Peaky Blinders slam Ron DeSantis’ homophobic campaign video boasting of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks

On the left, Ron DeSantis. On the right, Cillian Murphy.

The team behind the BBC’s hit period crime drama Peaky Blinders has condemned a video in which presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis celebrates his attacks on LGBTQ+ people.

DeSantis, currently the governor of Florida and a contender in the race to become the next president of the US, used an image of Peaky Blinders character Tommy Shelby, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy.

The clip, shared on social media by DeSantis’ official presidential campaign team, takes aim at former president Donald Trump for his supposed support of LGBTQ+ people.

By splicing together various interviews with Trump, conducted during his four-year presidency, the video depicts the Republican frontrunner saying he would “do everything in [his] power to protect our LGBTQ citizens” and admitting he would let Caitlyn Jenner use “any bathroom she chooses” if she visited the White House.

In truth, Trump has one of the worst presidential track records when it comes to protecting LGBTQ+ people.

Elsewhere in the one-minute clip, the DeSantis campaign boasts about his anti-LGBTQ+ legacy, and celebrates signing the “most extreme slate of anti-trans laws in modern history” and getting Pride events cancelled.

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Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis is running for the Republican nomination.(Getty Images)

Bizarrely, he also pats himself on the back for being called the most “dangerous” person to potentially enter the White House.

Throughout his tenure as Florida governor, staunch Republican DeSantis has introduced the reviled, Section-28-style “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which effectively prevents teachers from promoting LGBTQ+ topics or supporting queer students.

He has also signed into law the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act and Stop Woke Act. The former prevents trans girls and women in schools and colleges playing in sports competitions that correspond with their gender identity, while the latter restricts how schools and workplaces can educate on homophobia and other forms of discrimination.

His track record on LGBTQ+ issues is seen as so detrimental that advocacy group Equality Florida recently advised queer people not to visit the Sunshine state.

In addition to bragging about his attitude towards the community, DeSantis’ campaign video features two second-long clips of Peaky Blinders’ shadowy anti-hero Shelby smoking a cigarette.

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders.
Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders. (BBC)

It’s an odd person for DeSantis to compare himself to: while Shelby was very much entwined with the political world, many fans came away from the award-winning series proclaiming the character as a left-wing, “socialist icon”.

The Peaky Blinders team was quick to issue a Twitter statement condemning Shelby’s inclusion in the video.

A spokesperson said: “On behalf of the partners of Peaky Blinds – [creator] Steven Knight. Cillian Murphy, Caryn Mandabach Productions, Tiger Aspect Productions and Banijay Rights – we confirm the footage of Tommy Shelby’s character used within the video posted by Ron DeSantis’ campaign was obtained without permission or official licence.”

“We do not support nor endorse the video’s narrative and strongly disapprove of the use of the content in this manner.”

The post has garnered more than 125,000 likes.

Ever since the public statement was shared yesterday (5 July), Peaky Blinders fans have been united in their disbelief that DeSantis would think he and Shelby were in any way alike.

“Did those clowns skip the whole final season where Tommy Shelby tried to screw over and kill fascists, he’s literally a socialist icon,” one fan wrote.

A second pointed out that: “Tommy Shelby was canonically LGBT friendly but Ron DeSantis saw Alpha Male Tommy edits and decided that was the way forward.”

A third declared: “Reminder that if you’re a) a man or b) anti-LGBTQ+, that Tommy Shelby isn’t for you and he never will be.”

The latest polls have DeSantis trailing Trump by as much as 38 points in the race to face incumbent Joe Biden in next year’s presidential election.