There is a strange phenomenon out there in certain corners of fandom knows as “Shipping” whereby fans like to pair up fictional characters into romantic relationships and ship them as being together. A particularly prevalent type of shipping is when two previously straight characters are shown as having secret homosexual tendencies.

Whether it is Supergirl and Batwoman, or Frodo and Sam from Lord Of The Rings, these shipping fans go to great lengths to create fan-fiction, imagery, and other material to support their shipping desires.

Prime targets of these strange fantasists were Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, The Falcon and Winter Soldier. The bromance was turned to romance in the minds of the shippers. As the show aired there was a virtual tsunami of shipping surrounding the characters played by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan.

The entire show is about their journey from rivals and antagonists to partners and eventually friends. The shippers took this much, much further.

Recently Mackie spoke about this in an interview with Variety and had plenty to say about the topic:

“In this day and age, so many things are twisted and convoluted. There are so many things that people latch on to with their own devices to make themselves relevant and rational.

The idea of two guys being friends and loving each other in 2021 is a problem because of the exploitation of homosexuality. It used to be guys can be friends, we can hang out, and it was cool. You would always meet your friends at the bar, you know.

You can’t do that anymore, because something as pure and beautiful as homosexuality has been exploited by people who are trying to rationalize themselves.

So something that’s always been very important to me is showing a sensitive masculine figure. There’s nothing more masculine than being a superhero and flying around and beating people up. But there’s nothing more sensitive than having emotional conversations and a kindred spirit friendship with someone that you care about and love.

Sam and Steve had a relationship where they admired, appreciated and loved each other. Bucky and Sam have a relationship where they learn how to accept, appreciate and love each other. You’d call it a bromance, but it’s literally just two guys who have each other’s backs.”

You can probably clearly see what he is trying to say here. That not everything has to be about that, and that guys can still be platonic friends, and this type of thing undermines both real homosexual relationships and good, strong friendships between guys as friends.

However, as you would expect in 2021, his response has been met with everything ranging from confusion to outright anger. The internet is doing its thing, the perpetually offended are becoming shrill and grievance archaeologists are gathering their shovels.

Some are even claiming that he is in the wrong for interpreting their relationship as a platonic male friendship, despite him actually being one of the characters.

Good luck Anthony. Remember, Twitter is not the real world!

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