Sex Education's George Robinson hits back at "problematic" wheelchair memes
21 September 2021, 16:43 | Updated: 21 September 2021, 21:32
WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT SEX EDUCATION SEASON 3!
George Robinson, who plays Isaac Goodwin in Netflix's Sex Education, has hit back at the offensive memes about him being a wheelchair user.
Isaac entered the Sex Education universe in season 2, after he moved into the caravan park where Maeve lives. Isaac and Maeve quickly became friends but Isaac fell for Maeve. Fuelled with jealously over her friendship/romance with Otis, Sex Education season 2 ended with Isaac deleting a voicemail Otis had left for Maeve where he confessed his love for her.
With Maeve never getting the chance to hear Otis' love declaration, she grows closer to Isaac in season 3. But Isaac decides to tell Maeve the truth about deleting the voicemail in order for them to move forward romantically.
Otis and Maeve shippers obviously hated the voicemail storyline and have expressed their thoughts on social media. But sadly, some trolls have targeted George (who became a quadriplegic aged 17 after breaking his neck and injuring his spinal cord during a school rugby match) with cruel memes that reference him being a wheelchair user, and depict Isaac being pushed down stairs or set on fire.
In a new interview, George has called out the offensive memes and noted how they are harmful to the disabled community. "The problem is lot of discussions online about Isaac are often only communicated through memes. This is inherently problematic because it's a very superficial, visual medium that requires us to add the context," George said.
"I like to assume that the reason most people hate Isaac is not because of his wheelchair, but because he's not necessarily likeable. However, the only way memes can communicate this is presented physically, through the wheelchair."
He added: "It doesn't make it right at all. It shows there's still a long way to go in terms of how these issues are presented and how people talk about disability. It's not on."
Speaking out early 🚫— Ginny & Tonic 🥤 (@GinnyAndT) September 17, 2021
You may not like Isaac from #SexEducation but if you 'joke' about hurting him by tipping him out of his wheelchair, that is NOT OK
These jokes can trigger intense trauma for us wheelchair users.
Plus, it's abusive and ableist.
Already seeing the memes...
Although George has been subjected to cruel comments online, he still loves that his character is so divisive and believes his role is important for breaking down taboos within the disabled community. "The feedback I've got from within the disability community is that it's really refreshing to see someone who is so comfortable within themselves and not questioning their existence," George said.
He continued: "I hope that through Isaac, people see how to treat someone with disability as if they were treating anyone else, regardless of it."