Kit Connor, the star of Netflix’s Heartstopper, has revealed that he felt forced to come out as bisexual after facing backlash from some fans of the show. The actor, who plays Nick Nelson, a rugby player who falls in love with Charlie Spring, a gay classmate, posted a rare tweet on Monday saying: “Back for a minute. I’m bi. Congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. I think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.”
Connor did not specify why he felt pressured to share his sexual orientation, but some fans speculated that it was because of accusations of queerbaiting, or benefiting from appearing as queer without claiming the community explicitly. The controversy started when photos emerged of him holding hands with Maia Reficco, his co-star in another upcoming film.2
Many fans and the creator of Heartstopper, Alice Oseman, expressed their support and disappointment for Connor on social media. Oseman wrote: “I truly don’t understand how people can watch ‘Heartstopper’ and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes. I hope all those people are embarrassed as F***. Kit you are amazing.”
“When I got cast in Heartstopper, it’s based on a comic book and the character that I’m based on is like 6 foot 2, very big. I was shorter than I am now and skinnier.”
When Connor’s casting was announced, he said there was resistance from select fans who claimed he was “a bit too skinny” to play the character of Nick Nelson, for which he won the Children’s and Family Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Performance.
“I saw that and was like, ‘Shit.’ I just started eating loads. I was like, ‘If I’m eating this much, I might as well [train].’ I started just doing push-ups, I was doing like 200 push-ups a day and then the only thing that was developing was my chest,” continued Connor.
“There’s bits, if you look at Heartstopper, there’s a couple points where I’m wearing quite a tight shirt and… Yeah, the boobies were looking quite large. I was thinking, ‘Yes!’ but then I started properly hitting the gym.”
Some fans also wondered if Connor’s recent transformation, in which he appeared more muscular and fit, was a sign that he was preparing for a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as Hulkling, a shapeshifting superhero who is part of the Young Avengers team and the boyfriend of Wiccan, another superhero who is rumored to be played by Joe Locke, Connor’s co-star and love interest in Heartstopper.
Connor has not confirmed or denied any involvement in the MCU, but he has said that he hopes Heartstopper can help young queer people feel safe and accepted. He said: “To have a show where you see queer people being happy and being together and united as a group, I think there’s something really beautiful about that. I think it’s really important to have a show that is just portraying queer love and queer beauty.”