William Shatner has hit out at “moronic people” who believe that his Star Trek character Captain Kirk is bisexual.
The original Star Trek actor took to Twitter to hit back at a fan who unfavourably contrasted him to Star Wars leading man Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker.
In a viral clip from 2016, Hamill made clear: “Fans are writing and ask all these questions, ‘I’m bullied in school… I’m afraid to come out’. They say to me, ‘Could Luke be gay?’ I’d say it is meant to be interpreted by the viewer… If you think Luke is gay, of course he is. You should not be ashamed of it. Judge Luke by his character, not by who he loves.”
Sharing the clip, the fan tweeted: “I’m usually more of a Trekkie but this is a hell of a lot more compassionate than @WilliamShatner refusing to accept Kirk could be bi.”
William Shatner hits out at ‘moronic’ fans over bisexuality rumours
Hitting back, Shatner insisted his character, who had relationships with aliens, must be straight because he was first conceived in the 1960s.
He said: “If Kirk were bisexual Star Trek would have never have happened. It would not have influenced Star Wars & it would be a blip in the history of the Roddenberry family. How is it you don’t understand the social constructs of the 60’s? Why did Stonewall happen in 69 if all was ok?
“I am so tired of presentism & moronic people who continue to place today’s value systems on the past to judge. They cannot comprehend that the fact they have the freedom to judge is because of what brave people did in the past. Education needs a wake up call.”
If Kirk were bisexual Star Trek would have never have happened. It would not have influenced Star Wars & it would be a blip in the history of the Roddenberry family. How is it you don’t understand the social constructs of the 60’s? Why did Stonewall happen in 69 if all was👌🏻?🙄🤷🏼♂️ https://t.co/sjhNNKN9MH
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 3, 2021
Shatner pointed to a footnote in a Star Trek novelisation penned by creator Gene Roddenberry, in which Kirk performatively shuts down rumours he is romantically interested in Spock, asserting: “I have always found my best gratification in that creature called woman.”
He continued to vent: “Kirk, a character, would never have been allowed to be bisexual on TV or the movies in the timeframe he was created.
“If [Star Trek exec] Alex Kurtzman wants his Kirk to be bi; I’m fine with that. I wouldn’t cowtow down to mob mentality wanting me to embrace something that didn’t currently exist. It still doesn’t.”
Responding to fans expressing offence at his comments, Shatner hit out at “cancel culture” and added: “Let them be offended. Kirk was a job not a way of life.”
George Takei wanted LGBT+ themes explored in Star Trek
George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in the original 1965 TV series, previously said he pitched the idea of doing a gay-themed Star Trek episode, but it was shot down by Roddenberry.
Speaking in 2014, Takei explained: “He said that if we pushed the envelope too far, then we wouldn’t be able to deal with any issues at all, and indeed, when we had the [interracial] Kirk-Uhura kiss – we were blacked out in the South, and our ratings plummeted.
“[I accepted it] because I knew the reality of television.”
Takei also mocked William Shatner’s ignorance of his sexuality, revealing that everyone else in the cast knew.
He said: “My colleagues did know I was gay, but they were cool about it. Except for one member of the cast [Shatner]… it went right over his head. He was the only one who didn’t know.”
The Star Trek franchise has, of course, gone on to new frontiers of queer representation in the decades since.
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