Shannon Purser addressed some of the issues that Riverdale caused within the LGBT community – namely the queerbaiting that the show has been called out for, particularly in its first episode.
The problems began with a kiss between Riverdale‘s two female leads, Betty and Veronica, but the kiss itself wasn’t the issue. The real mistake was how the CW and Riverdale‘s creators handled it, promoting the kiss in trailers while stating outright that Betty and Veronica would never be an item.
It was a definitive example of queerbaiting.
They used a performance of girl-on-girl action to sell the show, while fans hoped for a sincere representation of queer sexuality.
Archie Comics built an empire on the Betty/Archie/Veronica love triangle, and while Riverdale focuses on other pairings, the show’s fandom still revolves around shipping.
The rivalry between ships is so intense, that Purser inspired backlash by tweeting this mild criticism of shipping culture.
Ships are great, being horrible to people who don't ship your ship is not.
— Shannon Purser (@shannonpurser) April 18, 2017
After a few hours of backlash, Purser posted an apology where she came out as bisexual, explaining that she was “very very new to the LGBT community,” and had never heard the term “queerbaiting” before.
— Shannon Purser (@shannonpurser) April 19, 2017
Addressing the fact that shows like Riverdale have very passionate fans that ‘ship’ particular characters together, Purser apologized to fans who felt that she and the show were marginalizing them by hinting at relationships which are very unlikely to happen.
Although this was the first explicit statement about her sexual orientation, the star hasn’t been shy about the topic of sexuality in the past.
Earlier this month, she took to Twitter to talk about the anxiety she experienced over her sexuality.
Getting comfortable with your sexuality is a process. It's going to be ok. I wish I'd known that sooner.
— Shannon Purser (@shannonpurser) April 11, 2017