Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki Commons
Taika Waititi, the director of Thor: Love and Thunder, has been accused by some parts of the internet of transphobia after old tweets of his resurfaced this week.
Since Tuesday (9 August) the same day he married British pop star Rita Ora (Tuesday 9 August) the Jojo Rabbit creator has been the subject of debate centred around tweets dating back to January 2013.
While commenting on a beauty pageant the director made a number of comments including: "No disrespect to men who want to be/dress as woman. I should have just said their makeup looks manly. Also no disrespect to meth user."
No disrespect to men who want to be/dress as women. I should have just said their makeup looks manly. Also no disrespect to meth users.— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) January 16, 2013
When he was called out and told it was "not cool" by someone accusing him of "Slut-shaming, transphobia, and immense misogyny all in one tweet" back in 2013, as seen in a screenshot of the exchange, the writer-director replied: "It is cool".
Another tweet of his that follows reads: "my trans friends can walk in heels. but you’re right, actual kathoey are better looking."
Kathoey is a Thai term used to refer to Trans people and effeminate gay men and is seen as derogatory.
In the present day, responding to the resurfaced tweets one person typed: "Don’t ya hate it when Twitter discovers your ancient transphobic tweets?"
Don’t ya hate it when Twitter discovers your ancient transphobic tweets?— Bob the Goon (@BobtheGoon5) August 9, 2022
Another said it was unusual to be "so vocally transphobic" in response to someone questioning the meaning of the above tweets.
Most people don't have old tweets like this. It's unusual to be so vocally transphobic. I was only 22 when he wrote that and never felt the need to make fun of trans people (I barely knew what trans people were)— boat voice my wifi (@JohnBrownsBussy) August 10, 2022
While many questioned why these tweets hadn't been deleted in the nine years since they were first sent into the ether, others gave the Thor: Ragnarok director the benefit of the doubt.
One person put: "This is pretty bad but I'm willing to see if he's grown from here I know I have in 10 years and so have people close to me. The end goal here should be to change the hearts and minds of people who display bigotry & dragging up a transphobic tweet a decade old doesn't do anything."
This is pretty bad but I'm willing to see if he's grown from here I know I have in 10 years and so have people close to me. The end goal here should be to change the hearts and minds of people who display bigotry & dragging up a transphobic tweet a decade old doesn't do anything.— 🏳️⚧️ Izzy Edwards 🇺🇦 (@_PushUpDaisies) August 10, 2022
Another person also tried providing context to the drama sharing a few screenshots of tweets from the same day appearing to show that Waititi was talking about a beauty pageant, while also not excusing the director for his choice of words.
I’m not excusing the language choice, but when you read the controversial tweets, put it into the context of him criticizing beauty pageants and the way contestants are expected to alter themselves. His transphobic language was saying the caked makeup layers looked manly. pic.twitter.com/xpydDIXl3j— Lakotas of Borg🪶🏴☠️ (@cosmic_wojapi) August 10, 2022
While Waititi has yet to address his old tweets more recently he has positioned himself as more of an LGBTQ ally.
In 2020, he said he was "pretty supportive" of including LGBTQ relationships and references in Thor: Love and Thunder.
In the press run for Love and Thunder, the New Zealand director said of the debate around inclusion and representation: "To think people will go to a movie and go ‘did you see those two women kissing’… it’s insane [that] people still want to talk about that. Why is it not normalised?"
He also included a gender-non-confirming character in his series, Our Flag Means Death played by non-binary actor Vico Ortiz.
Attitude has contacted representatives for Taika Waititi for comment.
The Attitude September/October issue is out now.