(Spoiler warning.) “The 100” elicited controversy and accidentally created a movement with the death of Lexa (Alycia Debnam Carey), a popular lesbian character, earlier this year. Several more LGBT deaths followed on other shows, from “Empire” to “The Walking Dead,” prompting the Lexa pledge: a call for TV series to not wantonly kill off gay characters. Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who wrote the “100” episode in question, responded at a panel during the ATX Festival.
“I don’t think that the failure here was to discuss it,” Grillo-Marxuach said of the decision. “The failure was to recognize the cultural impact it would have outside the show…and to act accordingly outside of the show.” A chief precept of the pledge is to “refuse to kill a queer character solely to further the plot of a straight one,” perpetuating the Bury Your Gays trope. Grillo-Marxuach has yet to sign the pledge, which he says is because he’s not the ultimate decision-maker: “I don’t make promises I can’t keep,” he said. “I will not stand up in front of the world and promise to do this and then somehow become the scapegoat on something that is not my property.”
Carter Covington, a screenwriter for “Faking It” also present during the panel presented by GLAAD, expressed fear that the negative reactions to this spate of deaths may have the unintended effect of fewer LGBT characters appearing in the first place. “I’m really worried that its going to have the opposite effect of what fans want,” he said. “Networks are terrified. They’re completely scared right now. They will look for any reason not to do something…I would hate for us to lose opportunities because of fear.” For more, head to the Hollywood Reporter, whose Lesley Goldberg moderated the panel.