Pop Culture Fix: Ousted Lesbian Exec Refused Marvel’s Gay-Erasing “Quantumania” Edits, New Book Reveals

Marvel Studios Demanded Gay-Friendly Signs Erased From Quantumania, Lesbian Exec Victoria Alonso said No

victoria alonso at the quantumania premiere

(Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

The comprehensive book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, by Joanna Robinson, Dave Fonzales and Gavin Edwards, debuted today, and it contains some interesting behind-the-scenes information around censorship of LGBTQ+ content for some conservative international markets, and about the tenure of Victoria Alonso, once the highest ranked Latina lesbian executive in Hollywood, who was suddenly terminated this past March.

Alonso originally joined the studio in 2006, dating back to before the first Iron Man film, as chief of visual effects and postproduction. In 2021, she was promoted to President, Physical and Postproduction, VFX and Animation Production. Her March 2023 dismissal was seen as surprisingly abrupt and contentious — at a time when Marvel’s VFX workers were beginning to speak out about mistreatment and overwork. In April, the story got more complicated when it was revealed that there was a settlement over Alonso’s termination, and rumors swirled that she’d been let go for doing PR for Argentina, 1985 — a passion project film produced by Alonso that was in the middle of an Oscars run for Best International Feature Film.

At the time, in response to those rumors, Alonso’s lawyer Patricia Glaser released the following statement: “The idea that Victoria was fired over a handful of press interviews relating to a personal passion project about human rights and democracy that was nominated for an Oscar and which she got Disney’s blessing to work on is absolutely ridiculous. Victoria, a gay Latina who had the courage to criticize Disney, was silenced. Then she was terminated when she refused to do something she believed was reprehensible.”

In MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, the authors describe some of the cuts made by Marvel to de-gay its films for the Chinese market, including “cutting a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it relationship in Wakanda Forever and excising the queer-friendly signs and flags in the background of the San Francisco scenes of Quantumania,” which required some digital tweaks by the VFX department:

…but it frustrated Victoria Alonso, a queer woman, so much that she refused to make the edits. So did everyone on her team. D’Esposito then went around her and outsourced the job to a VFX contractor. This was a crack in the unified front of Marvel’s leadership team, one of many that would lead to a messy and public fracture.

This came after, also according to the book, “Alonso had broken one of [Marvel head Kevin] Feige’s cardinal rules: don’t speak out publicly against the company” for joining public pressure encouraging Disney to speak out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill in 2022. According to the authors’ sources, after the “Don’t Say Gay” outcry, Fiege reportedly cautioned Alonso to “‘keep her head down’ and ‘do the work.'”

It’s long been assumed by fans that Marvel has made cuts to gay storylines and relationships in part to make their films more palatable in conservative markets, though Alonso’s work in relationship to those cuts and projects has not been discussed before now. MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios is available wherever you get your books.

Feature image of Victoria Alonso by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Other queer pop culture news for your day:

+ According to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Riverdale‘s final season originally had a more ambitious plan, thwarted by budget concerns: “Originally, when we pitched the season, one of the ideas that we pitched was that the first 13 episodes would be in the ’50s, and then starting around Episode 14 or so, we would start moving in time. So Episode 14 would be set in the ’60s, Episode 15 would be set in the ’70s, and then the ’80s, the ’90s… kind of working through to the present day.”

+ There’s a new trailer for the hotly anticipated Color Purple musical film, starring Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, and Fantasia Barrino. Carmen just wants to know if it will finally be gay:

+ Reclaiming ‘Buffy’: How Amber Benson’s ‘Slayers’ Reintroduces Spike, Tara and Anya — and Finally Gets ‘Justice for Cordelia’: Variety talks to the cast of the new Audible production.

+ LOVE IS A LIE? Soccer Stars Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger Are Indeed Divorcing, Thus Deeply Saddening the Lesbian Community

+ Orphan Black Echoes!!

+ Ranking the Greatest Scream Queens in Film History (we did a “ranked by lesbianism” ranking last year, obviously the gay one is better because it’s gay)

+ Going Behind the Scenes With LGBTQ+ Filmmakers Uncovering Queer Stories in New Hope, Pennsylvania

+ Hot: Polaroids from the big queer festival Muna called ‘Lesbopalooza’

+ Americana Singer Jaime Wyatt’s New Album ‘Feel Good’ Bolsters Queer Joy: “I’m Here To Be Visible For Young Lesbians”

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.

Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 714 articles for us.

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