After three weeks of radio silence, The 100 showrunner Jason Rothenberg has finally spoken out about the super controversial on-show murder. Rothenberg sat down with Damian Holbrook from TV Insider to do a little damage control after the death that set off a firestorm of LBGTQ outrage on Twitter and beyond.
Spoilers for The 100 follow after the link.
Holbrook was extremely gracious and Rothenberg was extremely well spoken in the interview. Rothenberg addressed every single complaint that’s been lobbed at him over the last three week, but also doubled down in support of the controversial storyline. “We would have told the same story,” he told Holbrook. “I stand behind the story; I just don’t think I would have gone out of my way to say ‘This is the best episode we’ve ever done!’”
In response to the fan outcry, Rothenberg was extremely tactful, acknowledging his own privilege and ignorance, while also acknowledging the hurt he may have caused fans:
Lexa’s death triggered real emotional trauma for some people, you know? It tapped into the real world, it tapped into their lives, and as a straight white male, I obviously didn’t anticipate how deeply it would affect certain people. I look at it now and I realize that if somebody had that kind of a reaction and then were to look back at the way I behaved on Twitter leading up to it, which was celebrating this relationship that then crushed them, I can understand why they would find that reprehensible. I hope that people understand that.
There is one tiny little problem with this lovely conversation between Holbrook and Rothenberg. First there’s the half apology—saying “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt” isn’t quite the same as saying “I’m sorry I gutted you and your fandom like a fish.”
And second there’s the hiding behind “non-discriminatory” murder. As The Walking Dead is finding out, killing off members of minority groups can be problematic—even when you’re a show known for killing everyone.
Yes you should be allowed to kill whoever whenever you like. In a perfect world, that’s absolutely possible. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, where those minority groups don’t find a lot of examples of themselves in media. Especially not a lot of living examples.
LBGTQ people make up a small fraction of the characters who are alive and well on television. One dead lesbian isn’t the same as one dead white guy. White guys are going to be okay. They can turn on Supernatural and see themselves everywhere. Lesbians don’t have the same luxury. Nor do the people of color who often find themselves being used as target practice on shows.
Failing to understand that one death is not the same as another is a major oversight on Rothenberg’s part.