#ReleaseTheKiss: Lez Hang Out Podcast Calls On Universal Pictures to Stop Queerbaiting Bechloe Fans

Last Monday, the ladies over at Lez Hang Out, released their sixth installment of their “Should’ve Been Gay” podcast segment, highlighting the subtexted lesbian relationship of Bechloe in the Pitch Perfect trilogy. Now, this lesbian podcast is leading the charge in calling on Universal Pictures to “#ReleaseTheKiss” in one final plea to make Bechloe a canon relationship and end queerbaiting the LGBTQ+ community for promotional purposes.

“Bechloe” refers to the non-canon queer relationship between two seemingly straight characters, Beca (portrayed by Anna Kendrick) and Chloe (portrayed by Brittany Snow). From the moment Chloe corners Beca in the shower to sing “Titanium” all soapy and naked in the first Pitch Perfect film, the Bechloe ship set sail. Fans have long been awaiting the day to see the two of them get together, as both romantic and sexual tension grew between the characters in the first two films of the series.

As Pitch Perfect 3 grew near, Bechloe fans found hope, when official social media accounts for both the movie and the Studio behind the film franchise, Universal Pictures (and it’s international branches), began to outwardly and purposely acknowledge this ship. They baited the queer community with gifs and clips with some serious gay feels and purposely asked “Will they or won’t they?”


“The Studio didn’t want to put it in the finished movie.”

 

Now when the third and final movie hit theaters in late December, the queer community was not surprised that the big Bechloe moment that they were subtly promised was nowhere to be seen. In fact, quite the opposite occurred. Chloe’s character finally got a love interest, in the form of a hetero-stereotypical, masculine military man.

 

(The gif on the left is the original posted to Pitch Perfect’s Snapchat. The gif on the right is a fan edit, reversing the original gif, but still displays Pitch Perfect’s Snapchat Sponsor Ad, which we thought was important to prove our point!)

What was surprising, however, is that in late November, Rebel Wilson told fans that a Bechloe kiss was in fact filmed on the last day of shooting Pitch Perfect 3. Wilson plays the character of Fat Amy in all three Pitch Perfect films.

“The Studio didn’t want to put it in the finished movie,” Wilson is heard saying in the video below. She goes on to say that she hopes the kiss scene ends up on the DVD (presumably in the Bonus Features).

So fans waited until the movie was finally released on DVD on March 20th, with one final shred of hope for Bechloe to become canon. But once again, the Studio crushed the queer community by not adding the now infamous kiss to the bonus content.

The timing of Lez Hang Out‘s release of this particular episode was perfect, seeing as the DVD was released less than a week prior. A special surprise awaited listeners when one of the “Barden Bella’s,” Shelley Regner who played Ashley throughout the Pitch Perfect trilogy, joined hosts Leigh Holmes Foster and Ellie Brigida to discuss why these films “Should’ve Been Gay.”

Regner confirmed once again, that a Bechloe kiss did in fact exist on film and that Rebel Wilson is a huge Bechloe fan. “It is very true. It is a real thing and we actually really wanted it to be in the movie!” Regner explained.

“We [the cast] were all anxiously waiting for the final scene, when everyone goes off to their prospective lovers. There was an outtake, and we were hoping it wouldn’t be an outtake… there were really fingers crossed,” Regner continued. When Regner and Lez Hang Out recorded this episode, the DVD of Pitch Perfect 3 had not yet been released, and she echoed Wilson’s hope that the Bechloe kiss would be added as bonus material.

“It’s pretty steamy, I’m not gonna lie,” Regner teased. She went on to explain to the ladies of Lez Hang Out that the kiss was filmed on the last day of shooting, as the majority of the cast had already wrapped filming. As they waited for Kendrick and Snow to finish up, the remaining cast received a simultaneous text message of a video of them filming the Bechloe kiss scene. The cast was shocked and excited, just as all fans would be.

Holmes Foster asked Regner about the backlash Pitch Perfect 3 received after not making the relationship between the characters a reality, despite all the teasing and alluding that was given to Bechloe becoming canon during the promoting of the film.

“They did use a lot of that material for the promotional, which would allude to you thinking that maybe this is the film where they kind of [go there],” Regner acknowledged. “So I totally understand a bit of the backlash, and the let down. That’s what the trailer and a teaser are for, to kind of show you what to expect.”

