Nickelodeon tweeted about Pride using a photo of SpongeBob and the internet interpreted it as the cartoon’s coming out moment.
June is Pride month. Although it’s been a year unlike any other, the month remains a time where members of the LGBTQ community are celebrated by their peers and allies. For media this means hopefully to provide support through their content, highlighting the characters and stories that reflect the lives of queer people all around the world. Like SpongeBob, apparently.
There’s been a long discussion about SpongeBob and his sexuality, with fans highlighting his relationship with Patrick as having romantic undertones. On Saturday, Nickelodeon reignited the discourse by uploading a tweet celebrating Pride and the LGBTQ community.
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) June 13, 2020
The tweet features a photo of SpongeBob along with Korra from “The Legend of Korra,” and Schwoz from “Henry Danger.” The latter two characters broke boundaries for the LGBT community, especially since these are both programs geared for children — an audience not usually exposed to queer cartoon personalities.
Depictions of these characters highlight how much times have changed and the slow yet noticeable progress that society has experienced in recent years.
Many viewers interpreted the tweet as a coming out moment for SpongeBob.
i love that it’s not even “spongebob IS gay” everyone went so feral so quick that it’s just SPONGEBOB GAY pic.twitter.com/vZQOHXVv8o
— brooke 🍃 (@asaahis) June 13, 2020
THIS PIC HAS ONLY GOTTEN MORE POWERFUL pic.twitter.com/tATy8k0ZXn
— capitalism destroyer & god dethroner (@kidlcki) June 13, 2020
In 2005, SpongeBob’s creator Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away in 2018, was asked about SpongeBob’s sexuality. “We never intended them to be gay,” he said. “I consider them to be almost asexual.”
Of course, there are tweets celebrating that too.
Spongebob Squarepants is an asexual!!
Spread it like wildfire, everyone!! Don’t erase his asexuality!! pic.twitter.com/hEe4z3w8py
— J 🏳️🌈 ᵇˡᵐ, #MoralesGang (@Realm_of_Light) June 13, 2020
Let’s all give it up for our asexual icon, Spongebob! 🖤🤍💜 pic.twitter.com/QM0IEl75OX
— 🌈 𝙴𝚡𝚝𝚛𝚊 𝙶𝚊𝚢 𝙲𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚞𝚛𝚎 🌈 (@is_spinel) June 13, 2020