Kit Connor on June 25, 2022 in Paris.
Edward Berthelot—Getty Images
November 1, 2022 4:45 PM EDT

Kit Connor, the 18-year-old English actor known for his role as Nick Nelson in the Netflix series Heartstopper, came out as bisexual on Twitter on Monday evening—but not exactly by choice.

“back for a minute,” Connor tweeted. “i’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. i think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.”

In recent weeks—and for the past several months—social media users have been accusing the actor of “queerbaiting,” given that Nick Nelson is bisexual and Connor had not publicly defined his sexuality until now.

Heartstopper is based on a wildly popular webcomic by the same name, which later became a series of graphic novels. Alice Oseman, the author of the webcomic and graphic novels, replied to Connor’s tweet with her support.

“I truly don’t understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes,” she tweeted. “I hope all those people are embarrassed as F—. Kit you are amazing.”

Actor Kizzy Edgell, who plays Darcy Olsson in the Netflix adaptation, also responded.

“i love u kit im sorry this has been so disgustingly rough on you,” Edgell tweeted. “been treated so unfairly.”

Heartstopper follows Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), an endearingly awkward student at Truham Grammar School who has been recently outed as gay. Charlie meets Nick, a popular rugby player a year older than him, and develops a hopeless crush on him. Their peers all assume that Nick is straight, until (spoiler alert) Nick falls for Charlie, too—realizing that he bisexual in the process. In a tender scene toward the end of the first season, Nick comes out to his mom (Olivia Colman). (The show has since been renewed for two more seasons.)

Charlie is his best friend, Nick tells his mom—but he’s also his boyfriend. “I still like girls, but, um… I like boys too,” Nick says. “And me and Charlie, we’re… we’re going out. And I just… want you to know.”

“Oh, baby. Aw, thank you for telling me,” his mom responds, hugging him. “I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you couldn’t tell me that.”

After Heartstopper was released in April 2022, Connor saw a huge increase in social media attention, jumping to 4.6 million followers on Instagram from roughly 200,000. And on Twitter, fans consistently speculated about the actor’s sexuality.

“twitter is so funny man,” Connor tweeted in early May. “apparently some people on here know my sexuality better than I do…”

That earlier tweet, Connor told Hunger Magazine in August, addressed the risk of outing someone, and the discomfort that accompanies it.

“I am not a big believer in labels,” Connor told Hunger. “I believe that they are extremely helpful for some people in terms of self-understanding and self-realization, but I prefer not to think too much about labels. I don’t feel like I have to tell the world about my sexuality.”

“I completely understand that many fans want queer representation to be authentic and they want to know whether it is authentic,” he continued. “But at the same time you shouldn’t make someone feel uncomfortable to the point where they have to tell a stranger about their sexuality.”

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