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Where to Turn...

This comment, posted on ASK GREG, was brought to my attention today, and I thought I should respond sooner rather than later...

Question received on Wed, February 02, 2022 12:26:33 AM
Anonymous writes...
I'm not really a fan of how you've increasingly used GLAAD and MPAC to shield yourself from criticism from fans. I've seen you use their support to say the criticism isn't a monolith more than once. Yeah of course it's not a monolith, but that doesn't mean the criticism isn't valid. It comes off a little -i can't be racist i have a black friend- Not to mention that these Hollywood institutions are often out of touch with everyday people, so you should listen to your fans as much as you listen to them. And as a cis white straight man, you dont ever have the right to tell someone who is LGBT or a POC that they're wrong. Just log off Twitter and stop responding. People are allowed to have their own opinions.

This is clearly a response to the following Twitter exchange:

Xaar
@Xaar95340771
@Greg_Weisman
Stop misrepresenting Islam and Muslims in your cartoons. The bare minimum is to educate yourself about the topic. Being a Muslim magician is oxymoronic the 2 are not compatible. Performing magic takes one out of Islam. One cannot be both like Khalid claims.
5:56 PM · Jan 28, 2022·Twitter Web App

Greg Weisman
@Greg_Weisman
We ran everything on that episode, which was written by @nidachowdhry and performed by @UsmanAlly, by @SueObeidi and the folks at @mpac_national. And they were happy with it. So perhaps - just perhaps - you should consider that not every Muslim agrees with you.

First off, I agree that people are allowed to have their opinions. I never said otherwise. I NEVER said that Xaar was "wrong". I clearly wrote that perhaps not every Muslim viewer agrees with him, her or them, and I clearly have evidence to back that statement up. Yet, you seem to have no problem mischaracterizing what I wrote. Likewise, you seem to have no problem disrespecting me, and by implication disrespecting the Muslim writer of the episode, disrespecting the Muslim actor who performed the role of Khalid, and disrespecting the Muslim organization that works daily to improve how Muslims are depicted in the media. (And for no particular reason, disrespecting GLAAD while you were at it.)

Meanwhile, as a pragmatic matter, I'm not exactly sure what alternative you're preaching.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you are right about MPAC and GLAAD being "Hollywood institutions" that "are often out of touch with everyday people." [And to be clear, I disagree with that statement strongly. I even take some umbrage at the notion that MPAC's Sue Obedi is not "everyday people," or the implication that I'm not.] But again, for the sake of argument, who else should I be consulting when I and the rest of the YJ crew make a concerted effort to accurately and respectfully depict Muslims? The fans? How would that work in advance of us making something for the fans to see. Should I poll a random selection of fans? And would that make everyone happy? As it currently stands, I've received complaints on this point from only two "fans". The relatively anonymous "Xaar" and the completely anonymous you (and that's assuming that you yourself are not Xaar, i.e. that you are not the same person slamming me twice on two separate forums). The dozen or so other comments I've received from self-stated Muslim fans have all been highly positive. So do I need 100% agreement in order to do ANYTHING? Or can I go with the prevailing sentiment expressed by most fans (a.k.a. everyday people), MPAC, the writer and the actor?

See, the thing is I'm not hiding behind MPAC or GLAAD. But I am respecting their opinions - and relating those opinions to you and the rest of the fandom, because I think its pertinent information.

Mostly, as a self-admitted "cis white straight [animist Jewish] man," I'm admitting I'm NOT an expert on being a cis biracial straight Muslim man. So instead, I WENT to experts. That's how this works. And I don't see how else it could work. Or are you suggesting that I should only write about cis white straight [animist Jewish] male characters, and never attempt to add diversity to the projects I work on? Cuz, frankly, that's not going to happen, and I don't really think anyone wants that - unless what they really want is a DIFFERENT "crime" with which to hammer me.

As for logging off Twitter, there are days (like today) when I want nothing more. But (a) I feel the need to promote the projects I've worked on, both for the sake of my own career and for the other people who've worked so hard on those projects, and (b) if, as you say, people are entitled to their opinions, then I figure I'm also entitled to mine. So I'm not going to allow you or anyone like you to chase me off. Certainly not over the sin of YOU misquoting ME.



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