Nickelodeon has appeared to confirm longtime fan theories that SpongeBob Squarepants is gay in a Twitter post celebrating Pride Month on June 13. The tweet honored LGBTQ+ stars of the network and included the popular yellow sponge, and frankly, I don’t think anyone is really surprised (though it is pretty cool to see them acknowledge it).
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) June 13, 2020
- Why shouldn’t SpongeBob get to celebrate his gay pride? “Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month 🌈,” Nickelodeon wrote in the post, featuring pictures of SpongeBob as well as Schwoz Schwartz from Henry Danger, and Korra from Avatar spin-off Legend of Korra, all of whom were given a rainbow-hued background.
- People have been wondering if SpongeBob was gay since the early ’00s. In 2005, Christian group Focus on the Family accused SpongeBob and other cartoon and kids’ show characters of being pro-gay propaganda, and while series creator Stephen Hillenburg said at the time that he considered SpongeBob to be “almost asexual,” it’s possible that he said that in order to avoid alienating viewers. Plus, even Entertainment Weekly and The Wall Street Journal were questioning Spongebob’s preferences, as both publications wrote articles on the subject back in 2002.
- Even if SpongeBob wasn’t gay but asexual, that still makes him LGBTQ+. Hillenburg himself said so 18 years ago, explaining, “Spongebob isn’t actually gay, however, he IS on the LGBT+ spectrum.” Again, attitudes were a whole lot different back then, so this could have been a way to keep everyone happy without committing to any one character trait.
- Yes, it’s a cartoon character, but it’s still important. While many people might think it’s silly to debate the sexuality of a cartoon sponge, the point is that kids watch the show and that representation matters. While a little boy or girl might not identify with SpongeBob in general, seeing a character that’s happily gay or even asexual is vital representation and actually pretty cool.