The New York Times’ animated cartoon depicting Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as gay lovers has gone viral, being viewed more than 1.3 million times on Twitter alone. But the newspaper is facing backlash from LGBTQ advocates calling the cartoon “homophobic.”
The caption of the Times’ opinion short reads:
“Donald Trump’s not-so-secret admiration for Vladimir Putin plays out in a teenager’s bedroom, where the fantasies of this forbidden romance come to life.”
The short shows Trump handing his heart to Putin, who has no shirt on. The men ride a unicorn together and hold hands. While real audio clips of Trump praising Putin play in the background, the two kiss.
In this episode of Trump Bites, Donald Trump’s not-so-secret admiration for Vladimir Putin plays out in a teenager’s bedroom, where the fantasies of this forbidden romance come to life. https://t.co/cWeQMuzWUz pic.twitter.com/4shBRkloot
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) July 16, 2018
Mental health charities warned it sent a negative message to vulnerable LGBTQ youth, who research shows are at higher risk of depression and suicide.
“There seems to be no greater insult than comparing someone to a queer person,” American transgender actor and activist Jeffrey Marsh, who does not identify as male or female, told the
Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“For an LGBTQ youth, it’s not background noise. When it comes up on their feed it feels like a direct personal attack, and to have a group that’s as well-established as the New York Times personally attacking you feels horrendous.”
Critics also took to social media to speak out against the animated cartoon: (embed tweet)
During these trying times when the president lies to us every day and normalizes Vladimir Putin, please remember what’s important: LOL WHAT IF HE WAS GAY https://t.co/4sMyxLS67g
— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) July 16, 2018
The cartoon was first published on the Times’ website on June 25. But on Sunday night, it resurfaced when the newspaper tweeted it ahead of Monday’s summit between Trump and Putin.
said in June that the video, created by two-time Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton, mocks “Trump’s absurd utterances to illustrate the president’s tumultuous inner life of paranoia, narcissism and xenophobia.”