Smith” Podcast in May. “But I don’t feel the need to really do that, you know — I’m not too big on labels and things like that. I’m not massive at it.”
Many fans were quick to respond to Connor’s tweet, expressing their frustration. “Reading tweets like this is heartbreaking…especially when Heartstopper has taught so many people around the world the true value of someone’s personal coming out story.” I’m so sorry your moment was taken away from you, Kit, but let’s hope people will learn from it!” one wrote. Other tweeted“I’m so disappointed in this fandom.”
Connor himself summed up the bizarre phenomenon of the public judging, labeling and forming unwarranted theories. “It feels a bit strange to make assumptions about a person’s sexuality just by hearing their voice or seeing their looks. I think that’s a very interesting, somewhat problematic kind of assumption,” he said.
Once again we are reminded that celebrities are people too; Fans are not entitled to everything. No one should feel pressured to publicly disclose their sexuality until they are comfortable doing or saying so – especially a teenager.
Image Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/John Phillips/Getty