Nickelodeon shares Pride message from LGBTQIA+ characters — including SpongeBob

Nickelodeon is voicing its support for Pride Month with a new message that drew plenty of praise from fans — plus some surprise over a certain character’s inclusion.

On June 13, the TV channel tweeted that it was celebrating the “LGBTQIA+ community and their allies this month and every month.” The post included images of Michael D. Cohen, the transgender actor who plays Schwoz Schwartz in the live-action series “Henry Danger,” and Korra, the bisexual lead character of the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” sequel series, “The Legend of Korra.”

The final face in Nickelodeon’s post? SpongeBob SquarePants. The lovable yellow sponge appeared in the tweet, covered in an array of Pride colors.

Nickelodeon’s message led many fans to speculate that, by including SpongeBob, the channel was identifying the character as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community — or at the very least, an ally of the community.

Those speculations only grew when, shortly after sharing the post, Nickelodeon turned off replies to the tweet.

“Did they just confirm spongebob as gay and then turn off the replies. If so i love this for him,” one user wrote.

“SpongeBob has been a gay icon for years! I literally had conversations about this with members of the LGBTQIA+ community nearly 20 years ago!” another wrote.

Many, meanwhile, were simply excited to see such a prominent character named as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community — regardless of his perceived sexuality.

“I don’t care if spongebob is asexual, bisexual or gay, I stan him,” one Twitter user wrote.

As Insider points out, Stephen Hillenburg, who created “SpongeBob SquarePants,” spoke on the character’s sexuality in 2005, telling Reuters he saw him as being “almost asexual.”

“Legend of Kora,” which aired between 2012 and 2014, received a great deal of praise for its decision to depict its lead character as LGBTQIA+. After the series ended, co-creator Bryan Konietzko reflected on the importance of the decision.

“At first we didn’t give it much weight, not because we think same-sex relationships are a joke, but because we never assumed it was something we would ever get away with depicting on an animated show for a kids network in this day and age, or at least in 2010,” he wrote.

If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on Nordstrom’s first gender-inclusive collection.

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