‘Doctor Strange 2’ Star Benedict Wong Defends Xochitl Gomez Following Online Harassment

Wong called out cowardly online trolls.

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Benedict Wong has called out the shameful behavior of online trolls who targeted his Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness co-star Xochitl Gomez with hateful comments.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sees Benedict Cumberbatch return as Doctor Stephen Strange, alongside Benedict Wong as the MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme, Wong. The film also introduces 15 year-old actress Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, a girl from beyond the countless realities of the multiverse, with the power to travel between universes.

America Chavez has two moms, which caused issues for the film in Saudi Arabia, where laws against homosexuality led to censors requesting that a scene referencing America’s same-sex parents be cut. Disney refused to cut this moment of LGBTQ+ representation in the Doctor Strange sequel for its release in Saudi Arabia, leading to it being pulled from cinemas in the country. Unfortunately, this led to some homophobic trolls leveling hateful comments at Xochitl Gomez, blaming her character for the film’s censorship by Saudi Arabia’s government.

Talking to Asia One alongside Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez was asked about bringing the character of America Chavez to life in the MCU and handling the online backlash. “It’s a big deal that America is in this movie. It’s just huge,” said Gomez. “And I’m just so happy that Marvel has stuck to it and kept the scene in there. And it’s just pretty crazy that I get to be the one who plays America. Although, yes, my name may be circled within hate and stuff but it’s okay.”

Benedict Wong was quick to defend his young co-star, jumping in to tell her:

“It’s not okay. It’s not okay. We have to all collectively understand that… she auditioned aged 13 and she joined us aged 14, one of the youngest actors to join the MCU of a film of that magnitude. You know, she’s just a young girl playing her role and full praise for that…

“So there’s a real level of shame for all those trolls that are cowards not to actually put their face on, and they should feel a deep shame of what they’re doing. Let’s all just play nice. Let’s all just enjoy… what we are representing.

“It’s sad that fans in that country won’t get to see this as yet. But all we are doing is radiating representation, voicing the voiceless. And that’s all that we can do — represent people so that they can be seen.”

While it is devastating to see such hate being aimed at anyone, especially someone as young as Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong’s words here are incredibly powerful. It is reassuring to see the Doctor Strange actor going out of his way to defend Gomez, while reiterating that spreading hate and harassment is never okay and should never be accepted or left unchallenged.

Here is the synopsis for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:

The MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

Directed by Sam Raimi from a script written by Michael Waldron, the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael Stuhlbarg, Rachel McAdams, and Patrick Stewart.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6, 2022. Stay tuned for all the latest news on the future of the MCU, and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.

Source: Asia One