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‘X-Men ’97’s J.P. Karliak Breaks Silence On Backlash Against Non-Binary Morph

The reactions were no surprise to the voice actor.

Marvel announced Morph as a non-binary character before ‘X-Men ‘97’ came out in March 2024. This caused criticism on social media. J.P. Karliak commented on these reactions in an interview with CBR’s Sam Stone.

Stone asked the actor if the backlash surprised him. He explained:

“No. [Laughs] I’m a queer activist. I run a nonprofit that advocates for queer representation. I also co-founded a voter registration organization. I know what’s going on in the world, especially politically, so no, it didn’t surprise me at all. [Laughs]”

He also mentioned the support from fans against the criticism:

“I think what I appreciated was how much counter-backlash there was, with people like ‘Have you watched the ‘X-Men?’ Are you familiar with why they were created and what they’re about? Did you forget that?’ That was reassuring.”

He Takes No Offense

Karliak is the founder and president of Queer Vox. This non-profit academy supports LGBTQIA+ voice actors by fighting for fair casting chances.

Critics also targeted the actor’s activism during the ongoing discussions. But he said:

“I haven’t really taken offense with anything anybody’s published, as much as they’ve tried. [Laughs] There was one article that called me a radical queer activist and listed the insidious mission statement of my organization – verbatim of what was on the website. I was like ‘Facts. No lies here, thanks for the promotion!’”

We Won’t Hear The Word

Karliak explained the revived series doesn’t use the term ‘non-binary’ because it’s set in the 1990s. That’s also why Morph uses he/him pronouns in it:

“Two things about that – one, as far as I know, we’re never going to say the word ‘non-binary’ because nobody said the word ‘non-binary’ in the ‘90s. It’s not that it didn’t exist; it was just in no way a mainstream term at the time. Morph’s understanding of who he is could equate to what a modern person would say is non-binary, but he just doesn’t have the terminology for it. At the same time, they/them wasn’t a concept in terms of using it as a pronoun.”

‘X-Men ‘97’ will continue releasing new episodes weekly until May 15. The team is already planning a second and third season.

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