‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Producers Consulted With GLAAD Over Audience Reaction To Dr. Culber’s Story

NOTE: Article contains spoilers from last Sunday’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery

One of the big moments in last Sunday’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery (“Despite Yourself”) was the death of Dr. Culber, played by Wilson Cruz. Being that the publicity for the show promoted the diversity exemplified by the same-sex relationship between Culber and Lt. Stamets (Anthony Rapp), it appears there were concerns about how this death would be perceived. To get ahead of any potential backlash showrunners and Cruz were dispatched to give media interviews to a number of outlets, assuring fans that Culber will return, including Entertainment Weekly, Syfy and Variety

Producers were concerned over fallout from killing off Wilson Cruz’s Dr. Culber (L).

According to Buzzfeed, the producers even sought guidance from the gay rights organization GLAAD and “received the organization’s blessing.” And the organization even issued a statement. Here is an excerpt via Variety:

“Alongside so many fans, GLAAD cheered the arrival of ‘Star Trek’s’ first gay relationship, and we share in their mourning over the death of a beloved groundbreaking character. Death is not always final in the ‘Star Trek’ universe, and we know the producers plan to continue exploring and telling Stamets and Culbers’ epic love story,” GLAAD spokesperson Nick Adams said in a statement. “Wilson Cruz has leveraged his talent as an actor to create a smart, lovable, and strong character in Dr. Culber, once again bursting through doors that were once closed to gay actors in Hollywood. We look forward to watching their love story unfold.”

Showrunner Aaron Harberts, who is gay, wanted it to be clear this wasn’t the end of this relationship:

Some really phenomenal stuff is coming, and if you think that the out gay showrunner and his more-than-supportive writing partner and friend of more than 20 years are just going to kill a gay character to be done with a gay character, you’re wrong.

And he also made this point on the official after show, After Trek on Sunday, as you can see from the clip below.


Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on the Space Channel and on Netflix outside the USA and Canada.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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Phil

The good doctors demise was organic to the story, he discovered a secret that cost him his life…or so it seems. Fairly seamless, hopefully his return will be handled as well.

Sterling Archer

No, it wasn’t. It was gratuitous. It was unnecessary. It was senseless. It was contrived and the only purpose it served was for shock value, and to add an action beat to the story line. They’re so obsessed with making STD “dark and gritty” in an attempt to mimic Game of Thrones, that they’re doing things for no good reason at all, and this is a clear example of that. A plot twist does not equal “character development”.

How was it senseless? Culber was the natural person for Tyler to go to with his problem. And killing Culber was the natural reaction a Klingon sleeper agent would be programmed to have if Culber was about to expose him.

ExTrek

How does one survive a broken neck

pussy monster

you can, tennis star james blake survived it.

Trekboi

If you can’t see all the holes in that scene/situation/motivation I don’t know what to say.

Trekboi

Celebrating much?
It was no secret & the next episode he tells the convict playing Starfleet playing Mirror Captain anyway.
It was just there to keep the Homophobic fans happy & quiet & watching.

DiscoTrek

Ridiculous. The community wants to be treated equally, but they can’t even let the death play out? Very juvenile response IMO.

Dana Farricker

That was a stupid and homophobic comment.

DiscoTrek

eff off it is not

Marja

Methinks you are neither gay nor a person of color.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlackDudeDiesFirst

G66

Typical Liberals making totally nonsensical remarks. Why did they have to consult anyone? Worried about offending over nothing? You want to be treated equal then stop acting like your special. No one say anything that we don’t like but we can say anything we want regardless how it affacts others. Hipocrites. You sound Heterophibic and Racist against white people, which last time I checked are a color too. So tolerant.

Kirk1701

I think you may want to learn to spell “hypocrite” or “heterophobic” before using those terms. Think Inigo Montoya, “You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The word “hypocrite” is a direct lift from ancient Greek. It’s the Greek word for “actor.” It did become a pejorative word in politics, which is how we now use it in English. As in, “saying one thing, but doing another.”
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/hypocrite-meaning-origin

I’m not sure the word “affacts” means anything, so I’m going to assign it a meaning. “Ill-educated, entitled, white male (usually US citizen) throws tantrum when anyone other than he is acknowledged as existing.” Kirk out.

More Troubles, More Dribbles

Can’t anyone voice an opinion without their grammar being made fun of? Are we grammar Natzi’s now?

Nazis. Not Natzi’s.

Trekboi

They think spelling & grammar wins arguments

DanB

Dude. Think about it – Ensuring equal, fair representation demands special treatment. Equal treatment isn’t the solution. Consider this analogy – we put ramps next to stairs to ensure seniors, injured or disabled people have access, right? We make special effort for them because it’s common decency to provide access to those who are otherwise disadvantaged. Treating them equally would be monumentally stupid.

It’s not a perfect analogy but it’s rooted in the same idea. It’s been a crux to kill of the gay character in tv writing. A tired one. The producers are now trying to assure us that this death isnt seen in the same light, as they recognize the importance of this relationship in the tv landscape. They’re making special effort to ensure it continues, and that this isnt another example in the gay-death trope, because they recognize that would be harmful.

Thoughts?

More Troubles, More Dribbles

So …gay people are disabled? Okay

Trekboi

In an openly homophobic society, we kinda are- well you Gays in Trumps U.S. are

Jack

@G66 Can we discuss this without name calling? From either side.

Group A throws Group B overboard and into the water. Group B attempts to get hold of life preservers and rope ladders. Group A says “why is Group B askng for that stuff? don’t they want to be treated equally? you don’t see us asking for that stuff.”

Trekboi

Please consult psychological help.

Jack D

@Marja, what difference does that make?

Jack

@Jack D. Click the link. Both are groups that traditionally got killed off for reasons unrelated to plot.

This article is probably well-meaning, but it’s using words like “backlash” and “concerns” that aren’t in the source material — and without giving context. So we’re getting people (who already thought that political pressure put gay people on Star Trek) now thinking that the gays are whining about this.

And some folks are upset by the death. But there’s no political outcry.

And, BTW, they have been teasing — a bit more subtly — that Michelle Yeoh (the first Asian female captain) will be back as well.

