"Alexander: The Making of a God" Source: Netflix

Conservatives Flunk History with Tantrums over 'Gay' Portrayal of Alexander the Great

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Right-wingers are demonstrating their grasp of history once again with angry denunciations of a docuseries that portrays Alexander the Great the way he most likely was: bisexual or, in any case, a man who loved men as well as women. Comments slamming the series, however, get even that part wrong, clamoring that the show "turns" Alexander "gay."

As the Oliver Stone film "Alexander" did 20 years ago, the Netflix docuseries "Alexander: The Making of a God" recalls how a Macedonian prince inherited his father's throne at the age of 20 and, in a mere handful of years, led his warriors to victory across the ancient world, creating a huge empire and achieving everlasting fame.

Where the Oliver Stone film shied away from showing anything too overt, however, the docuseries has no qualms depicting Alexander in same-sex clinches.

The show features blond hunk Buck Braithwaite as the greatest military mind the world has ever known, with Will Stevens portraying Hephaestion, the man historians (and legend) say was probably more than just a friend.

Most viewers don't seem to have a problem with either the historical facts or the depiction of them. Newsweek detailed that "the six-part docuseries features historians and dramatic reenactments of Alexander's life and has been one of the top 10 viewed series on Netflix since its debut" on Jan. 31.

Newsweek noted that one expert, the American University of Cairo's Dr. Salima Ikram, explains in the series that "Hephaestion really was not just a cherished companion, but perhaps his greatest love."

Newsweek also pointed out that another expert, Cardiff University's Prof. Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, informed viewers of the documentary series that "The Greeks did not have a word for homosexuality, or to be gay. It just wasn't in their vocabulary whatsoever. There was just being sexual."

For that reason, Jones said, "Same-sex relationships were quite the norm throughout the Greek world."

As indeed they are in our own modern world – much to the chagrin of some who would police the private lives of others.

That chagrin was instantly observable in online comments from homophobic viewers who didn't seem to realize that in depicting Alexander and Hephaestion as friends with benefits, or perhaps something more deeply romantic, the series is simply hewing to what's known of the historical figures and the time and place in which they lived.

"Within the first 8 minutes, they turned him gay," a tweet from a group called End Wokeness lamented of Alexander's depiction as a bisexual man.

That tweet, according to UK newspaper the Daily Mail, was the opening volley in a "firestorm" of attacks from the anti-LGBTQ+ right that targeted the show for not redacting history to their liking.

"Alexander: The Making of a God"
Source: Netflix

More accusations were hurled from the shadowlands of online conspiracy theorists.

"Those who control Hollywood are part of the globalist agenda," one individual declared. "Destroying families, spreading degeneracy, dismantling traditions, depopulating US/EU through social engineering... those are their long-term objectives."

"Nobody to protect Alexander the Great from these satanists," the post added, overlooking the absence of anything close to "Satan" in the Ancient Greek religious tradition.

The gnashing of teeth from the right sparked jocular responses from those who knew a little more about the ancient world.

Noted one post: "The Right are losing their minds because apparently they don't know that Alexander The Great was famously bisexual. 🤣"

The person who posted that included a quote that was ironically a propos to the "controversy" around reflecting genuine history in a documentary series: "'I love the poorly educated' - Trump".

Have a look at some of the other responses that homophobic posts prompted on X (formerly Twitter).

Watch the trailer for "Alexander: The Making of a God" below.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

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.

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