If you wanted to come up with a playbook for how to handle TV promotion and publicity in the age of social media, a few of the major rules might look like this:
Don’t mislead fans or raise their hopes unrealistically.
Don’t promote your show as an ideal proponent of a certain kind of storytelling, and then drop the ball in a major way with that very element of your show.
When things go south, don’t pretend nothing happened.
Understand that in this day and age, promotion is a two-way street: The fans that flock to your show and help raise its profile can just as easily walk away if they are disappointed or feel they’ve been manipulated.
It all sounds like common sense, right? Except that “
The 100” managed to break all those rules and more in the last ten days or so. And the tumult surrounding the show contain lessons that other shows and showrunners could learn from.
): A number of fans of the CW show are angry about how the exit of a lesbian character was handled, both within the narrative and by representatives of the show on social media. Given the slipshod and dismissive way things played out in both spheres, they have every right to be upset. The character, Lexa, was killed off in the middle of the season in a manner that invoked any number of cliches about lesbians on TV, and the fact that in January, showrunner Jason Rothenberg took to Twitter to tout the actress’ appearance in the season finale made her death all the more baffling and disappointing.
One fan on Twitter summed up the general mood among a substantial subset of fans by saying, “I feel like I’m being used to keep up their ratings.”
I’ll get into more details in a bit, but “The 100,” a cult show with a rising profile, really stepped in it by breaking every single one of the rules above. For two years, the show has sought deep and frequent engagement with its fans — but once it was clear that the March 3 episode of “The 100” had set off an ever-expanding array of firestorms, especially among LGBTQ fans, many of the powers that be associated with the show acted as if nothing were particularly amiss. That was one of many mistakes.
What has occurred since March 3 is not just a problem for “The 100” and the CW, it’s a cautionary tale for all of television, which increasingly depends on fans to bang the drum for shows and increase their profiles.
As it happens, the resurgent CW just made a big bet on fan-driven entertainment as the future of TV. The network just renewed all of its shows, in part because it measures engagement in a host of ways; overnight ratings are no longer the be-all and end-all. Social media engagement counts for a lot, and word-of-mouth promotion is often what makes or breaks a marginal show. That’s especially true at the CW, but in the age of 400-plus scripted shows, that’s also the case for many other programs on broadcast, streaming and cable.
But intense fan engagement is a double-edged sword. The fans who know how to help raise a show’s profile and make noise on social media are also whipsmart in any number of other ways. Today’s TV viewers won’t stand for being used as pawns, nor will they help promote a show when they feel it has let them down. With the events that occurred in the March 3 episode of the show, many think “The 100” did just that.
The response of the showrunner has, outside of a few unenlightening interviews, has been disappointing. Rothenberg live-tweeted the March 10 episode of the show as if thinkpieces and damning critiques were not still being churned out. In the limited array of interviews he did in conjunction with the March 3 episode, he has given little indication that he understands the depth of the sense of betrayal or the multitude of reasonable objections to the death story line. Since March 3, it has fallen to co-executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who wrote the episode, to engage with fans in any significant and meaningful way, but his compassionate and committed response has only highlighted Rothenberg’s abdication of responsibility.
It would seem that the attitude of the showrunner and others associated with the show is that if they just ignore everything for long enough, it’ll all go away. Meanwhile, fans are passing around lists of ideas for how to lower the show’s social media profile (Rothenberg himself has already lost thousands of Twitter followers), and the March 10 episode got the series’ worst-ever ratings. To understand how the balance of power has shifted in the fan-driven age, a subset of viewers got #LGBTfansdeservebetter to trend for hours during the show’s time slot on March 10, demonstrating that they can use their collective might to very different uses than a network might like.
This is not a call for showrunners to pander to their audiences — far from it. It’s a reminder that every story turn and promotional effort should be thoroughly thought through. Sloppy, dismissive and tin-eared moves by a show or its personnel aren’t easy to bury or ignore these days, and fan engagement is a collaboration, not a spigot to be turned off whenever things get inconvenient.
