Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in the movie | Photo: YouTube/20th Century Fox
Angry fans of Freddie Mercury took to social media to slam the ‘hetwashing’ of the famous frontman.
After the new trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody dropped yesterday (15 May), many wondered why Mercury’s famous sexual attraction to men didn’t feature in the promo.
And judging by the film’s description, it looks like they’re also moving the focus away from his AIDS-related death.
The description under the trailer on YouTube reads: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury.’
It then says: ‘Facing a life-threatening illness, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music.’
Mmmmm the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer sure has a lot of shots with Freddie Mercury with women…
— Calvin (@calvinstowell) May 15, 2018
Hannibal writer Bryan Fuller wrote on Twitter about the ‘hetwashing’ of the new biopic.
He tweeted: ‘DEAR 20TH CENTURY FOX… Yes, it was a life-threatening illness, but more specifically it was AIDS. From having gay sex with men. Do better. #HETWASHING’
‘Freddie Mercury is one of the most famous bisexuals ever’
Many fans also took to Twitter to express their confusion over the deliberate erasure of his AIDS-related death.
One fan wrote: ‘Weird that they made a whole movie about Freddie Mercury and forgot to find out what life-threatening illness he had.’
Weird that they made a whole movie about Freddie Mercury and forgot to find out what life-threatening illness he had pic.twitter.com/cd8Czg1q12
— 🌈 Matt Baume 🔜 IML (@MattBaume) May 15, 2018
Another wrote: ‘Freddie Mercury is one of the most famous bisexual ever to have lived. Yet in his biopic, he’s depicted solely with female love interests, and they omit the entire AIDS crisis, as well as the reason he died? Pack it up. There’s nothing of value that movie can bring to the table.’
Then another tweeted: ‘So lemme make sure I’ve got this right. The Trailer for the Freddie Mercury biopic, a dude so into other dudes people forget entirely he was bi, only shows his romantic flirtations with women, and the movie itself will not address the AIDS crisis that literally killed him?’
The movie takes place over the course of 15 years, from the band’s formation to their 1985 Live Aid performance.
Initially, Sacha Baron Cohen was cast in the role of Mercury. Original band member Brian May approved his casting.
However, Cohen eventually left the project following creative differences. He wanted to make a more adult-oriented film, with an exploration of Mercury’s personal life, including his contraction of AIDS. However, the band wanted a family-friendlier approach.
Once Malek landed the role, many marveled at his uncanny look as Mercury.
The movie hits US theaters on 2 November and UK theaters on 24 October.