AceShowbiz - Reports Jack Whitehall has been cast as Disney's first ever openly homosexual character has sparked a furious backlash from some in the gay community.
Jack will appear alongside Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in "Jungle Cruise", a film based on the Disney theme park ride of the same name. According to British newspaper The Sun the British funnyman will reportedly play a "hugely effete, very camp and very funny" gay man in the movie - which will be set in the late 19th Century.
Gay fans and actors expressed anger that such an important milestone role had been given to a straight comedian - rather than an actor who is homosexual themselves.
Chris Salvatore, the star of the gay sex comedy "Eating Out" tweeted: "Such a dam (sic) shame it's so hard to find gay actors to play gay roles in hollywood (eye-rolling emoji). Do better @disney @jackwhitehall."
Another gay actor, Omar Sharif, Jr. added: "Really @Disney #JungleCruise? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink."
Omar claimed the character would not be an "authentic reflection" of gay, queer or bisexual life - a complaint shared by many other social media users.
Others were upset as Jack is still a relative unknown in Hollywood, or compared the situation to the recent controversy that caused Scarlett Johansson to quit her role as a trans man in "Rub & Tug".
"If Scarlett Johansson wasn't allowed to play a trans man then Jack Whitehall shouldn't be allowed to play a gay man. Especially so when you consider there are absolute hundreds of out gay men in Hollywood who are better actors than him," journalist Sophie Wilkinson wrote.
If Scarlett Johansson wasn’t allowed to play a trans man then Jack Whitehall shouldn’t be allowed to play a gay man. Especially so when you consider there are absolute hundreds of out gay men in Hollywood who are better actors than him— Sophie WilkINson (@sophwilkinson) August 13, 2018
Condemnation from the gay community was not universal however, as British Member of Parliament Wes Streeting wrote that casting actors purely on the basis of sexuality would encourage "typecasting" of gay stars.
Disney chiefs are yet to respond to the backlash. If confirmed the comedian's scenes will not be the first depiction of same-sex attraction in a Disney film - as last year's "Beauty and the Beast" contained a scene with a "gay moment".