Before getting into the specifics of what got fans riled up, I’ll just note that in this brave new world — a future the CW just bet the farm on — what fans choose to do or not do matters more than ever. TV shows should always pursue admirable artistic goals in the way they see fit, of course — but they shouldn’t take the loyalty and energy of their fans for granted along the way.
I’ll stipulate two things at this point: The rest of this post will discuss plot details from “The 100’s” third season. Also, fans who said threatening or unacceptable things to anyone associated with the show went too far.
But I was in the thick of it as this storm over “The 100” raged during the last ten days, and in my experience, only a tiny fraction of fans went that route. I did hear from hundreds of fans who were confused, disappointed or deeply hurt. As I said in a March 4 post on the fracas, I could understand why they were upset — but in dozens of posts, tweets and emails, they helped me understand why they felt betrayed.
These fans were smart, eloquent and impressively well-versed in promotional strategies, media conventions and tropes. They’re also right.
So here’s the nitty-gritty: The character who died, Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey), happened to be one of the few well-developed and complex lesbians on TV, and it’s an unfortunate but enduring TV cliche that lesbians rarely, if ever, live happily ever after. In the March 3 episode, “The 100,” which had touted its commitment to quality LGBTQ storytelling, invoked one of TV’s oldest gay cliches by killing her off mere seconds after she consummated her relationship with another woman, Clarke (Eliza Taylor).
Many fans, regardless of sexual orientation, were left shaking their heads in disbelief.
On a story and thematic level, Lexa’s death (despite being well-performed by the actors) had little resonance and almost no meaning. But all things considered, the blithe manipulation LGBTQ fans and the show’s willingness to deploy harmful cliches about gay characters remain the things that rankle most.
On Jan. 21, while “The 100” was shooting its season three finale, Rothenberg tweeted to his more than 100,000 followers that fans were welcome to visit the show’s set in downtown Vancouver. A cast member also tweeted about Debnam-Carey’s presence on the Vancouver set that day; fan videos and tweets soon confirmed that she was there.
To call Lexa a fan favorite is putting it very mildly. Any morsel of news about her and her relationship with Clarke is instantly circulated through a thriving network of sites, Twitter accounts and Tumblrs devoted to the show, and fans were soon crowing over the fact that one of their favorite characters had made it through the entire season, right through to the finale. “The 100” isn’t shy about killing off characters, but here was evidence — and a rainbow-themed photo — that indicated that Lexa was just fine.
The problem was, Lexa had been killed off months earlier.
The episode in which Lexa died — the seventh one in the current season — was shot in the fall and aired March 3. To be sure, it wasn’t all that surprising that the character was written off, nor did most fans — or myself — have an innate problem with her exiting the show by dying or leaving in some other way. Debnam-Carey is a series regular on “Fear the Walking Dead,” so fans had been speculating about Lexa’s survival chances for some time.
That’s why it is baffling that the show all but ensured that its most hardcore fans knew that Lexa would appear in the season finale. The trumpeting of her appearance at the end of the season prompted many viewers, especially fans of the Lexa and Clarke pairing, to keep hope alive, but in reality, there was no hope to be found. If her appearance in the finale had been secret, that might have allowed the show to unleash a potentially interesting surprise, but in addition to taking the air out of that presumed twist, the way “The 100” shamelessly toyed with LGBTQ viewers — who are among the show’s most active promotional allies — constitutes inexplicable and deeply unwise misdirection.
Adding to the sense of betrayal was the manner of Lexa’s death. She was felled by a stray bullet from an angry male servant, mere seconds after she and Clarke had sex for the first time. The servant, Titus, disapproved of Lexa’s relationship with Clarke, whom he tried to kill, but Lexa caught the bullet. This woman — the most fearsome warrior in the show’s history — didn’t die defending Clarke; she just happened to be in the bullet’s path. And by following her only moment of bliss with her lover, the Grounder queen’s death followed a time-worn and disturbing TV pattern.
