EastEnders newcomer abused on social media over gay storyline

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

EastEnders star Jonny Labey has already received homophobic abuse after joining the show earlier this year.

Labey, 22, who plays Paul Coker in the series, has already been involved in a controversy as his character got it on with character Ben Mitchell in a passionate affair.

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The show’s producers last week spoke out after viewers complained about a gay sex scene featuring Coker and Mitchell, set in a funeral parlour.

Speaing to Gay Times magazine, Labey said: “People would have been fine if it was a guy and a girl kissing. We need to move on from discrimination against gay men.

“It [the reaction] was all very positive, I thought, but it wasn’t until I got curious and started nosing around that I found the negative ones.”

Going on, Labey said society needs to be more understanding of issues faced by gay people.

“We’re not representing gay men in general, that’s something we’re certainly not doing. What we’re representing is people that felt uncomfortable coming out to their parents,” he explained.

He went on to say: “This is just the story of two gay men, and that story for us is that Ben is uncomfortable in coming out, and it’s the reaction of people who’re wanting him to come out.”

“No matter what the storyline is, there’ll be a backlash. But it doesn’t matter if it’s a rape storyline or a murder; there’s always people that are affected by them.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s gay or not, there’s people that don’t agree or aren’t comfortable watching. It’s 2015, you need to move on from this stupid discrimination against gay men,” he continued.

The actor announced he would be making his Albert Square debut in April, before he appeared on screens in June.


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