Tay Dervis

So his opinion must not count?

TokyoGaijin

The comment was spot-on!

There was a slight panic over the death scene that TPTB thought it might be seen as a “bury the gay couple” type of reaction.

The reality was, thankfully, there was no such backlash.

I’m on the right… and I enjoyed the Stametz/Culber storyline and squealed out WTF when AshVoq killed Culber. Culber was becoming one of my fav docs on Trek and now (speculatory spoiler) we’re going to be either getting a resurrection scene via Gary MitchellStametz or a mirror Culber encounter, with the former having a dulling of the dramatic impact of the original death scene.

Doesn’t matter if Culber was gay or straight. Just like Kirk dying in STID and then brought back by magic blood eliminated the impact of the Kirk death scene, so too would a resurrection of Culber.

The notion that the death of a character would have negatively impacted the LGBT community is complete nonsense to me. If it’s good drama, and these guys are great actors in their craft, then why the hell would a death scene that was well played out impact ANYONE *adversely*?

Jack

Who says it’s going to dull anything? And who says it’s solely because of politics? What if it really does come organically? And yes, the Kirk death and resurrection 10 minutes later was clumsy and stupid.

So, no, the comment was not spot-on because there’s no community rallying against this death.

Look, characters reappear in episodic shows, especially sci fi — sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Heck, Lorca’s already died dozens of times. It looks like Michelle Yeoh is coming back. Are we going to blame the Asian community for that? Does that dull her death scene? We don’t know BECAUSE IT HASN”T HAPPENED YET.

And, nobody’s saying it would affect anyone adversely.

Marja

I said it might but I was late to the party, posting hours after you did.

Holden

Thankfully, there wasn’t ultimately much of a backlash (as there shouldn’t have been). But there were definitely some who were upset.

But . . . . . I’m also of the opinion that there wasn’t much of a backlash *precisely because* the showrunners got ahead of the issue and made a positive PR push before the narrative twist could have been interpreted as something else. If they had been silent, or just said, “hey, it made sense in the narrative” (even as that’s true), they would’ve had a bigger problem on their hand.

Corinthian7

I’m not convinced that it will be a resurrection per se but more of a final farewell scene.

Tom

The only one that cant be resurrected in Trek is Kirk Prime. They cant figure that one out

Tiger2

LOL it is funny out of all people Kirk Prime has become the “Uncle Ben’ of the Trek universe and stayed dead for 20 years now. Almost every major character has died and come back in some fashion except him. Of course he has come back in a novel but since its not canon it doesn’t formally count.

DaceCGN

Almost… in the novels they found a clever way to bring him back. Just check out “the return” by William Shatner himself.

Tiger2

Yeah I know, I said that in my post. I ALSO said its not canon so while its a story of him coming back, its not official in the universe, just a fun side story basically but doesn’t really count.

G66

So much over anylizing. Can’t people just watch the show and enjoy or not but not always look for alterior motives?

Kevin Bleasdale

I’m gay and none of the above thoughts and comments made by the producers came to mind when Culber was killed

Tay Dervis

Thank you. I know it can be a sensitive issue but story should come first.

I think this particular case is a lot of hype over nothing. It almost seems like they’re using the issue to try to generate a buzz around the show.

Honestly they should never had temporarily killed him off.

Gary 8.5

There isn’t going to be a mirror Culber.
They have been very clear on that.

More Troubles, More Dribbles

Amen

Trekboi

TokyoGaijin
Why do people ask questions when the answer is Obvious?
Yes the death would affect the community if they invested in the character & what it meant to the future, our role in the future & representation- we were promised gay characters but then they were buried- I’m disgusted.
we have not been represented but we have been exploited for ratings & shock value. Disgusted &specially at the Gays behind it.

Jack D

There is nothing “homophobic” about Disco Trek’s comment at all. Nothing. Zip, zero, nada. He or she makes a valid point.

Trekboi

I’m Gay- I got the Gay card & I say its Homophobic- Sorry unless you got the gay card you loose this one.
Move on, the more you argue your not Homophobic when you obviously are, you just look more Homophobic.

More Troubles, More Dribbles

Isn’t anything someone say’s that you disagree with homophobic?

Tay Dervis

What was homophobic about it?

Myrth

It really is not

AusTrekker

Completely agree – a ridiculous response that ultimately results in the restriction of creativity.

Jack

What response? There’s no response.

Holden

I understand why some people would be upset about his death. Anyone who doesn’t, doesn’t know the difficult history behind the politics of LGBTQ representation on TV. But I also think the writers were smart to get ahead of it. . . . Spoilers be damned!

DiscoTrek

then don’t write it in if you are immediately going to reverse it. It was a mistake all around

Jack

Who says they’re reversing it? Talk out of your own behind much?

Jack

(If you mean they’re changing their minds now out of political correctness — and I hate that bloody phrase, it’s usually just a way of complaining about treating people with respect — then, no, they’re not reversing anything. This all was written and filmed months ago.

If you mean that the doc’s story is not over — well, that’s not unusual in Sci Fi. And actually seems pretty creative. And the show, to put it mildly, is all about plot twists and reversals. It’s a long game.)

Holden

I don’t think that’s fair. If they had killed off the character then been silent about it, they would have been criticized at best for being insensitive. So they talk about it and then they are criticized for ruining the narrative. It’s a no win situation, and personally I give the benefit of the doubt here to the group that’s been historically marginalized . . . or worse.

Marja

Holden,
right on.

Jack

@Holden. Yeah, good point.

Tay Dervis

I’d rather them be criticized then be “vindicated” as opposed to coming out with this “never going to kill a gay” attitude.

Personally I think this is all an effort to create a buzz around the show using a sensitive issue. If so, it’s amoral.

Trekboi

We were finally on the show but just to be exploited.

DiscoTrek

My point, and I surely don’t see why people are being rude, is that they intentionally came out after the show and said he’s going to return. Why did they do that? Because he’s gay and they were afraid some people would be upset? It is my opinion that they should not have done that and allowed it to play out the way they wrote it and let people be surprised. Have they told us the outcome of Tyler and Burnham’s relationship because straight people are upset they may not be able to stay together? That’s an extreme example but it would be ridiculous as well for them to say don’t worry their relationship will continue.