Autostraddle came up with a list of more than 130 lesbian and bisexual women who have been killed off on TV shows, and it’s a damning roster. Whatever progress you think TV has made on the front of LGBTQ representation, the sheer number of dead women on the list is profoundly troubling, to say the least. If nothing else, it shows that the Bury Your Gays trope is alive and well on TV, and fictional lesbian and bisexual women in particular have a very small chance of leading long and productive lives.
Critic Nicola Choi wrote that when they spot a lesbian or bisexual woman on TV, many LGBTQ fans simply resign themselves to the fact that the character will die.
“What would happen if every straight, white, male character got inexplicably and deplorably killed off in every show you watched just to further the plot?” Choi wrote. “To a point where you see a straight character and immediately think: ‘Yep, he’s gonna die when he walks into a room without a bulletproof vest.’… What message do you send out, when you write these cheap deaths? That LGBT fans do not deserve to love who they love? That they should fear every door they open?”
Lexa’s cliched death was especially galling given that recently, the show had leaned into the idea that it was a beacon of enlightened representation for LGBTQ characters. Rothenberg gave multiple interviews on the topic — Variety included — and retweeted stories from an array of publications that praised the show’s representation of gay, lesbian and bisexual characters.
Aided by the enthusiasm of the show’s many LGBTQ viewers, the outreach campaign worked. “Until last week, you had numerous marginalized teens and young adults who were feeling engaged, feeling represented, and feeling (dare I say it?) hopeful,” a writer named Kylie noted in an eloquent deconstruction of tropes and how they operate on TV. “Which inherently put you in a position of power over them.”
To writer and professor Elizabeth Bridges, “The 100” used that power in an irresponsible and harmful way.
“We knew [Lexa] could possibly be killed, and we knew that [Debnam-Carey’s] fate for any potential future seasons was questionable,” Bridges wrote. “But we also had constant reassurance from the writers and showrunner that we could trust them not to screw up these characters, that they were aware of the [dead lesbian] trope and would avoid it even if” the actress left the show.
“Maybe she would go into exile. Maybe something else would separate them, but it was clear that they would be the main couple at least for this season,” Bridges wrote. “How wrong we were to trust them. We were queerbaited in the most elaborate way imaginable. They made our pairing canon. They assured us not to worry, that they wouldn’t take it in that worn-out direction, that they were progressive and cool.”
And then Lexa was gone, just like that, via a death that in no way reflected her status as a leader who would risk everything to protect her people. Her demise was badly conceived on every level. Perhaps Rothenberg thought killing off Lexa in that manner was shocking, but her death ended up feeling rushed, off-kilter and poorly handled. Thus it was of a piece with much of the rest of the season, which has been big on bombast and short on compelling logic and believable character development.
There has been one positive development out of the Lexa debacle; fans have coordinated a campaign to raise more than $40,000 for the Trevor Project, a charity that assists LGBTQ teens in crisis. It’s a worthy cause and disgruntled fans of “The 100” are to be commended for channelling their ire in such a positive direction.
Even so, it’s hard not to wish that the show hadn’t led them — or misled them — into this difficult place.
Lexa’s death, “The 100” and TV deaths in general are discussed on the most recent edition of the Televerse podcast, which is here.
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I am very grateful that you took the time to look into this and view it in many LGBTQ’s point of view.
I would just like to jump in and point out that this is a VERY good article on understanding the situation with the LGBT community, but also that many people are unhappy with this story for other reasons.
Outside of the misleading social media campaign for this season, there is the issue of the writing. Season 03 has been a huge mess and a step back from season 02. The ideas are great, the direction the story is moving is great, but the execution really suffered. When Alycia Debnam-Carey made the decision to leave, the writers already had a storyline for her and Clarke. Instead of reworking the story to fit the time that they had left with ADC, they chose to bend both her and Clarke’s characters in order to make it to BFF lesbian lovers in only seven episodes. Many other storylines suffered from this as well such as the Bellamy/Pike situation which didn’t get a sufficient lead-in because so much screen time was devoted to Clexa.
