In the past year, movie studios have spent a lot of time showing off their inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters. Considering how hard they were patting themselves on the back one would expect a lot from these movies, but sadly, in most cases the representation was sparse to say the least, only giving us glimpses and crumbs. Or, as in the case of Valkyrie in “Thor: Ragnarok”, cutting the references to a source material canon queer character out completely. There were some who questioned these incidents, but for the most part, it was only slightly worse than the low level of representation the LGBTQ+ community are used to and there wasn’t much outrage.

But now, Pitch Perfect 3 has decided to outdo them all:

Almost kisses in ads. Asking if “Bechloe” – Becca (Anna Kendrick) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) – will ever happen, with a video featuring their shippiest moments. Universal Studios social media accounts promoting the movie in different countries following this same line of titilating marketing, indicating it is not just a coincidence but a strategy. In the promotion for Pitch Perfect 3, Universal has specifically targeted their queer fans, a significant part of the fanbase for the franchise, to get them excited about the possibility of this popular f/f fan ship happening, and hype the movie. But do they follow through? Spoiler alert: they don’t. As a matter of fact, the two characters barely have scenes by themselves in the movie overall, much less romantic development. This is blatant queerbaiting – and it gets worse.

Series star Anna Kendrick had mentioned a special cut scene she filmed with Brittany Snow and co-star Rebel Wilson confirmed it was a kiss at 2:33 in this video where she says “I wish they had put that kiss in the movie”.

That’s right, they actually filmed a kiss between Becca and Chloe and left it out of the movie, proving that there was a real opportunity for Universal to commit to this story but instead, intentionally left it out and simply used the idea of it to draw the LGBTQ+ audience to the theatres.

To recap: Universal enthusiastically spent money on marketing aimed at the LGBTQ+ community and Bechloe fans to draw them in with the hype, and spent money on filming the kiss (Blu Ray extras, anyone?), but were not willing to commit to putting the relationship in the movie itself. As the Bellas would say, they are aca-awful.

Our community is longing to see ourselves as main characters in movies and TV shows, it’s affirmation that we belong when so often we are told that we don’t. So to dangle that carrot to this audience, to give us hope for something that you know isn’t there? It’s cruel and irresponsible. And the message it sends is this: our money is good enough but our stories and experiences? Yeah, those aren’t.

We need to remember that money talks. As consumers we have power and are capable of sending strong signals, and need to be critical in what we support. If you feel something is wrong with the way we in the LGBTQ+ community are treated, speak out. Speak through your money, speak through social media, let them know what is wrong. We know how powerful our voices can be, we need to use them. Let people know that our stories are just as important.

We deserve to see ourselves up on those screens, getting those happy endings.

We deserve better.