Holden

I don’t mean to be rude to you, DiscoTrek, if you think that. So apologies is so. But I don’t think it’s fair to compare a rare homosexual relationship on TV to a much more common hetero one and imply it’s the same thing. One carries a lot more weight in terms of representation than the other. Again, no one should be upset over Culber’s death. It might work narratively just fine. But I’m really disappointed in how some people just seem so oblivious to, and even at times actively hostile towards, the ugly history underlining this issue (as Jack’s been articulating here).

Jack

@Holden Because they don’t know about it. They just see people complaining for no reason.

It’s happened with far, far more important issues like Black Lives Matter (“oh yeah, all lives matter” — yes, they do, but the reality is, not all groups of people are treated the same by police). It’s like people who say they’ve never seen racism in this country. Well, yeah, they probably haven’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening to other people.

Jack

@Disco Well, let’s see, you started with “juvenile” and “eff off.” Not a great starting point for respectful discourse.

You know what? I agree with you that they should have left it alone. But there’s a lot of history here (for a long time, shows were never allowed to have gay characters for very long) — and Harberts and Cruz are gay and aware of this. So yeah, they’re talking about it. Plus it’s a way to get publicity.

I just don’t agree with blaming all gays for this. There is no backlash.

DiscoTrek

I said the original idea to come on After Trek and pander to others was juvenile and if someone labels me as homophobic, ya I’m going to tell them to eff off. The attacks are old either way. LLAP

Gary 8.5

They didn’t pander.
They were offering reassurance that this wasn’t the end of Culber and Stamets story.

Jack

Read your comment. That’s not what you actually said. At all. You brought up the community etc.

What attacks? How were you labeled? Holy snowflake.

See, here we go. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Trekboi

Honey, you are Homophobic.

Trekboi

Speak for yourself I’m Gay & me & my friends are Backlashing- Glad many of my friends have now decided not to watch the show thanks to my posts letting them know what is happening.

Gary 8.5

No.
They had to be clear this wasn’t Culber’s Final storyline.

Trekboi

Disco Trek
Dear Homophobe, stop talking, your just digging the homophobic hole deeper. Its embarrassing.

Trekboi

The fact they knew how wrong it was that they had to set up pr beforehand just makes it worse.

Tek

Um, no one gay had a problem with the death. Had you read and comprehended, straight people wanted to make sure they weren’t being offensive. Like you are, asshat. That’s juvenile.

Jack D

Disco Trek’s comment is not offensive. It’s a valid point.

Trekboi

No One Gay? really- I’m one of Many i know & have heard from since they killed off the gay for a stunt.

Winkie

Speaking as a gay man, you’re right, I just want everyone to be treated equally regardless of orientation, gender, race etc., and the idea of checking whether or not it’s alright to kill a gay characters is, at best, contrary (others have said, ridiculous or juvenile but I prefer a less emotional term). Do we need to check with feminist organisations to determine if a female characters can be killed off. As someone else points out, if it’s organic to the story, just do it.

Tiger2

Exactly. I just find the whole thing weird. They killed off a character because it was organic to the story not for being gay. I am a black bleeding heart liberal who want to see ALL representation on TV and films and welcomed the fact we would have a gay couple on the show. But you can’t walk on egg shells either. Treating them differently that they can’t be killed off goes against what REAL representation is.

And what I find funny is they act like there can be no more gay characters on this show if they lose Stamets and Culber. I’m pretty sure they can. Now I get people are upset that they just got invested in a couple where the other half got killed off. I agree with that as well, but thats just part of story telling. Seeing how it all plays out is what makes it interesting. If Culber actually come back, fine, but I hope because he was never meant to die and not because they were afraid of some perceived backlash of killing off a gay character because why kill him off at all then?

That said though, it kind of tells you how long of a way we have come on this when there is now more backlash of killing off a gay character than having just having one in the first place.

Jack

What backlash? There’s none. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Tiger2

No you’re right there isn’t, but the fact that we are even DISCUSSING it kind of proves thats what they were expecting and why they got so in front of it in the first place. And look, you can even argue the fact that they DID get out in front of it so quickly is partly what calmed down any backlash to begin with but yes same time just the idea they would even be one is weird to me because as its been said over and over I think most people would simply see it as a character being killed off due to the story and not because of him being gay. I’m not gay, so yes for me maybe I would see it differently. But I still would think it would be ridiculous you now can’t kill off characters because they are minorities.

But its not to say people haven’t been upset about it. I have seen the ‘bury your gays’ line said in a few places over this but not the majority. Oddly I have never even heard that term before until this issue came up.

Jack

“Oddly I have never even heard that term before until this issue came up.”

Yeah, maybe you’re younger. It was a thing for a long time. The gay characters had to be punished. And it’s been Cruz and Harberts who have brought it up here — because they were aware of it.

Nobody is actually saying that this trope is happening here.

But now any story continuation that might have happened anyway even if he wasn’t a gay character, will now be blamed on the gays.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BuryYourGays

Trekboi

Both Gay characters have been punished on the show, one with death & the other with some spore psychosis

Jack

“Oddly I have never even heard that term before until this issue came up.”

Yeah, maybe you’re younger. It was a thing for a long time. The gay characters had to be punished. And it’s been Cruz and Harberts who have brought it up here — because they were aware of it.

Nobody is actually saying that this trope is happening here.

But now any story continuation that might have happened anyway even if he wasn’t a gay character, will now be blamed on the gays.

Jack

Sorry for repeats –the link had been caught by the filter.

