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‘Jungle Cruise’: Disney Criticized for Casting Straight Comic Jack Whitehall as ‘Very Camp’ Gay Character

The English comedian stars opposite Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson in Disney's upcoming 2019 family tentpole.

Jack Whitehall Jungle Cruise

Jack Whitehall

Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Disney is facing backlash online after a report from the The Sun revealed English comic Jack Whitehall’s role in the family film tentpole “Jungle Cruise” is that of a gay man who is “hugely effete, very camp, and very funny.” The supporting role would make it one of Disney’s most significant gay film characters in history, which is why the casting of a straight male is angering some fans online.

“Jungle Cruise,” directed by “Non-Stop” and “The Shallows” filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra, is based on the Disney Parks attraction of the same name. The adventure film stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a boat captain who takes a brother and sister into the jungle on an expedition to find a tree with magical healing powers. Emily Blunt is starring as the female lead, while Whitehall is playing her character’s brother.

Actor and model Omar Sharif, Jr. reacted to Whitehall’s casting in the role by asking, “Really, Disney? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This should should sink.”

The majority of the backlash against Whitehall’s casting is centered around the fact the role is reportedly a “very camp” gay character. Comedian James Barr noted on social media that many of his gay actor friends are “turned down for straight roles because there’s a ‘whiff of a gay,'” which only makes it more frustrating that Disney decided to cast a straight male as a campy gay man.

“Jungle Cruise” is scheduled to open in theaters nationwide October 11, 2019. IndieWire has reached out to Disney for further comment.

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