And, of course, there is the fact that it is very difficult to ignore the similarities between her death scene and another famous lesbian death scene. Let’s face it, you’re a member of a very exclusive club and parallels will be drawn regardless. But I mean, even as someone who wasn’t actually aware of the social media controversy until after the episode, I felt like I was having flashbacks to Buffy that entire scene and it was just distracting. I’m not LGBT, before this episode, I had never been involved in the fandom. But as an average viewer, that was just bad writing.
This is a great perspective on the LGBT/social media side of the controversy but I did want to point out that there are a lot of reasons to hate how this all played out. And that’s really the problem. You have a perfect setup for a lot of anger because it pissed off so many people for different reasons.
For those who are wondering and this article didn’t clear things up, we knew Lexa was dying (everyone discussed it Tumblr) becase of Alycia’s other commitments, but we thought it was happening in the finale since we saw Alycia on set. We thought Lexa’s and Clarke’s relationship was going to be fully developed, but no. It didn’t happen. It’s like the show producers knew that many people were going to stop watching after Lexa’s death (I don’t necessarily agree on abandoning a show because of this) so they decided to show people that she was going to appear in the finale to keep them engage. I mean, they ruined an amazing plot twist by telling viewers that Lexa appeared in the finale. Wrongly managed. And yes, people shouldn’t stop watching for the death of the character, but now it’s not just that, they are stopping because of all this unprofessional stuff they did.
I’m not a fan of the 100 but I’ve followed the backlash against Lexa’s death and it’s incredibly discouraging to see a show lead the fans on like this only to screw them over. There’s a difference between creating a “twist” to shock viewers and using LGBT+ fans to promote your show before throwing them under the bus. Clearly, the writers of this show chose to do the later. Seems that they shot themselves in the foot in the process.
I appreciated that this article didn’t diminish the fans in any way and treated their outrage with the respect it deserves. This is definitely about a lot more than a single character.
Additionally this article did a great job of outlining the power that modern fans have and the way they can be very strategic in using that power when the need arises. “Fandom” often gets mocked and portrayed in a negative light but make no mistake – these fans have a lot of passion and clearly know how to make their voices heard. Glad the fans are fighting back and getting people’s attention!
Include lgbt characters in your show that aren’t just token props and you’ve got support that reaches world wide. This fandom has consistently trended world wide for almost two weeks. Imagine what they’d do if you wrote a compelling character that was LGBT and treated them with the respect and honour they deserved. They’ll tell anyone they can to watch your shows for life. Lexa’s death had no respect. I get why they had to kill her off, but not like that.
Couldn’t have said it better. Thank you very much.
Don’t want the network to have an overreaction like not allowing actresses to chop off their hair
Honestly the way they killed her off, in some way made her seem more human. Someone brought this into view for me. While we saw Lexa has an unstoppable hedda, she wasn’t. Her death brought back into view that she is human and that anyone can die at any moment. She probably still would be on the show if it weren’t for FTWD. But honestly if people are going to stop watching the show because she died, that’s just plain pathetic.
Good job, catering to a fans who send death threats to show runners and harass actors, writer and producers alike over a TV show plot line that anyone who wasnt blinded by fanaticism, including Lexa herself as she mentioned her death numerous times, saw coming. You don’t have to always drink the KoolAid
It’s sad and pathetic that you only view this article and what the fans are fighting for as that. When you comment on something you don’t fully understand it makes you look like an uneducated idiot.
Thank you so much for helping us bring light to this issue.
MO I LOVE YOU! You comb through the details, you weigh up all sides and you know what’s trying to be swept under the carpet. You just get it, probably better than anyone that I’ve read an article covering this show and what happened that fateful (fatal) episode, and reactions/actions post it.