Tiger2

No I’m not that young lol. I am in my 40s and of course I have seen the development of gay characters evolve in the media over time but I never heard that term until now. And IMO the last 10-15 years things have improved a lot since I can barely think of most shows I watch that doesn’t have a gay character and most of them are just played as regular people and not just ‘HEY LOOK HE’S GAY!” But of course they still have ways to go before it will feel more equal. Which is why its hard to believe it took something like Star Trek this long to even have one. But not so long ago when it was revealed Sulu would be gay in Beyond the internet went crazy. This very site people were very divided over it. Now of course a big issue was turning what everyone assumed was a straight character into a homosexual one but it did also show homophobia is still very much out there because there were SO many ignorant comments over it. But thankfully though when it was announced a gay character would appear on Discovery it it wasn’t that big of a deal outside of the usual ‘SJW’ comments you got from idiots, but luckily once they were shown on screen there was zero backlash over it. Which is why this whole discussion is bizarre. Gay writers created these characters in the first place so I don’t think they were just looking to create one for a few episodes just to kill them off. Especially since the fact Stamets is still there so no one is ‘burying’ anyone, a gay character is still very much part of the show and as I said I imagine there will simply be… Read more »

Jack

“But the fact that we are even DISCUSSING it kind of proves thats what they were expecting and why they got so in front of it in the first place.”

Or maybe it just proves that gay writers writing gay characters played by gay actors (which is all still pretty rare) are aware of the lousy history of gay portrayal on TV (and it’s not just gays, a bunch of groups have been badly portrayed). Because, yes, the kill your gays was a huge thing for a long time.

Tiger2

Jack I think we’re on the same page here. We’re not disagreeing, I think the writers and producers were just sensitive about it knowing they were going to kill off one of their first gay characters they just introduced 6 episodes ago in the first season. And I understand that, clearly, when its VERY easy to feel outraged over the internet.

I agree obviously there is nothing in the story for anyone to be outraged about and they probably are overreacting but of course I get they just didn’t know how people would feel until after the fact and wanted to be prepared. But no I don’t think people should be upset but as you point out they are aware of the history of gay characters in TV and films.

Jack

Fair enough. Sorry to ramble on. Personally, I was surprised and saddened by the death because I’d come to like the character. I did think “great, they’re killing him already? Is this what it looks like? (killing the gay)”

I wasn’t outraged or anything, but it was cool to see Harberts acknowledge that they had concerns about that.

And I get that most people reading this story don’t have any of that context.

Trekboi

You obviously live in a Straight bubble with no Gay Star Trek fans cause were not happy.

Trekboi

Um, pointing out your black as a defense against sounding homophobic is not very reassuring as black people are some of the most Homophobic you will meet- ironic how they missed the point of their whole civil rights movement.

Jack

Well, if the characters had been the first female characters in the run of a 52-year-old show — and female characters had been rare on shows — and you’d been mentioning this in all the publicity, then maybe, yes, you’d check. Or maybe you’d say you checked in order to get a little more publicity.

But you’re right, we’re at least a decade past the need for clearance from GLAAD.

But look, Harberts, Rapp and are in their 40s and in the industry — so, yeah, maybe they’re more aware of this trope than your average viewer. And maybe the Trek-powers-that-be are still a little sensitive to the fact that it took years for Trek to have a gay character, because the brand is, probably incorrectly, seen as being about diversity firsts. So instead of just being a normal character, they’ve made it an unnecessarily big deal.

But again, nobody is actually complaining about the death. And going from these comments, you’d think all the mean gays are conspiring to not let any gays die on TV. Just like other comments made it seem like all the mean gays are forcing Star Trek to add a gay character.

Jack

They didn’t check whether it was alright to kill him or not. Read the BuzzFeed story,

Jack

Okay, there’s no singular “community.”

But for years/decades, the gay was quickly killed in any (already very, very rare) same-sex romance storyline (or else the gay, more frequently, was the villain… and was also killed). Because morally, they couldn’t be allowed to live. (It also happened with interracial romance).

So the gay creative folks involved with the show are aware of that history because they grew up watching this stuff — and are saying this isn’t that.

I haven’t actually heard anybody complaining about it. The only people I’ve heard mention it are some straight critics.

And what creativity is being restricted? I don’t think that history is the reason they’re going to expand the story (in creative ways) — and it sounds like they planned it all along.

RaT

What DiscoTrek said. Also, the problem with ST since JJ came on board has been the pandering to this people group and using them.

Holden

This doesn’t have anything to do with JJ. But the fact that you think a more complex and realistic depiction of gays and lesbians is nothing more than “pandering to this people group” (?!?) is I think a needed reminder of why this is a more complex issue than some here are trying to claim.

RaT

The fact that you have to make a baseless accusation instead of ask for clarification tells me all I need to know about your opinion.

Holden

Please clarify for me how Discovery is “pandering” to a “people group.” Also, please clarify your definition of the word “pandering”. Finally, please clarify for me what you think the usual connotations of the word are when used in the context of how TV represents historically marginalized identities.

RaT

Pandering is when they make a big deal about including something in the show in order to make people think they are being accepted and empowered but what the company is actually doing is recruiting activists to promote their product.

You are one of those activists.

RaT

Hint: if it were not pandering they wouldn’t have been the focus of the promotion strategy. If it were just honest representation they would just be another crew member.

You go making people being sick of this nonsense about hate all you want. You’re just a tool.

Holden

Thank you for the clarification. On that note, I don’t share your cynicism or contempt (or desire for personal attacks), but I do stand completely by my original comment.

RaT

Yeah you don’t have a desire for personal attacks but you went out of your way to accuse me in your original comment, which you still stand by. #VacuousVirtueSignalling

Holden

Pandering is a loaded term, as you should know. It at best implies a dismissal of certain people as little more than a token group that ends up having the effect of remarginalizing them. And your use of the word was a reminder of how complex this issue is at a time when some people seem oblivious to why the Culber issue was complicated. But you’re not going to equate my point about your use of language, which I still stand by, with the juvenile name-calling you’ve been engaging in.

Jack

@Holden Well-argued. I wish I didn’t get so riled up about this stuff.

I think we need to figure out how to about this stuff without all these loaded terms.

I think a lot of people really don’t understand this. They’re not necessarily willfully oblivious. Fred Javelina made a great point in the Black Mirror review about how these topsy-turvy buzzwords (misandry, reverse racism) aren’t real things because there’s no institutionalized inequality for white dudes (and Marja pointed out how good they are at twisting words) — and I think some people really see the world this way and really don’t understand why women, gays, different racial groups might be angry.

Trekboi

Ah, Holden. Don’t feed the Homophobe

Jack

There were gay fans of Trek long before there were these two gay characters.

