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Andrew Garfield has said he was “pressured” to apologise for wanting Spider-Man to “explore” being bisexual, so that “bigots” would buy tickets.
Garfield, who starred as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2012 and 2014 respectively, made the comments in an interview with The Independent.
In 2015, Marvel Studios and Sony made a deal to share the character rights of Spider-Man and Peter Parker was recast, with Tom Holland taking over the role for 2017’s Spiderman: Homecoming.
On his time as the superhero, Garfield said: “I worked harder than I’ve ever worked on anything and I’m really proud of it, but I didn’t feel represented.”
Referencing a since-removed 2013 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said: “There was an interview I gave where I said: ‘Why can’t Peter explore his bisexuality in his next film? Why can’t MJ be a guy?’
“I was then put under a lot of pressure to retract that and apologise for saying something that is a legitimate thing to think and feel.
“So I said: ‘OK, so you want me to make sure that we get the bigots and the homophobes to buy their tickets?’”
Andrew Garfield has been publicly discussing a bisexual Spider-Man for years
Following his Entertainment Weekly comments, Garfield went into more detail about his idea of a queer Spider-Man.
In an interview with Comic Book Resources, he said: “What I believe about Spider-Man is that he does stand for everybody: Black, white, Chinese, Malaysian, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender.
“He will put himself in harm’s way for anyone. He is colourblind. He’s blind to sexual orientation, and that is what he has always represented to me. He represents the everyman, but he represents the underdog and those marginalised who come up against great prejudice which I, as a middle-class straight, white man, don’t really understand so much.
“And when Stan Lee first wrote and created this character, the outcast was the computer nerd, was the science nerd, was the guy that couldn’t get the girl. Those guys now run the world.
“So how much of an outcast is that version of Peter Parker anymore? That’s my question.”
Shortly after Garfield first spoke out, Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee firmly shut down the idea of a bisexual Spider-Man.
Asked about Garfield’s suggestion during a Fandomfest panel, Lee said: “He’s becoming bisexual? Who have you been talking to? Seriously, I don’t know anything about that. And if it’s true, I’m going to make a couple of phone calls. I figure one sex is enough for anybody.”