Menu

InstagramTwitterYouTubeFacebookSnapchat
Globe Icon

Join

and support
LGBT+ journalism

Film and TV

Grease called out for racism, homophobia and vicious bullying by furious viewers

Matilda Davies January 4, 2021
bookmarking iconBookmark Article
Danny Zuko, played by John Travolta, in iconic film Grease

Grease was released in 1978 and is now viewed as one of the most iconic films of all time. (Gabriel Bouys/Getty)

Grease was called “racist, rapey and homophobic” after it was aired on BBC1 on Boxing Day, with some viewers saying it should never be shown on TV again.

Grease¬†was first released in 1978 to wide critical acclaim. Set in the ’50s, it is a teenage coming-of-age turned love story starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as the romantic leads.

Viewers picked up on character Vince Fontaine, a fictional radio announcer, declaring in the dance-off scene that no same-sex couples were allowed to take part.

One viewer took to Twitter and said: “All couples must be boy/girl? Well Grease, shove your homophobia.”

The film is set in 1959, before any US states had decriminalised homosexuality. However, by 1978 when the film was made, 16 states had decriminalised same-sex sexual activity.

The announcer, played by Edd Byrnes, has also been criticised for flirting with character Marty, one of the members of the Pink Ladies and a literal teenager.

In an extremely unsurprising response, some are calling critics of Greasesnowflakes

The film has long been slammed for sexism and misogyny, particularly in the characters’ slut-shaming attitudes towards Rizzo.

Various characters in the film judge Rizzo for sleeping with T-Bird Kenickie without a condom. In her iconic solo song, she sings, “There are worse things I could do than go with a boy or two.”

Lyrics such as, “Did she put up a fight?” in “Summer Nights” and, “the chicks will cream” in “Greased Lightnin'” have also come under scrutiny.

One viewer called the film “so of it’s time” and “misogynistic, sexist and a bit rapey”.

Another tweeted: “The drive in/botched make-out session between Danny and Sandy hasn’t aged well. Film kinda glides right into song (“Sandy”) before viewers register the date rapey vibe of the scene they just saw.”

In one scene, T-Bird Putzie lies on the floor to look up the skirts of two female students at Rydell High School. This is called “upskirting” and has since been made illegal in the UK and several US states.

Many also called out the painfully white casting.

“Watched Grease on the BBC, surprised they let it go, full of white people”, one user wrote.

Several viewers noted that “there were no Black actors or pupils at the high school”, while one pointed out: “There’s one non-white couple at the dance! One!”

Olivia Newton-John is an open supporter of equal marriage rights for LGBT+ people, but previously dismissed claims of sexism in the film, saying: “It’s a fun movie and a fun story and I’ve never taken it too seriously.”

Critics of the film have been widely called “woke snowflakes” by both British media outlets and Twitter users.

India Willoughby tweeted: “If you’ve ever felt joy while watching one of the greatest, most uplifting films EVER then I’m afraid you’re going to hell. Here’s an idea wokesters: Go make your own musical.”

Some are calling for critics to “f*ck off and get a job” while others are pleading for the BBC not to ban the film.

Related topics: BBC, boxing day, edd byrnes, Grease, grease film, John Travolta, kenickie, Olivia Newton John, pink ladies, rizzo, snowflakes, t birds, The Sun, vince fontaine

Swipe sideways to view more posts!

Dismiss

Loading ...

Close icon