And, making a big deal is part of marketing — Roddenberry made a big deal, later, I think, about the interracial kiss. When they launched Voyager, they made a big deal of having a woman captain (because it was a first). Same with DS9 and Brooks. Before TNG, they made a big deal about having a blind character and a woman doctor and security chief (and Will Wheaton, if I recall). That’s what marketing is. And TV journalists write stories about the new/controversial.

But the shows stand on their own. On the shows themselves, it’s been relatively honest representation in all those cases (except maybe the blind part).

Trekboi

Oh shut up- go to some pro- trump site & complain about being the victim through people pandering to minorities

Marja

pandering to this people group and using them
I’m trying to puzzle this out, but have not figured out what you mean.
Pandering to which group?
“This people” means, what, exactly?

Jack D

I agreed. That’s the only reason they are in Discovery and the new movies. Pandering!

Jack

“They?” Who’s “they?” So who are they pandering to with the white, straight male characters?

I just don’t understand how people can be threatened by this.

Marja

Disco,
Methinks you are neither gay, nor a person of color. Because as Jordan Peele [“Get Out”] noted, “the first person to die in most every horror movie or action movie is the black guy: the one guy in the company of a bunch of white college kids, the one soldier, the one who’s the main character’s best friend.” [paraphrase]

If we add the very few gay characters seen in the movies [that is, gay without apology], in the old days they were “punished” in the script by being early to die.

So no, the community is not juvenile. They want representation on the screen, and they want role models for kids to look up to.

How would it have looked to young Whoopi Goldberg [so inspired by Nichelle Nichols] if Uhura had been killed off in the 10th episode of Star Trek [TOS]? And then replaced with some other character, quite probably neither black nor female?

DiscoTrek

The idea of having to tell everyone that it will be OK, he will be back was juvenile. Lord what does my race have to do with being pissed off they discolsed a spoiler when they didn’t have to?

Jack

Well, you mentioned “the community” in your first post. There’s no community behind this, I’d argue.

So all this is just because you don’t like spoilers? Well, that wasn’t particularly clear.

Trekboi

Stop talking to him, he has made clear his ignorance & homophobia- just ignore him.

Steve

Agree with you, and I’m gay. This is all getting a little bit embarrassing for gay people. Just treat them like you treat everyone else.

Mark Lynch

^^^
This. Just this…

Trekboi

That’s the whole point- they haven’t. Thay promised gay characters in the show, acted like it was progress they destroyed them in a few episodes.
No I don’t believe he is coming back, any more than the show is Prime or the Discovery klingons are a sub-race of Klingons that fit within the whole race. It’s all BS.

Tay Dervis

Totally agree. Why does sexual orientation take precedent over the story????

So basically no gay character will ever die.

What if I said “I’m straight and I love straight characters so I’d never permanently kill off one.” I’d get flamed, and probably rightly so.

Trekboi

Treated equally? does that mean Every Straight Couple/character being suddenly pointlessly killed? No there all alive & well.
Just another Homophobe rejoicing the Fags being killed off to make them happy.

Pynk

What a juvenile comment.

Anthony the other one

Good lord. When will people stop saying “GAY” before people’s Pronouns and Job descriptions? gay producer. gay writer. Gay man. How about just Man. writer. Or Producer? Once that happens and people are just people then there will be Equality. You don’t hear Straight Writer, Straight Doctor, Straight Man anywhere! I really would hate it if someone described me as “Gay _______”. It’s not descriptive of my job, my identity, my hopes, dreams, or state of being 99.9999% of the time. Does anyone still say “ Black Communicaions Officer Uhura” “Asian Helmsman Sulu”? No. And they have not for about 45 years. Lets agree to move on and stop making GAY a thing.

Tiger2

This is a great point and normally I would agree. But thats what happens when you are the first of anything in society. If they weren’t the first gay couples on Star Trek but was the tenth then it would probably be different. But yes in time that will change just like it did with characters like Sulu and Uhura but I imagined if we had the internet in the 60s then they would’ve been called everything from the colored communications officer to the oriental pilot. No one would ever think to describe them that way today of course but yes thats how progress works.

Danpaine

Thank you, Anthony the Other One. Well put.

Sheesh, reading the rest of this thread has been exhausting. Just spin a well-written Trek yarn, for God’s sakes.

Trekboi

Maybe in 45 years we won’t need GAY- But WE Do.

The River Temarc

I’m fully supportive of Discovery’s efforts to show a diverse crew, but I don’t know how I feel about this. Space travel is dangerous in real life, to say nothing of Star Trek; I don’t see why advocacy groups should get a veto over character deaths onscreen. A diverse cast means diverse character deaths, as it were.

I also disliked the immediate revelation that Culber’s death is “temporary” (although my guess is that the resurrection is really Mirror Culber, since they showed us a costume for Mirror Culber on After Trek). That just screams the death was a publicity stunt.

Jack

Who says they’re getting a veto? I wish people knew what they were talking about.

GLAAD exists because for decades, gays were portrayed, without fail, as perverts, criminals and pedophiles in the media and in entertainment. GLAAD’s job was to point out that it didn’t mesh with reality. Luckily, they don’t need to do that as much anymore. Sometimes they’re approached to consult on how to portray gays as realistic characters. But there was no veto.

And literally nobody is complaining about the death.

Trekboi

Really- so me & all the people not happy about Star trek using the old Punish the gays to escape straight-hate backlash are “Nobody”
Maybe I should change my name to “GayNobody”

Jack

Who says they’re getting a veto? I wish people knew what they were talking about.

GLAAD exists because for decades, gays were portrayed, without fail, as, well, really bad people (the filter isn’t letting me use the p-word) in the media and in entertainment. GLAAD’s job was to point out that it didn’t mesh with reality. Luckily, they don’t need to do that as much anymore. Sometimes they’re approached to consult on how to portray gays as realistic characters. But there was no veto.

And literally nobody is complaining about the death.

Marja

Well, I was shocked and disappointed when it happened, mainly because I like Culber as a character and I like his romance with Stamets. I like that there was a perfectly romantic, normal relationship between two men.
[snif]
Now it’s over.
Unless ….

Jack

@Marja. Yeah, I was too. I guess I was, upset at this “juvenile” comment about an entire community, talking more about organized responses. There was no campaign, etc.