I do want to say I feel sorry for some of the writers (to a degree), they are not in full control, they just write versions of what the J-man wants and he picks what will make most impact. Writer Javi said there was medicine that could be brought into that Thirteen episode (for Lexa), but that written version was not wanted by J-man. The writers are prob contracted in lots of ways, so wouldn’t necessarily be able to be as free in how to respond. Javi is no longer with the show (now departed) so that perhaps tells how free he is to answer so many questions as he has done to fans (and so gratefully so).
A standing ovation for this article, well written with depth to demonstrate the critical thought process at it finest. Bravo.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Yesterday, I sent multiple pleas in the form of a tweet to JRoth, Javi the writer of the gut wrenching episode, various The 100 writers, and 3 episode reviewers that seem to be very cozy with Jason (based on the tweets, retweets, and access they have to him and stars of the show…the sad news is that I think he uses them as badly as he used us!!). The tweet offered an alternative ending to the episode that took away one of the richest characters I have EVER seen in my many, many years of TV viewing. I suggested, in the limited number of characters allowed in a tweet, that Titus and Lexa could have staged her death after he convinced her that Clarke’s safety was in jeopardy because of their feelings for one another. She would step down as Commander and go…somewhere! This would’ve allowed Clarke to return to the Ark storyline, the fans to tune in from week to week in hopes of some type of reunion between the two, and Alycia Debnam-Carey to pop in and out whenever her schedule allowed. This is the part that shocked me about my heartfelt attempt at righting The 100 apple cart.. not ONE of those numerous tweets was acknowledged. I even added that similar storylines were good enough for Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet) and Walt Disney (Sleeping Beauty) so they would surely be in good company. I guess it was foolish to think that anyone would listen, but I figured it was worth a try. Didn’t want to go down without one last shot.
I was so grateful then to see your write-up. Thanks again for your contribution to the fight. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Excellent article! Well written and you did a great job of hitting on all of the issues. It enlightened me as well and thank you for adding your voice and speaking up for our young LGBTQ people and the irresponsible way in which they–we–were taken for granted.
Merci beaucoup! I was so shocked by the way JR chooses to kill her… just after THE moment that everyone waiting, this moment when finally Lexa could be happy to be love and love back peacefully. Finally this moment when everyone could be happy and breath without being scared about Lexa… it was building up in season 2 until this episode but… 2 MINUTES after this beautiful well done, stunning moment…. a bullet stop that.
A bullet that KILL Lexa but not only her, US too. Like a violent bullet in our heart, that break all our hope, all those promise made by JR and you can’t believe it! And you are anger because you realize that they let us hope, you realize that this tweet, about Jason asking us to “come say hi” when they were filming the final scene and when you can see this amazing actress (Alycia Debnam-Carey) playing Lexa, was to give us hope AGAIN because he knew that we won’t accept Lexa death… He wanted to assure that we will still watch his show because Lexa appears. It was like a break up, a betrayal. Lexa was a complex character, a visionary, a political character and she was admire by us! We knew that Alycia was on Fear The Walking Dead but JR just choose the WRONG way to kill Lexa… I will still support those amazing writters and the cast because the 100 is a very good tv show but i don’t trust JR now… Lexa was such a good character…ended this character like that… such a shame.
I can’t believe its still hurts me. I was hoping that The 100 was different but… nope.
The article is really something else from what I’ve read since 3.07. It is a small portion of all the feels and disappointment but very accurate.
Advantage was not only Taken from LGBTQ community but also straight fans who enjoyed the show and Lexa/Clarke as characters and what the show itself gave us in season 2.
I am sure that many straight fans can confirm that the death scene was just disturbing to watch not to mention unrealistic. The plot of season 3 was almost completely not there, just showing us 80% Clexa for 6 episodes. This on itself made things even worse and the pain even greater when the full focus was on the two ladies, which many fell in love with, with their interactions, either fighting or loving.
