Reports Jack Whitehall is to play gay Disney character sparks row

Jack Whitehall's casting in a new Disney film has sparked an outcry, following reports he will play an openly gay character.

The comedian has confirmed he is set to star in Jungle Cruise, and The Sun reported that he would play a character who was "hugely effete, very camp", with a source claiming: "He is playing a gay man."

Critics are now asking why a gay actor was not picked for the part.

Actor Omar Sharif Jr posted a message on Twitter saying: "Really @Disney #JungleCruise? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes?

"Fail! This ship should sink."

Another person tweeted: "The issue with #jackwhitehall playing a gay character in a Disney film is primarily that Hollywood has issues casting gay men as straight characters so their career pool is already smaller and now it narrows it even more when you cast straight men as gay characters."

However, others argued that actors playing characters different to themselves was nothing new.

One posted: "If Jack Whitehall playing a gay character is problematic, then so is Neil Patrick Harris playing the straightest character I've ever seen on a TV show, or Jim Parsons playing the straight Sheldon Cooper, or the cast of Black Panther because they're American not African."

The film is based on the Disney theme park ride of the same name and also stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.

Representatives for Disney and Whitehall have been approached for comment.