The Discourse

About That Transphobic Taika Waititi Tweet…

Okay folks, this is a tough one. But then again, it’s not all that tough. 

Last week, someone on Twitter unearthed a 2013 tweet from writer, director, actor, and newlywed Taika Waititi. Here is that tweet, presented without comment:

Now as you can probably imagine, a lot of folks were hurt and upset to learn that one of their faves had a moment of being shitty on the Internet.

However, as usual, there’s more to the story here. As several users have already pointed out, the Marvel fanbase (which can be quite toxic!) has been looking for reasons to hate on Waititi simply for being a director of color who makes interesting comedic choices in his work.

Also, this tweet is from 2013. That’s a solid 9 years ago. And sure, if Waititi hadn’t shown in numerous other ways that his thinking (and maturity level) had changed, a tweet like this might be cause for concern. But as many have pointed out, actions speak louder than tweets.

Since 2013, Waititi has been placed queer actors of color at the center of his work, including Thor star Tessa Thompson, “What We Do in the Shadows” actor Harvey Guillén, and nonbinary actor Vico Ortiz. He also brought to life one of the most moving queer stories of the year with David Jenkins’ “Our Flag Means Death.” Waititi also recently cast fa’afafine nonbinary actor Kaimana in his upcoming sports drama Next Goal Wins. As many have pointed out, these aren’t the actions of a dyed-in-the-wool bigot.

Honestly, many of the tweets calling out Waititi don’t seem to come from the trans community, but from Marvel stans anxious to “cancel” the director.

The fact is, people can change, especially in an industry like Hollywood. Creatives still have to go out of their way to create queer content centerting folks of color in a white and hetero-centric entertainment space. It would be quite easy for Waititi to go the Ricky Gervais route and capitalize on transphobia, but from where we’re standing, it looks like he’s taken notes and grown out of his transphobic phase.

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