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Colton Underwood docu-series ridiculed for bizarre Marsha P Johnson comparison: ‘What fresh hell?’

Josh Milton December 6, 2021
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Side-by-side headshots of Colton Underwood and Marsha P Johnson

Colton Underwood's docs-series has been mocked for seemingly comparing the towering athlete to Stonewall pioneer Marsha P Johnson, among others. (Getty Images/Netflix)

The Colton Underwood Netflix docu-series has been ridiculed online for appearing to compare the gay ex-NFL player to Stonewall legend Marsha P Johnson.

In April, Underwood, a former football player and the virginal leading man of The Bachelor, came out as gay in an emotional Good Morning America interview.

Coming Out Colton, a six-episode docu-series which started filming before Underwood’s GMA appearance, debuted on the streaming giant on 3 December.

It sees Colton Underwood get a crash course in queer history – with one scene filmed at the Stonewall Inn – as well as come out to his family members and friends, all on camera.

For Underwood, the series was meant to help those who, he told The New York Times, “didn’t understand” his decision to share his truth and the impact it had.

But while some users said they were left “in tears” at the “empowering” documentary, the ending of Coming Out Colton left others feeling uneasy

Reflecting on his journey of self-discovery, Colton Underwood said all he can do is “share my story and hope that it helps” before acknowledging the role of the trailblazing activists who came before him.

Colton Underwood gay
Colton Underwood. (Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Tubi)

The episode ends with a montage of various mock newspaper cuttings of a handful of iconic moments in queer history. From the raiding of the Stonewall Inn and the riots and marches it electrified to the Pulse nightclub shooting.

It also pays tribute to LGBT+ figures throughout history, such as Christine Jorgenson, among the first in the US to undergo gender-affirmation surgery, Edith Windsor, whose landmark Supreme Court case led to national marriage equality and Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the US.

Among other forerunners is Marsha P Johnson, the Black trans pioneer who co-founded the queer homeless collective Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. Her photograph is paired with a fictional headline that reads: “Change is Coming.”

Viewers, however, took to social media to mock the montage scene, seemingly taken aback at the notion that Underwood’s story could be placed alongside pivotal points in LGBT+ history such as the Stonewall uprising.

“I know there are a lot of untold stories in the LGBTQ+ community and I’m grateful to be able to add my story to the conversation,” Colton Underwood said in the penultimate segment.

“To continue to push forward until stories like this, you know, don’t have to be told anymore.

“There’s been people before me who have helped me be able to sit in the chair right now and talk with you on a national platform.

“There’s going to be people after me that will continue to push and change people’s hearts and change people’s minds.”

More: Colton Underwood, Harvey Milk, Marsha P Johnson, Stonewall

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