Back in June, Nickelodeon took to Twitter to celebrate Pride Month by sharing photos of LGBTQ+ characters from some of its most popular series.
In the tweet that blew up social media, the network shared three photos featuring transgender actor Michael D. Cohen from “Henry Danger”, Avatar Korra, from “The Legend of Korra”, who is bisexual, and the beloved SpongeBob SquarePants.
Many Twitter users felt it was confirmation that SpongeBob is part of the queer community, prompting the hashtag #SpongeBobIsGay to start trending.
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) June 13, 2020
ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante caught up with Tom Kenny And Bill Fagerbakke, stars of “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run”, this week to chat about how they feel about representing the LGBTQ+ community with the iconic character.
“Cartoon characters are always broad strokes, you never know. Bugs Bunny is just Bugs Bunny. Daffy Duck, whatever, SpongeBob’s the same, but I do think from the very beginning SpongeBob and Patrick, it’s really been about being who they are,” Kenny shares.
The 58-year-old voice actor continues: “It’s just okay, this is who I am, this is where I’m at, so deal with it. I’m nice to people, so I think people have always responded to that aspect of them, that they let their freak flag fly and don’t even think about it.”
Adding, “I think it’s really powerful for people. They don’t even think of it in those terms, I don’t think when you’re a kid watching, in those terms. But if you like SpongeBob and his friends, it’s kind of an inclusive vibe that they give off.”
Meanwhile, Fagerbakke says, “I think it comes down to the honesty of the characters, and the honesty of the relationships. It’s all founded, and I think my fellow cast members bring so much to the show and that resonates.”