Spoilers for the first 15 minutes of “It: Chapter Two” follow.
On Friday, LGBT news and entertainment outlet Pride published an article warning people about a scene from “It: Chapter Two,” the new Stephen King horror adaptation, in which a gay couple are savagely beaten, and one is tossed over a bridge.
The article, titled, “Trigger Warning: It Chapter Two Features a Graphic Gay Hate Crime,” shares a portion of a critic review discussing the plot point, as well as several tweets from LGBT Twitter users offering their personal “trigger warnings” for fellow filmgoers.
Slate’s Jeffrey Bloomer also lamented the scene in a piece titled, “It: Chapter Two’s Gay-Bashing Scene Exploits a Real-Life Killing for a Cheap Shock.”
After tweeting out his warning, Twitter user @TheSalingerSays received both support and backlash.
WARNING GAYS AND LGBTQ PEOPLE GOING TO SEE IT 2: THE OPENING SCENE INVOLVES THE BRUTALIZATION OF 2 GAY MEN AND THE MURDER OF ONE OF THEM. I FELT SICK AND IT THREW OFF MY ENTIRE MOVIE EXPERIENCE. I JUST WANT YOU TO BE AWARE.
I AM NOT SAYING DON’T SEE THE MOVIE. I AM SIMPLY WARNING THOSE WHO MAY BE HARMED BY IT.
User @ericgomez agreed with Salinger, writing: “It was awful to watch. Did it really add anything to the movie? It didn’t.”
Salinger replied: “It didn’t. They could have easily changed the scene. I get it stuck to the book but the book was also written in like 1985!”
However, user @OlBanjo shared a portion of an interview with Variety in which director Andy Muschietti revealed why the scene is so important to the film.
It was very important to me because it is of relevance. … I probably wouldn’t have included it if it wasn’t in the book, but it was very important for Stephen King. When he wrote it, he was talking about the evil in the human community. He was talking about how dark humans can get in a small American town…For me, it was important to include it because it’s something that we’re still suffering. Hate crimes are still happening. No matter how evolved we think society is going, there seems to be a winding back, especially in this day and age where these old values seem to be emerging from the darkness.
Actor Jessica Chastain, who plays Beverly Marsh, echoed the sentiment: “I think you need that scene because he writes about the darkness that’s under the surface. The dirt under the fingernails of these small towns or of mankind. That’s what ‘It’ represents. It’s the darkness of human behavior.”
This wasn’t enough of an explanation for Salinger, who replied to the tweet:
Okay? Stephen King isn’t a gay man so I don’t care what he deems as important when utilizing our trauma in his books. LGBTQ people know this is reality (not the killing). It was simply unnecessary. Yet it’s in the movie and I’m just trying to warn others. No need to boycott.
User @Keone_c808 used the tweet to wonder about fragility in the community:
When did our community go from being strong and standing up to real-life attacks & persecution, to being harmed by fictional scenes of violence? It’s not real. Get a grip. If they start adding “No LGBT people were harmed in the making of this film” at the end, I’m done.
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh also replied: “It’s an R rated horror movie. Did you not expect to see anyone die? Or were you hoping to watch the violent deaths of exclusively straight people?”
The murder of Adrian Mellon in “IT” is actually based on a real life case. According to Bangor Daily News, in July 1984, Charlie Howard was “murdered by three local teenagers … who attacked him and threw him off the State Street Bridge into the Kenduskeag Stream canal,” in Bangor, Maine.
King, who lived in Bangor at the time, was deeply disturbed by the murder, and included it in his novel.
King said of the killing: “It was fresh in my mind, and fitted my idea of Derry as a place where terrible things happened … maybe needless to say, I was outraged. It was a hate crime.”