Homophobia and Racism run rampant on Facebook post about Sulu

As soon as I saw this on the official Star Trek Facebook page this morning I cringed, knowing the page has a history of being a haven for bigoted commenters with extraordinarily lax moderation.

TW for homophobic and racist comments

But I still wasn’t quite prepared for the sheer volume of people who chose to answer the above question with “gay”, “Asian”, or outright homophobic or racist slurs.

Sure, maybe not everyone intended to be racist by pointing out Sulu is “Asian”, but that just shows how we view people of colour as “other” whereas whiteness is invisible. I can’t imagine seeing the same question about, say, Tom Paris with so many people responding “White.”

Or “straight.” I think some of the people describing Sulu as “gay” are LGBT supporters who think it’s cool that Takei is an LGBT activist, but there were also clearly a whole bunch who thought answering “gay” was just funny, or took it several steps further:

Captions on Sulu post
Comment from Dean Hill Megastar calling Sulu a "raging pillow biter"
Commenters describing Sulu as Gay, Poofer, Asian, Queen

And this guy replying to a commenter who said, “People who are so shallow to just see him as gay, without really understanding more about this complex person, are pretty sad”:

Comment saying a person who objected is "exactly what's wrong with this country" and comparing homosexuality to child rape

And someone even posted a cartoon of a farmer having sex with a sheep. Classy.

On the racism front we got this:

Meme of Asian child and text "Ching Chong Bing Bong"

In the top 50 comments there were five “gay”, three “Asian” and four other homophobic slurs.

I also went through the most recent 1,000 comments (about 1/3 of the total comments). 31 people described Sulu as “Asian” and 61 described him as “gay”.

I found 15 other occurrences of racial slurs or descriptors not including “Asian” but including “eggroll,”a few instances of “Chink,” and four people who said “Chinese” (Sulu is Japanese).

I found 28 homophobic slurs not including “gay” but including “asspelunker”, “fudge packer”, “mincer”, and 10 instances of some version of the word “fag.”

Oh, and news flash: saying you’re being ironic or adding an “LOL” or smileys after your offensive comment doesn’t make it ok:

Kev Man: "Oriental (im being ironic)"
Robert Stults: "Fag! Lol"

Thankfully the majority of the comments were positive (e.g. “determined”, “loyal”) or neutral (e.g. “Captain”, “helmsman”). And props to the handful of fans who posted comments challenging the bigots. For example:

Commenters calling out someone who posted the caption "faggot"

Unfortunately, as we saw with the guy responding to Dawna above, people who call out the haters on this page also experience backlash.

Response to someone who objected to the homophobic comments

Until StarTrek.com takes some more responsibility for moderating its page, it’s not a space I feel particularly safe engaging on a regular basis.

Note: When transcribing these comments into the descriptive text for images I am attempting to maintain all spelling, grammar and punctuation as it was written by the commenters. Basically, add a big [sic] to everything.

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