'Heartstopper' Cast Responds to Hate with Dance and Whitney Houston at London Pride

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday July 5, 2022

Joe Locke and the cast of "Heartstopper" face off against protestors at London Pride
Joe Locke and the cast of "Heartstopper" face off against protestors at London Pride  (Source:Screencap/Twitter/Joe Locke)

The cast of the Netflix gay dramedy "Heartstopper" were in attendance at London Pride, where they faced off with a group of anti-LGBTQ+ protestors, meeting hate with joy, dance, and Whitney Houston, according to CNN.

"A viral video, with more than 220,000 likes on Twitter, shows the faceoff between actors from the show and anti-LGBTQ protesters at Saturday's London Pride parade," CNN recounted. "British actors Kit Connor, Joe Locke, and Sebastian Croft dance and sing along to Houston's 'I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)' in the video."

"Series leads Kit Connor and Joe Locke were joined by their co-stars Kizzy Edgell, Corinna Brown, Tobie Donovan and Sebastian Croft at the march, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year," Variety detailed.

Lead actor Joe Locke, who plays shy, out gay high schooler Charlie, retweeted the video, which shows him jumping around to the lively dance track and giving the protestors a single-finger salute with both hands.

"Had to do my job properly," Locke tweeted.

Co-star Kit Connor, who plays rugged bisexual athlete Nick, sought to correct the record with his own retweet of the video.

"uhhh I was videoing and screaming at them but please don't be mistaken, it wasn't 'Kit Connor and the rest of the cast', it was @joelocke03 and @SebastianCroft front and centre," Connor sent out, referencing both Locke and the actor who plays Charlie's closeted ex-boyfriend.

"Please give them the credit for doing something so powerful," Connor added.

Croft posted a different video of the same scene.

"Love always wins," Croft wrote in the accompanying post.

The series is based on a popular graphic novel about Nick and Charlie navigating first love. The Netflix adaptation aired an eight-episode first season earlier this year. The series, which has been renewed for two more seasons, "has been lauded for its complex portrayal of queer characters and has a rare 100% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes," CNN noted.

This was not the first time the show's cast members have stood up to anti-LGBTQ+ hate. Locke pushed back against online trolls with a post in which he wrote, "Everyone should be entitled to an opinion, but just know we see most of the stuff people post online."

Connor came to his co-star's defense with a post in which he called out the juvenile antics of trolls, writing, "primary school playground flashbacks."

Connor has also pushed back against speculation around his own sexual orientation, which he has opted to keep private, saying that he's not interested in labeling himself.

But Connor also spoke eloquently about the basis for the show's widespread appeal, Variety recalled.

"To have a show where you see queer people being happy and being together and united as a group, I think there's something really beautiful about that," Connor said in a May interview he and Locke did with the entertainment outlet.

Connor went on to add: "I think that shows like 'Euphoria' that are very queer are still very much sort of adult in many ways because they are very dark and gritty. I think it's really important to have a show that is just portraying queer love and queer beauty."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.