Earlier this week, The CW announced that it had cast Ruby Rose as Batwoman in a new television special premiering this December and possibly for a forthcoming series that is currently in development. Because the modern incarnation of the character is an out lesbian, Rose, who identifies as a lesbian, could play the first openly gay superhero to headline an entire TV show. However, the news has also drawn a wave of backlash—and now the intense criticism seems to have driven Rose off of Twitter.
Rose was emotional as she shared the news of her casting on Instagram on Wednesday. Later, she went on The Tonight Show and got a little tearful talking about what the new role means to her in terms of LGBTQ+ representation. “I feel like the reason I kept getting so emotional is that growing up, watching TV, I never saw someone on TV that I could identify with, let alone a superhero, you know?” she said.
But shortly after the announcement got around, Twitter skeptics chimed in about the casting. Many noted that the Batwoman character—whose real name is Kate Kane—was actually reintroduced into the DC Comics world as being of Jewish descent, which Rose is not. Others questioned Rose’s acting skills, and some brought up one of Rose’s tweets from 2013 that seemed to out another entertainer. A #RecastBatwoman hashtag started circulating, with people also wondering why the role couldn’t have gone to a lesser-known LGBTQ+ actress in need of an acting break. Critics also accused Rose of not being a lesbian since she also refers to herself as gender-fluid (to be clear: It is 100 percent up to an individual how they define their gender and sexual identities—if they choose to define them at all).
It got to the point where Rose quit Twitter—something people picked up on on Saturday. She’d issued a last tweet on Friday: “Where on earth did ‘Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can’t be Batwoman’ come from — has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with ‘she’s too gay’ how do y’all flip it like that? I didn’t change.” Her Instagram is still active, but the comments have been disabled.
The CW hasn’t said anything about the controversy, but it did post a promo on its Instagram on Wednesday.
There were also plenty of supporters who had Rose’s back and sympathized with her.
Cyber-bullying is never OK, especially when it attacks someone’s identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Here’s hoping that Rose is taking the time and space she needs.