But yeah, I was upset by the death and did wonder why they killed him off.

Ashley

To anyone complaining about his death or calling it pointless, consider that maybe the reason for it was to push Stamets into a reaction which furthers the overall plot… That would make the death entirely necessary.

Jack

Again, who’s complaining?

Holden

Well, Trekboi, for one! There is also some (albeit minimal) disappointment expressed on other sites. It’s not literally no one. But again I go back to my earlier point that there would have been more anger if DISC hadn’t made the aggressive PR push they did. And that said, I think the real backlash here to the imagined backlash out there has been disproportionate. The writers had legit reasons for making the choice they did. It’s not going to make or break DISC’s overall quality. People need to get over it.

Jack

Sure, but it’s no like GLAAD or lobby groups or anybody prominent is having a fit about it.

This backlash stuff is mainly PR. They’ve got people talking about it. And they’re teasing people to keep watching.

Tiger2

Oh yeah people are definitely complaining, but yes they are in the minority for sure. And look, although *I* don’t think its a big deal I can kind of understand why it would bother others. I don’t think they SHOULD feel bothered but we’re human, we’re going to feel differently about different things. I’m not trying to shove how they feel away but no I don’t think anyone should feel offended. If that was the case then they can never kill off any minority character and I say that as a minority.

Trekboi

Ha- not just me. Dissapointed that the people I know were upset are not saying anything but who wants to speak up & be called a whiny sensitive type who needs pandering too?

Marja

Ashley, based on one of the ‘upcoming episode photos’ I’d say you’re exactly right.

Gary 8.5

Good point Ashley.

Sanity

This is absolutely insane. Is every and each social, economic, religious, ethnic, gender grouping going to be consulted about every move made on the show too?
Star Trek is supposed to look forwards, this is very much medievil in nature.

Fritz

I was unaware of this “trope,” because I don’t watch much television anymore. As others have pointed out, Culber will undoubtedly return in some form, so this may not be as tragic as we think. They’ll probably pull a Tasha Yar on us.

On the subject of tragic relationships, Star Trek has had many, with another on the horizon with Burnham and Tyler/Voq. I can’t see that ending well. Perhaps it will be more tragic than Stamets and Culber. We’ll have to wait and see.

In either case, I don’t think there’s any intentional harmful commentary against gays or people of color at work here. This is simply what Star Trek does. Take TNG for example. It has the reputation for being bright, clean and optimistic. And yet nearly every character lost a loved one in the course of that show and the movies.

Space is a big fridge. It’s going to happen.

Jack

It’s mainly a pre-2000s thing.

Fritz

The trope, you mean?

Jack

Yep. Not entirely. But it’s gotten better in recent years.

Fritz

I see. Thank you.

Jack

So look — this story needs context of what the trope is (there are various quotes from Cruz and Harberts out there on it) because, as it’s written, it’s not clear WHY the show worried that there might be a backlash.

The story also needs to be clear that there wasn’t a backlash.

Instead, the story makes it sound like gays complain about everything and the show was terrified of gays and GLAAD — and thus, we’re getting the reactions we’re getting here in these comments.

So Google it (ex. “Bury your gays” on TV Tropes and “History of homosexuals in American Film” on Wikipedia). For years and years, until relatively recently, in the rare case that there were gays portrayed at all in movies and on TV, they were shown as misfits, criminals, risks to society and degenerates and had to be punished, usually by death. Later on, they were killed so they wouldn’t have to have a regular gay character.

So there weren’t a lot of natural deaths organic to the story — the gays were the red shirts or the promiscuous girl in the slasher movie. They had to die.

Cruz and Harbetts, as gay people in their 40s who are also in the industry, grew up with this crap and are aware of this trope. So they’re talking about it.

But that’s not made clear here.

So instead, we get all these comments from people who don’t know what they’re talking about accusing gay people of asking for special treatment. And nobody is.

DiscoTrek

very well made points. The problem here is that they highlighted the issue. They thought they had to say something because of the points you just made. But, I don’t think they had to. And in doing so, released a spoiler that goes against everything they have done until now. I thought it would’ve done more for the LGBTQ community if they would’ve treated this the same way they would treat any characters death.

Jack

Maybe he’ll still die — maybe Stammets will try to bring him back and it will all end badly. Who knows?

dnwilliams

The death of any other character doesn’t have the same baggage. Context is important here. They killed of Philippa Georgiou without any concern, for instance. Just blindly treating everything and everyone the same way isn’t ever going to work, because experiences people have are radically different, as are issues that affect them. Gay characters get killed off in stuff, it’s a thing: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BuryYourGays

Like, imagine if you will, a world where there are no white guys in Trek, then the first white guy is introduced and he’s an overweight, dumb hick. Also, that’s how you’re used to seeing white guys portrayed all the time. You’d be, if not angry, let down.

Holden

Perfectly said, Jack. This needs to be reiterated 1000 times over. I think I’m just now starting to see how overlooked this history is for many. What also needs to be said is that if you are part of a historically marginalized group that is rarely represented on TV then those rare representations carry A LOT of freaking weight–both in terms of how that group sees itself and how others see them. It’s important. There are good reasons why some in the LGBTQ community are sensitive to this issue. I hope more people are starting to understand this and why the Culber issue is a complex one.

Jack

Thanks. And not trying to blame the story or get over-preachy (too late) on this. The original BuzzFeed story adds more context. And it talks about Cruz’s personal reaction. But here, the GLAAD headline (it’s mentioned, briefly, deep in the BuzzFeed story) without context is going to cause some to assume.

So yeah, I’m a little sensitive to accusations that any group is trying to stifle discussion, especially in the current climate.

But at the end of the day, it’s just a TV show.