It literally felt like being stabbed in the back to the heart, because with each episode the guard people had build was falling.
The actresses did an amazing job, no denying that but if I am asked what I thought about 3.07 death scene the first things that come to mind are Ugly and Fake. (Clarke being a healer and just pushing a rag on a bullet wound, waiting for Lexa to bleed out while “the father figure” actually had surgical tools on him with which he removed the bio chip from Lexa’s neck = Alie2).
I personally after seeing something beautiful as what we’ve seen on screen destroyed so shamelessly lost complete fate in LGBTQ moments in shows. So much that it disturbs me to read or even watch other same sex couples and I have never had such a problem, ever. (can only hope it will pass)
It hurts also because comparing this to other shows most LGBTQ couples in Tv shows are like background for them, having like 20-30 minutes or less a season. For a main character in a serious show to fall for the same sex is like unheard of. Not to mention 2 strong characters, Lexa being one that I think everyone should admire in a way. Got to love someone who uses their head before acting or speaking.
Now every time I think about Clarke/Lexa together, (Don’t know about others) I feel deep sadness, overpowering all the sweet and positive things that happened.
Enough Queer/Fan-Baiting! Enough is Enough! Tell the Truth and don’t beat around the bushes! We are emotional beings and many (the young especially) learn from the Internet/Cable and such failures can ruin them inside and out. (mentally) Worse scenarios – death.
When dealing when teen and young adult viewers you damn better know what your doing and pay attention to every single post/tweet of the fan base so this can be avoided or handled the proper way. One being to tell the truth!
Thank you for this article one more time. Wish everyone long Healthy lives and many experience (more good then bad of course – Live and Learn!)
I don’t think the networks will learn anything from anything. Remember how many times the networks have tried to make a Bible-friendly show and it always offends those who turn in because they like Bible shows? Well, Of Kings and Profits, shafted us again. Networks learn nothing. Viewer beware, or better yet, watch Netflix and pick your own shows and/or fast-forward the dumb scenes.
I can already tell you what tv will learn from this…they won’t have those kinds of relationships again. Not defending The 100 at all, but I just think to avoid anything like this again would be not to do it at all. I truly believe same sex couples on tv is about to die out. I might be wrong though.
I was so moved by this article. It was so well written and encompasses all of the very intense feelings I have been having. Thank you for this.
I’m so glad people are actually listening to us instead of dismissing us as “angry shippers”: I hope more people can understand the impact this sort of stories have in real life. It’s articles like this that validate the movement. We want positive change. We want to be seen and heard.
Thank you for writing this article. It’s a great summary of why LGBT fans feel so upset and betrayed. We truly do deserve better. I truly hope we get it in the future.
Thank you so much for writing this and working so diligently to understand the reasons behind the response. Thank you for explaining it so eloquently and most of all for listening (something CW and Rothenberg seem determined not to). This was the cruelest example of queerbaiting I have seen and caused very real harm to a vulnerable community. The response and the movement it has sparked is about so much more than just this character or show.
Honestly, it’s time to move on. It’s been almost 2 weeks now and another episode has aired since that one. Everything said in this article has been stated 100k times before. If you’re going to stop watching, then stop watching and cease the bitching at the same time. Don’t get mad at everyone else because you were duped.
It’s kind of a shame that a publication like Variety is publishing articles that would be better suited for Tumblr.
It’s not just about Lexa for us. We are talking about a bigger issue here that is ‘Bury your gays trope’. We are trying to make a significant change here and explain it to General audience. If you have a problem with it,than you are against equality.
No need to try to explain yourself to the commenter. This person is clueless about these issues, movements for change and the significance. And since they are anonymous there is no way to engage them directly. Don’t waste your time. I am behind you guys. Keep charging forward.
