Jason Rothenberg, the executive producer of the CW’s popular postapocalyptic TV show “The 100,” has issued a lengthy and heartfelt apology, The Washington Blade reports, to countless fans who were devastated and angered by the show’s recent killing-off of queer character Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey).
She died immediately after having a “pivotal” lesbian romance scene with another character, Clarke. Fans accused the show of “queer-baiting” and playing into a longtime pop culture trope in which a gay character always has to die rather than, heaven forbid, find a moment of happiness.
Fans even went so far as to start a fundraiser for The Trevor Project, which supports troubled and suicidal LGBT youth, to protest the plot decision.
In his long and thoughtful apology, Rothenberg wrote:
The thinking behind having the ultimate tragedy follow the ultimate joy was to heighten the drama and underscore the universal fragility of life. But the end result became something else entirely — the perpetuation of the disturbing ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope. Our aggressive promotion of the episode, and of this relationship, only fueled a feeling of betrayal.”
Rothenberg acknowledged that the killing off of Lexa did not take place in a TV make-believe vacuum, but in the broader context of the real world, where LGBTQ people are still highly vulnerable.
“I still write and produce television for the real world where negative and hurtful tropes exist,” he wrote. “And I am very sorry for not recognizing this as fully as I should have. Knowing everything I know now, Lexa’s death would have played out differently.”
The death of Lexa was widely deplored in the TV blogosphere. Writing for Vulture, Mariya Karimjee called her “arguably the strongest female character I’ve ever seen on television.”
She added: “I hate feeling as though a show I love is letting me down.”
“The 100” is about exactly that number of young people who, well into the future, are sent back to Earth from the space satellite where surviving humans live to see if our planet is once again habitable.
Well, despite the killing off, it’s nice to know a sexy lesbian romance will survive the apocalypse.