Elliot

Thankyou for this! I had no idea Culber was being killed and hadn’t heard any of the press that tried to get out in front of it, I was livid when he died, I was like ffs another bury your gays storyline, it totally took me out of the show. To be honest no matter how they dial it back they still killed him, that visceral impact of another gay guy being sacrificed early, yeah you can say well it made sense storyline wise, but why write it that way? Why not have Tilly be working down there, getting killed intervening on Culbers behalf when Voq loses it? Why not have Stamets wake up and save him at the last minute because sensing his distress is enough to bring him round? There are any number of ways to write that scene why does it have to be kill the in a happy relationship person of colour gay guy? For me it was a worse feeling because they had promoted the show as being inclusive, come watch our inclusive show with a gay couple and then ahhh hehe psych tricked you we killed one of em early. If it was 3 or 4 seasons in and they felt like they had run out of storylines for either or both you could see it as quite a good ending an impactful death, but this early on, how does it look anything other than bury your gays rearing its ugly head? I’m baffled as to the choice, given the writer and Cruz knew about the trope and that they are gay, why did they choose to go this way with the story, why wouldn’t they want better given they’ve both had to put up with that crap representation growing up. The one thing… Read more »

Legate Damar

I’m glad that Culber is coming back, but I wish that they hadn’t told us that. I would rather have been surprised.

Mark Lynch

Yep, couldn’t agree more. It is like the writers are scared of a backlash or something… Whether we agree with a creative decision or not, it is theirs to take.
Things like this can not and should not be done by committee…

Martin

I wonder how often Ira Steven Behr and Rick Berman called up the NAACP on every story decision that involved Sisko or Jake.

Jack D

Luckily back than the nation wasn’t hysterical over SJW PC lunacy.

Jack

Well, if they’d killed off Sisko and Jake after 10 episodes, they might have. Especially if they’d been the first black characters on Trek.

And what’s the lunacy here? I grew up without a single gay character on TV who wasn’t a killer, creep, child molester or (later) comic relief and who wasn’t instantly killed — and you start to look at yourself that way, especially when society (church, the news, politicians) is telling you that you shouldn’t be here (and shouldn’t have a job, live in a neighbourhood or be in a relationship).

So Star Trek after 52 years and hundreds of characters gets a gay couple and kills half of it pretty quickly. I think it’s fair for the gay writer to check to see that they’re not promoting some of those stereotypes (we can’t have more than one gay/black/etc character). Was it necessary? I don’t think so. Were they covering their asses, maybe? But so what? Big deal. They asked — GLAAD liked it (and Cruz is a former GLAAD spokesman, so there’s that) end of story. Would they have run it the same way if they hadn’t? Probably. So where’s the lunacy?

And you’re right, it shouldn’t matter. But it still does.

Mark Lynch

You know, I really don’t care one way or another whether a character is gay, straight, bi, black, white, grey etc.
What I do care about is that they are written well and make me care enough to investment my thoughts and feelings into their character.
I did feel shocked when Dr. Culber had his neck snapped. If they somehow bring him back, I hope it is done in a thoughtful way that serves the story and the character and not pandering to any groups.

Bring the hateful comments on…

This was the first episode where I actually felt the show is starting to feel like Star Trek. And I believe that a lot of that is because our boy Johnny Frakes directed. :)

Jack

This was all filmed months ago – so what pandering would there be?

Ian

The death annoyed me because the cast of this show is already tiny, not because he’s 50% of the franchise’s first gay couple. If it gets reversed, that’s fine. They’ve already made more than enough statements to the effect of “no one on this show is safe.” We get it, just make a good show please.

Martin

I just really wish his return had not been spoiled. I think the death was a great dramatic element. If it is reversed, I hope that it isn’t a stupid reset button reversal and serves another dramatic purpose in the story. if the purpose is purely political and doesn’t serve the story – then that would be weak.

As for the cast being too small, I get that – it does seem smaller than previous, but is it? I get where it feels that way, but you have Burnham, Lorca, Ash, Tilly, Saru, and Stamets. That’s 6 – Culber has been to the side as more of a guest star. So it’s one main character less than the other Treks. It seems like we have a number of guests coming and going just like the other shows. But it does feel smaller. Perhaps it is the story revolving around a non-officer. And we don’t have an engineer, and was Culber CMO? Kayla has so very little to do or say compared to helmsmen of the past. Aryim also could get a bit more to do.

Is anyone else suspicious that he Culber will not be brought back to life and his relationship with Stamets will not continue to be part of the show? There are a lot of ways Wilson Cruz could “return” for an episode or two but the character still be dead. If that’s the case it will be a loss for the show, not only because of he was gay, but because the relationship was one of the great elements of the show, and one of the only depictions of a mature romantic relationship in all of Trek. I’ll accept it–because we have to admit the death was a necessary step in the Tyler storyline and is setting up a lot of things for the future. But it will still be a big loss.

PEB

As a gay dude, I didn’t have as big of a problem with this as some seem to have. I get why some people may feel “betrayed” but I trust these writers with dealing with tough subjects, and as a someone who also lost the love of my life (to the Iraq war), I’m interested to see how they deal with the loss that Stammets is going to ultimately feel. There’s that helplessness and what it means to feel left behind when you have to more forward with your career and with your life without the person who you expected to be right there with you growing old with you.

They could go in a different direction with Stammets’ condition and what he does or sees or feels from Culber but either way, I’m interested. It’s what I liked about the New Voyage episode Blood and Fire, and the story the novels expanded on with Lt. Hawk from the Enterprise E.

Jack D

“As a gay dude”…T.M.I.

Tiger2

Stop trolling man.

Jack

Wow. I’m sorry for your loss. And you’re right — this story *should* be heartbreaking. Right now, we’ve had no reaction, from any character — just a sudden death. I’m interested in seeing how they handle Stammets’ loss too.

Trekboi

They don’t care, they just wanted the Gay guy off camera as quickly & quietly as possible. it’s disgusting.

Moto

I always watched Star Trek for the science fiction, never for what “message” was trying to be delivered, if there was one. To those who say that was the whole point behind Star Trek, no; the point was to make money. Besides the important cause of racial inclusivity, I didn’t notice anyway. I’m a spaceship and robot (or android) kind of guy. Now when I just want to watch new science fiction, I also have to be presented with two dudes touching and kissing each other. We can’t just enjoy some science fiction, we have to have a vast minority of the population’s attempt to ingratiate themselves. This attempt will fail with humankind at large.

