An animated video produced by The New York Times Opinion has caught flak for mocking the relationship between President Donald Trump and Russian Presient Vladimir Putin for portraying them as gay.
The video was shared on the NYT Opinion Twitter page on Monday morning, and had more than 43,000 views by the afternoon.
The video is part of a short, three-part series called "Trump Bites" by Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton who is "known for his outrageous sense of humor," according to NYT Opinion.
The video was released just as President Trump was scheduled to have an exclusive meeting with Putin in Finland on Monday.
The video, titled "Trump and Putin: A Love Story," attempted to show Donald Trump’s "not-so-secret admiration for Vladimir Putin" through a "teenager’s bedroom, where the fantasies of this forbidden romance come to life," according to the NYT tweet. It showed President Trump and Putin holding hands and kissing, while riding a unicorn amid rainbows, and even portrays President Trump squeezing Putin's animated breasts.
Many felt that portraying a romantic relationship between two men as a source of mockery bordered on homophobia. “In reality, the video does little more than reduce being gay to a punchline,” Vox wrote on Monday.
The cartoon, initially published on Sunday afternoon on the NYT Opinion Twitter handle, did not receive much response from their 662,000 followers. Subsequent tweets of the cartoon received backlash from many users, including from LGBT activists:
Some tried to defend the cartoon on the grounds that it merely showed Trump and Putin’s relationship and was not an actual attack on homosexuality:
Oxygen.com has reached out to creator Bill Plympton for comment.
[Photo: President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland on July 16. By Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images]