What is queerbaiting, and which celebs have been accused of it?

Harry Styles is far from the first star to face the music

Stars Insider

05/09/22 | StarsInsider


The term “queerbaiting,” recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary only in March 2021, actually arose years earlier as part of a larger LGBTQ+ discourse in media representation that looked at how everything from films, novels, TV series, and celebrities have conveyed ambiguous sexual identity as a subtle marketing tactic.

Queerbaiting is specifically a marketing plot that involves using sexual ambiguity to appeal to an LGBTQ+ audience for capitalistic gain without actually participating in LGBTQ+ representation. In Hollywood, that capitalistic gain can mean everything from promoting an album or landing a film role, to gaining fans and social media followers, and it has become an ever-pressing issue with celebrities like Harry Styles—though he’s certainly not the first.

Intrigued? Click through to learn more about the term, its controversies, and the stars who’ve been accused of queerbaiting.

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