I’m glad someone with a huge platform is listening. That’s all people want, to be heard and treated fairly. Yes characters get killed off all the time- but when it’s always the LGBT community, always the POC characters that die off first it sends the message that people are disposable and that needs to stop. You cannot give people hope and yank it away or think that giving breadcrumbs to LGBT/POC’s are enough because hey at least you’re on tv. No. We’re not standing for this shit any longer. All we want is a place at the table, like the rest of you and for our food to not be poisoned. This goes way beyond Lexa, she’s the catalyst.
I am concerned however that this will movement will regress. Show runners may not want to take the risk of creating LGBT characters in the first place when they’ve seen the wrath of the community. If show runners could take away anything from this, I hope they see that the passion and dedication these fans have shown demonstrate that if you write compelling characters, people who more than their race and sexuality, gender- your fans will follow to the ends of the earth with their support.
A really well written and in-depth article, thank you so much for talking to fans and taking the time to understand exactly what has happened.
Lexas dead have realation with her lesbian caracter.
Thank you so much for this article. I was a fan of the show and even convinced others to watch before the third season started. They creative team behind the show absolutely mislead the fans through social media. If they were going to kill her off, they never should have built it and promoted it as the hopeful romance they did. LGBT viewers (especially F/F) never get to see themselves have the main romance storyline. It was calculated and cruel to such an under-represented minority. I can no longer watch the show, or any other CW show, since the network seems to support it.
Besides the obvious baiting, they didn’t have to kill off the character. They had another way out in the plot already. In canon, there are two ways for the Commander to lose power, death or vote of no confidence. She could have been removed from power, had the chip taken out and exiled. That could have explained an absence. Viewers didn’t need her in every episode. Just the knowledge that she was alive. Negotiations for season 4 wouldn’t have happened until around this time anyway. So they had no idea how many possible eps she could have done. Jason just wanted his big shock factor. Which ultimately wasn’t shocking at all. Such a disappointment.
Wow, thank you so much for writing this piece. You seem to have a very good grasp on what it is we are upset about and why we’re striving for change in the way queer characters are represented on TV.
Thank you! This is by far the best article I have seen about the issue! You nailed every reason why we are angry. You are awesome Mo, thanks once again! PS: I loved the podcast too!
Thank you for this thoughtful, detailed article which is eye-opening, to say the least. It is concerning to me that Mr. Rothenberg and several of the writers took advantage of this group of young, vulnerable, marginalized fans. It’s more concerning that he has failed to reach out to them in the aftermath of this disaster. I can only assume that he is too arrogant to acknowledge his cheap use of damaging tv tropes was a mistake. What is most upsetting is that many people were left feeling hopeless and in a great deal of pain following that episode. I’ve read countless social media postings about people in extreme distress. Yet Mr. Rothenberg remains silent on the matter, other than tweeting about being bullied himself along with the hashtag “renew The 100”. He later deleted the tweet. While I think too much time has passed for any apology from him to be considered genuine, I do admire Mr. Grillo-Marxuach for his willingness to engage with fans in a productive manner. I do believe that he is honest in his desire to portray LGBT characters in a thoughtful manner going forward. I think his efforts to engage with fans has been helpful in the healing of many who were extremely hurt. I also applaud Maureen Ryan for listening and learning from the group of people most affected by this. I think this situation was the tipping point for this community, and inaction and silence was no longer an option. I have to believe that this incredible movement will be a difference maker for better lgbt representation in the media going forward.
This article is amazing, i gave all my trust to them cause they kept reassuring us, and they just used us and threw us away after they got what they wanted.
We are worth more than this. I know how it feels when your own parents just throw you away cause you are gay, i needed someone to make a epic couple and show the world that we are worth love too, what i didnt need, was to be used as a rating booster and have that promised hope taken away right after showing the most beautiful kiss/love scene. I didnt want that hope i had in them to turn into this, showing the world we deserv to die cause of who we love.
Thank you for writing this, you got it all right, and im so very happy that you just get it.
