A website dedicated to lesbianism spent 2,620 words apologizing for a positive review of the movie “Sausage Party” this week after readers became outraged that the reviewer “enjoyed Salma Hayek’s portrayal” of an “animated queer taco” and found Hayek’s performance “surprisingly nuanced.”
The website is Autostraddle, which describes itself as a feminist venue for “kickass lesbian, bisexual & otherwise inclined ladies.”
“Sausage Party” is an R-rated, raunchy, computer-animated movie co-written by Seth Rogen.
Autostraddle’s 2,620-word apology is headlined “We Messed Up.”
After printing — verbatim — a 537-word “discussion about it in our senior editors channel,” the website explains why it “decided to un-publish the piece.”
There are basically four reasons, all involving backlash from angry lesbians — especially angry Hispanic lesbians.
- “Latinx readers” complained that “the portrayal of Salma Hayek’s taco was racist and that it reinforced harmful stereotypes.”
- Readers “questioned the consent of the sexual encounter between the taco and the hot dog bun.”
- Readers found Hayek’s character, Teresa Taco, “to be a damaging portrayal of a predatory queer woman.”
- Readers were upset that Autostraddle identified Teresa Taco as “a lesbian when it seems more likely that she was bisexual.”
The author of the massive apology, senior editor Heather Hogan, explains that she now believes she “should have listened to the alarm bells of unease” she felt about the “Sausage Party” review.
“First and most damning: we allowed a non-Latina writer to cover a story about a caricature of a Latina, and while the review didn’t specifically mention the film’s stereotyping, by praising the film as a positive portrayal of a queer Latina, we allowed a white writer to, in effect, condone that stereotyping,” Hogan confesses.
“I want to personally apologize to every reader who was hurt by the ‘Sausage Party’ review,” she then grovels. “I failed you as a senior editor of this website and I failed you as an ally. I am wholly sorry for the pain and anger I caused you. I offer you no justification. I was blinded by my own whiteness existing inside a system of white supremacy. I must do better. I will do better.”
Citing reviews from Variety, The AV Club, Rolling Stone and other big-name movie reviewers, Autostraddle notes that Hayek has “expressed unbridled enthusiasm about the role.”
“Every review I read that made note of the film’s cultural caricatures also indicated that those caricatures were pushed so far beyond the point of absurdity that they actually became a subversive parody of stereotypes,” Hogan observes.
The Autostraddle editors place much of the blame for the review on some sad, unnamed, poorly paid freelancer who submitted “the only pitch we received about the film.”
“None of the senior editors saw the film or wanted to,” Autostraddle notes, with a vague hint of elitism. Instead, they insist, they “plowed forward for the sake of a time-sensitive article.”
“As always, we welcome your feedback,” the Autostraddle apology concludes. “We are grateful for the accountability you provide to us, and the ways you push us to be better.” (Here is the website’s contact page.)
“Sausage Party” receives a fairly stellar 82-percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review aggregation site.