Regner goes on to joke that maybe the world just simply isn’t ready for Bechloe to be canon and to see it in mainstream media, but she does acknowledge that things are getting better. And it is true. We are seeing more and more queer relationships on TV and movies. But it’s not enough. GLAAD reports that in the current TV 2017-2018 season, only 6.5% of regular characters identify as LGBTQ, which is up from last year’s 4.8%, but this is still no where near accurately representing the queer population.

Unfortunately, queerbaiting is still very much a problem in the media and what Universal Pictures did while promoting Pitch Perfect 3 is a perfect example of this.

We asked the ladies behind the #ReleaseTheKiss campaign, if they believed it was Universal Pictures’ intent all along to queerbait the LGBTQ+ community, by using the Bechloe ship for campaign purposes without ever having any intent of giving fans what they wanted.

“It’s hard to say what their intent was because we weren’t there when they were making these decisions, but from the promotional materials it seemed like they were using Bechloe to get people to come see the movie and the message is clear from the actual film and bonus material that they didn’t want to ever fully go there. I do think there is unfortunately far more pressure on studios to be “inclusive” but not “too inclusive” and for them one lesbian character was enough to fill their diversity quota and three queer women were two too many,” Brigida said.

Holmes Foster continued, “As far as the marketing goes, I’d like to believe that a lot of studios and networks don’t really understand what queerbaiting is and how hurtful it is to communities.”

The “one lesbian character” referenced by Brigida is the character Cynthia Rose, played by Ester Dean. Cynthia Rose is an out lesbian, who borders on predatorial, further perpetuating the “Predatory Gay” stereotype (but that’s a story for another time). It should be noted, however, that a lesbian wedding is referenced for Cynthia Rose, but once again, Universal Pictures missed the opportunity to show positive queer representation on screen by cutting this scene from the script of the third film.

Now, Bechloe is certainly not the first non-canon queer ship in mainstream media that fans have latched onto, that studios have used to bait audiences. So why then is the #ReleaseTheKiss so important?

Holmes Foster explained, “I think that when studios mishandle events like this and are clearly still afraid to put content out there if it’s in any way queer, it really creates a narrative where that content is “shameful” or “inappropriate” in some way. Why hide it otherwise?”

Brigida agreed, adding “I remember feeling like being gay was something to hide because of the way that people in my community talked about people who everyone knew were gay. My aunt and her girlfriend were “roommates” or “gal pals.” I think it’s especially important for younger audiences to see that a lesbian kiss scene isn’t something to hide from your audience, but to embrace and share with an audience who so desperately want to see themselves represented.”

Queer Quality agrees with the Lez Hang Out ladies and fully support their #ReleaseTheKiss campaign, urging Universal Pictures to give the fans what they deserve and to stop queerbaiting the LGBTQ+ community.

You can join the #ReleaseTheKiss campaign in several ways.

First, click the link above to head to Lez Hang Out‘s Twitter page, where you can like and retweet the Bechloe image, using the hashtag “#ReleaseTheKiss.” The more people who do this, the more likely Universal Pictures will respond.

Secondly, if you want to rock some cool gear and help spread the message of this campaign, head over to Lez Hang Out‘s Merch Store where you can buy a “#ReleaseTheKiss” T-shirt, mug, stickers and so much more! 20% of all proceeds for these items will be donated to LGBT Fans Deserve Better, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving LGBT representation in media (much like Queer Quality).

releasethekissmerch

And lastly, tell your friends and family to do the same! It is so important to remember that you do not need to be queer to support queer representation.

Lez Hang Out and Queer Quality will both be heading to ClexaCon this week, where we will continue to discuss the importance of LGBTQ+ positive representation in the media.

It is a tiresome road that those who advocate for change must travel. What comes next for the queer community is dependent upon those who are willing to stand up to the people in power and demand safe and friendly representation. The “Bury Your Gays” trope and queerbaiting for an audience must end. #ReleaseTheKiss is a step in the right direction and we applaud and join the Lez Hang Out podcast in their efforts to bring quality queer representation to the forefront of mainstream media.

You can check out the Lez Hang Out podcast on iTunes and LezHangOutPod.com.

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