NYT cartoon depicting Trump and Putin as gay spurs backlash over 'homophobia'

NYT cartoon depicting Trump and Putin as gay spurs backlash over 'homophobia'
© New York Times

A New York Times animated cartoon depicting President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes MORE and Russian President Vladimir Putin kissing and embracing sparked backlash on Monday from LGBTQ advocates claiming the representation is "homophobic." 

The Times opinion short shows Trump handing his heart to a shirtless Putin. The two hold hands and ride a unicorn together. When the two kiss, the video lingers for several seconds on their tongues tangling graphically while real audio clips of Trump praising Putin play in the background. 

"Donald Trump's not-so-secret admiration for Vladimir Putin plays out in a teenager’s bedroom, where the fantasies of this forbidden romance come to life," the caption reads.

Members of the LGBTQ community have criticized the video since its release on Monday. 

"Today, The New York Times took another leap toward becoming the estranged homophobic aunt you unfriend on Facebook when it posted a cartoon depicting Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as forbidden teen lovers," queer writer John Paul Brammer wrote in an article for them, an LGBTQ news outlet. 

 

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"The cartoon is also deeply homophobic as it relies on the idea that gayness itself is laughable, and it’s time for progressives to stop excusing these kinds of jokes," Brammer continued. 

The Times short isn't the first time Putin and Trump have been parodied as being in a gay relationship. Actress Bette Middler last week tweeted, "Trump and Putin are meeting in Finland next month. That's a long way to travel for a blowjob, but hey -- Putin's got the money." 

A popular mural in Lithuania also depicts the two world leaders locked in an intimate kiss. 

Congrats to everyone doing gay jokes about Trump and Putin for throwing your own beliefs under the bus for a political cartoon they'll never see

Critics say jokes are offensive when the punchline is two people being gay.

The video is one of a three-part series by Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton. 

"[The Times opinion section] believes it’s important to showcase a diversity of thought through a range of distinct contributor voices, such as Bill Plympton, who is known for his irreverent, unsettling and at times disturbing cartoons," a spokesman for the Times said in a statement to NBC News.

"The video is not meant to be homophobic," the spokesman added. "The filmmaker’s vision was one of teenage infatuation portrayed through a dream-like fantasy sequence. He would have used the same format to satirize Trump’s infatuation with another politician, regardless of sexuality or gender. Exaggerated kissing is a signature feature of his animated shorts." 

Late night host Stephen Colbert last year faced blowback when he said the only thing Trump's "mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c--k holster."