‘Heartstopper’ star Joe Locke says media interest in cast’s love lives is “gross”

The actor criticised "the idea of a tabloid being interested in a teenager’s love life," after his co-star Kit Connor felt pressured into coming out publicly as bisexual last month

Heartstopper star Joe Locke has spoken out about tabloid interest in the teenage cast’s sexual identities, describing the fixation as “gross and perverted”.

The actor appears alongside Kit Connor in the hit Netflix show, which was praised for its storytelling and portrayal of a young LGBTQ+ romance.

Connor left Twitter back in September, when some fans accused him of queerbaiting after he was seen holding hands with Maia Reficco in Paris, before briefly returning to the social media platform last month (October 31) to come out publicly as bisexual.

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“Back for a minute. I’m bi. Congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself,” the actor tweeted. “I think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.”

Speaking to British GQ in an interview with both actors, Locke said that has also become frustrated in the speculation surrounding his love life, as well as those of his co-stars.

“The idea of a tabloid being interested in a teenager’s love life is really gross,” he said. “Someone making money out of rumours about who I – an 18-year-old boy – might be liking or talking to, it’s really gross and perverted. I’m 18, I don’t know who I am yet.”

Connor received support from Heartstopper creator Alice Oseman after coming out, who further criticised those who had watched the show but not learned anything from it.

“I truly don’t understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes,” she tweeted. “I hope all those people are embarrassed as FUCK. Kit you are amazing.”

Heartstopper
Kit Connor in ‘Heartstopper’. CREDIT: Netflix

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Appearing on the Reign with Josh Smith podcast in May, Connor noted that he didn’t need to explain his sexuality and that it is “dangerous” to speculate on social media.

“In the cast, I’m 18 and we have a few people in their early 20s, and even with those older members of the cast, we’re all so young, and to start speculating about our sexualities and maybe pressuring us to come out when maybe we’re not ready,” he said.

He continued: “I mean, for me, I just feel like I’m perfectly confident and comfortable in my sexuality, but I’m not too big on labels and things like that. I’m not massive about that. And I don’t feel like I need to label myself, especially not publicly.

“It’s 2022, it feels a bit strange to make assumptions about a person’s sexuality just based on hearing their voice or seeing their appearance. I feel like that’s a very interesting, slightly problematic, sort of assumption to make.”

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