Kirk1701

You realize science fiction is allegorical, right? Frankenstein is considered one of the first science fiction novels. It certainly laid out the structure of sci-fi as we know it. In that novel, the allegory is man playing god. You cannot have a sci-fi story that doesn’t speculate about current philosophical, social, scientific, or even spiritual ideas. Further, no piece of fiction is free of “message.” There is no such thing as a simple story about robots. Even documentaries about AI tackle the implications of such technologies. All writers/creators have a clearly evident point of view, even subconsciously. I find your evident disgust regarding gay men suspicious. I will say your position is clearly homophobic, in that you are clearly afraid of homosexual men. You also give us your greatest fear: that homosexual men wish to “ingratiate themselves.” Firstly, your claim that LGBTQ2 is a vast minority of the population is specious. There are so many different definitions, but from the context of this tv show, I suspect that same-sex couples worry you most. Here in Canada, 1% of all married couples is same-sex. I suspect the numbers are similar in the USA, UK, and Europe. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016007/98-200-x2016007-eng.cfm As for ingratiating themselves, it’s not clear what you mean by this. In what way are same-sex couples any threat to you? Generally speaking, they work and pay taxes the same as anyone. They participate in politics and community organizations. I’m not seeing a big difference between these couples and say, my married family members. You don’t have to be presented with two men kissing. I personally cannot watch snakes on tv. They upset me at a visceral level. But I can still watch Planet Earth. I simply close my eyes or skip the episode. Snakes are filmed because many other people enjoy the… Read more »

Jack

And this is exactly why this matters.

Trekboi

The point of Star Trek was not to Make Money- not even desilu was concerned with that or they would have cut the show immediately- it was about something, it meant something to people & the work was important- so sad you see only in $$$

Jack D

You have got to be kidding. Wow, you can really tell a bunch of SJW PC lunatic Millenials are running this show. Consulting GLAAD, how absurd.

Jack

Somebody needs a hug.

0dkinWood

Yep. The propoganda content must pass inspection for doctrinal purity.

Trekboi

Do all you Homophobes read from the same book of responses?
Minorities fighting for equality= PC/SJW so you can try to dismiss them after branding them like that?

Phil

Well…I see we have a long way to go.

Moto

And it is a journey that will never end. As much as it’s anyone’s choice to do what they please behind closed doors, in the political and social realm, homosexuality will never be fully accepted and welcomed by all the nations of the Earth, despite where the Western style mentality wants to lead everyone.

Jack

This wins the internet today.

JamJam

If there’s backlash for INCLUDING a gay character, there will likely be backlash for REMOVING a gay character. This is the world we live in and we’re still learning and growing as a society. To say a certain reaction to his death is ignorant or doesn’t make sense or isn’t equal… you can spin the exact same onto those who oppose his inclusion in the first place. This is our society. We are all still growing and we will get to a place where there is no reaction to either inclusion or removal. LLAP

LordCheeseCakeBreath

So freaking stupid and lame! Consulting GLAAD! I had to bail on Discovery. It doesn’t feel like trek. I’m a HUGE fan of Orville! The way they tackle the gay stuff with Borrus is brilliant and thought proving. The way they speak to all modern issues is amazing. The way it’s handled in Discovery is awckward and forced. Terrible.

SanFranDisco

Hahaha man you have it sooo backwards. No wonder you thought the discussion of LGBTQ issues in Orville was “thought provoking.” Nobody else really did, especially not within the LGBTQ community.

More Troubles, More Dribbles

Are the show-runners really going to walk on egg shells every time they want to do anything with this gay character? Heaven forbid the gay guy get’s whacked in the first-season. Since when are gays so sensitive that their beloved gay character has to be treated with kid-gloves. I thought gays were intellectual enough to understand- especially when previously warned on multiple occasions buy the show-runners that NO death of the a main cast member is off the table.
Would any other actor, or character be given this treatment? Why can’t Stamets fall in love with another gay character. That would be more realistic than bringing back a gay character just to placate the feelings of gay rights organizations. Good grief, what has happened to our beloved franchise?
I love Discovery, but with all this so-called diversity being crammed down my throat, and the worst streaming service on the planet (CBS: All Access) I’m finding it very hard to enjoy!

SanFranDisco

You can’t say they’re bringing him back to placate anyone, because the season was written all at once. It’s not like there was an outcry and they decided to bring him back (like Bobby Ewing was).

No, they only *revealed* he was coming back because they were concerned about backlash for killing a gay character, because minorities, particularly blacks and gays, have a troubled history as being fodder for shows like this.

We don’t need to see more of Dr. Culber. Quite annoying guy.

SanFranDisco

I will admit he wasn’t a favorite character of mine but I’ll attribute that to knowing so little about him. Narratively speaking that’s why his death didn’t really do much for me.

At the same time I have no issue with him coming back, as long as he becomes something more than the resident doctor and love interest for Starmets. Maybe do a Culber-focused episode that lets us get to know him then we can judge if he’s a good character or not.

Cody

Epic love story? What show are they watching?

Trekboi

They lie about everything to sell the show how they can & believe their own BS. He won’t even return.

Sterling Archer

They should have consulted with WRITERS. How about you start there?

Dom

Oh no! We didn’t mean it!!

Just let the story tell itself. Some mad identity politics panic on behalf of the programme-makers is spoiling surprises to come.

If Culber is dead, then fine. It was a good end for a supremely smart character who figured things out seconds too late and in the wrong company.

It reminds me of Amazon reviews of the ending of season one of The Man in the High Castle where people complained about a cop-out when it’s clear that it’s a mysterious cliffhanger!

People should relax and let the story unfold.

Trekboi

“Recent plot developments with Star Trek: Discovery’s groundbreaking same-sex couple created some concerns” How was a freak/victim & another victim disposed of with barely a mention & no respect “Groundbreaking”?
They saw the bad reaction from the homophobes in the audience & wrote the couple out to make them happy.
Disgusting.

Trekboi

I don’t believe them for a second, there have been so many lies to deliberately mislead & pacify fans I can’t trust anything these “people” say.
& to be clear Mirror Culber doesn’t count.

dswynne

…Um, why? If the producer’s of the show were concerned about the reaction of the doctor’s death, then perhaps another character could have been the one to have gotten killed? Just saying.