Homophobic joke by Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man cut from film: ‘They removed Peter’s homophobia’

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man

A problematic line from the original 2002 Spider-Man movie has been removed from broadcast by UK channel ITV2.

The first film from the Sam Raimi-directed trilogy introduced the world to Tobey Maguire as the titular web-slinging hero and has remained popular after enjoying stellar success after its release.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday (23 April), user @PaperPlaneTF shared a video which shows the scene in Spider-Man (2002) where Peter Parker first enters the wrestling ring.

In the original release, Peter says to his opponent Bone Saw (played by Randy Savage): “That’s a cute outfit, did your husband give it to you?”

However, in the version of Spider-Man playing on ITV2, he simply says: “That’s a cute outfit.”

It has not yet been confirmed if the line has been cut for broadcast on other television platforms globally.

The tweet prompted mixed reactions and sparked a debate online as some argued that the joke should have been edited.

One fan commented: “I am glad they changed it. BUT they could have at least changed the line to ‘did your MOM pick it out for you’.”

Meanwhile, others were pleased to see the change had been made. One fan commented, “I feel like the ‘that’s a cute outfit’ line doesn’t work without the punchline, and that they’d have been better off just cutting the entire joke, but for the life of me I can’t come up with a justification. It’s not like Bone Saw wouldn’t take offence to just being called ‘cute’.”

To which another replied: “When the punchline is gay marriage it’s not really a good punchline.”

When another Twitter user argued: “Idk I always saw this scene as Peter exploiting Bone Saw’s toxic masculinity to get under his skin,” another responded: “Yeah I mean that’s the obvious and correct interpretation. But I also think that in hindsight it’s probably better to just not write a line like that in a movie for kids who aren’t thinking about that angle.”

The move comes after networks and broadcast stations have been censoring problematic content from older films and television shows, with some episodes being scrubbed from existence on streaming platforms.