This was such a well-written, in-depth, and accurate article. Thank you for writing it. Voices need to be heard!
THANK YOU so much for articulating what we in the fandom have been trying to say for the past two weeks, and for using your platform to raise awareness. You rock, Mo. I loved your podcast on the subject too.
Thank you so much for this amazing article. The CW and the showrunner handled the situation very poorly.
i think this is the best and most complete article i’ve read so far. thank you so much for sharing this.
Excellent article! You covered it all. Thank you for writing it. It really makes a difference to know there are people (in the media) which do understand.
I think this whole thing is blown way out of proportion. I’m a lesbian In my late twenties and I am still a fan of the show. I agree with a lot of fans on the fact that they built up their relationship just to kill her minutes later was ridiculous! I was a huge fan of Lexa and was sad to see her go but like you said ADC is a main character on a different show it was a matter of time before she get killed off. I can’t believe how some people are acting so crazy. Tweeting hateful things to the writers and actors. It seems they are on a mission to destroy their jobs. Like they had anything to do with it. How sad. This makes me wonder if the show was on a different network besides the CW would it have had a different response?
I’m not saying that the end of the the episode wasn’t horrible. The way they got you emotionally invested and then killed her a minute later. But they did mention her death almost every episode. So it was obvious it was going to happen. The actors did a awesome job. When something makes me cry and feel feels it’s worth watching. I’m saying this aftermath is ridiculous. I guess I have my own life and relationship to worry about in real life and think this is silly. Jason is probably quite because he doesn’t know what to say without people getting even more crazy. Never underestimat the power of emotional teenagers.
The problem was not that she died. It was when and how she died, also the fact that we were mislead this entire time. I bet the clexa sex scene leak wasn’t actually a leak. It is queerbaiting at it’s finiest
Maybe if they hadn’t queer baited viewers for a year and then ignored the subsequent response, it would have had a different response?
For those that missed the death scene and wish to see it all you have to do is google Tara’s death scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was the exactly the same.
This article shows exactly what Jason Rothenberg has done to the fans of The 100. We really feel betrayed by him.
Excellent piece. The fan outrage is not just about Lexa’s death. It’s about how she died. The great commander killed by a freaking stray bullet. I mean really?! As soon as it happened, I had a flashback to Tara’s death on Buffy the vampire slayer. How original! And right after she finally consumated her relationship with Clarke. Groundbreaking! I’m straight and I found that scene mind-boggling. And the worst part in all of this is that the creative team has been manipulating and baiting the fans for months, mainly the LGBT community, assuring them that Lexa would be safe and that their show was different and progressive. Their biggest mistake was to overhype the finale by inviting people to come watch them shoot on location when Alycia was on set, knowing that fans would automatically assume that her character was still alive at least up until the season finale. When we all know now that her character had already been killed off in the most cheapest way months ago. That’s cold.
Amazing JOB MO!!!!! Finally, a journalist who has actually done some research and not just regurgitated what they saw in another article.
This man painted himself to be some kind of savior offering us a safe place, only to burn it down while we stood inside. This is THE definition of betrayal.
Thank you for writing this article. The only thing that might have added to it would be a timeline of evidence for baiting and misleading content produced by the writers and showrunner. I still feel like there are a lot of people who still do not get it. Perhaps they never will. But I’d like to live in a world where people really tried to look at what happened and be sensitive to the fact that there was wrong-doing. Regardless of your favorite character or which couple you ship.
Thanks for the article, for taking the time to explain why this is important, and why handling the character’s death this way was so wrong. It’s unfortunate that so many comments show a failure to read through enough to get why this isn’t simply about an actor contracted on another show.
Thank you for articulating how problematic the show has been in dealing with Lexa’s death. There are numerous people that are not lgbt and simply “don’t get it”. It’s just another fictional character’s death to them. But you’ve managed to brilliantly articulate why it’s so much more than that to what has been a very supportive part of the show’s audience.