Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem director Jeff Rowe attempted to explain away gay Splinter while Paramount deleted the evidence.
It was reported by YouTuber and movie reviewer Price of Reason that he believed the film depicted Splinter as gay after watching an early screening of the film.
He stated, “To add insult to injury, at the end of the movie Splinter is seen making out with Scumbug and then professing his love for Scumbug who he seemingly enters into a relationship with.”
“Now that in and of itself is already out of character for Splinter as we’ve known him for years as it just doesn’t seem like something he would do. But then later after researching the character posters for this movie and also consulting with Tom from Midnight’s Edge, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’ve decided to present Splinter in this movie as an LGBT character, a creative decision that I disagree with since he’s never been presented that way in the 40 years that this franchise has existed,” he added.
He then posited, “Now, I’ll admit that it was done in a somewhat ambiguous and quiet way. I also sense that with recent developments with companies like Target and Budweiser this aspect of the movie seems to be toned down. And although initially there were a few places that posted posters for Scumbag presenting him as a male, they’re not as widespread as some of the other posters we see online. But the poster does exist and I believe that it’s genuine. So I guess there’s no other way to interpret it. Make of that what you will.”
The poster was indeed official as can be seen in the tweet below from Paramount UK.
In an update in the comments section of his video, Price of Reason stated, “People have been telling me that they just saw TMNT Mutant Mayhem and somebody refers to Scumbug as “She” and I wanted to address this. When I saw an early screening 5 days ago, to the best of my recollection, Scumbug’s gender wasn’t mentioned one way or another. Knowing this character was historically male, after I had left the theater, I looked at Paramount’s official marketing for the movie. Their official movie character poster describes Scumbug as male and this is STILL POSTED on their official social media.”
He continued, “I find it hard to believe that a major studio that’s invested 80 million dollars in producing the movie and another 40 million in marketing it, just mistakenly misgenders their characters on official posters. I am also pretty sure that with 120 million dollars on the line, the TMNT posters had to get approval from several top studio executives before releasing the posters.”
Price of Reason then shared his theory as to what went down, “For whatever it’s worth, this is what I believe may have happened: Perhaps (as I mention in my video review) this whole concept was initially meant to be more ambiguous in the movie itself or it was toned down very recently and perhaps they also inserted a last minute overdub in the movie referring to Scumbug once as “she” in order to close any loophole that would potentially cause any backlash.”
He concluded, “I want everybody here to know that I take these reviews very seriously and I would never want to mislead anybody. This whole Scumbug and Splinter relationship if nothing else, is very confusing and I could only do a review based on the information I had available while making it. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing support of my channel. We are living in crazy times and sometimes I myself question what’s real and what’s not but here we are. Good day!”
Following Price of Reason’s review and coverage of his review here on Bounding Into Comics, ParamountUK has since deleted the tweet featuring the Scumbug poster.
Tom Connors of Midnight’s Edge notes, “PARAMOUNT IS TRYING TO COVER UP THE EVIDENCE THAT THEY TRIED TO MAKE SPLINTER GAY!” He then points to the initial tweet, which has now been deleted.
PARAMOUNT IS TRYING TO COVER UP THE EVIDENCE THAT THEY TRIED TO MAKE SPLINTER GAY! https://t.co/aJ8LrDscgw
— MEAD The 4K💿 Master (Tom Connors) (@ThomasConnorsJr) August 2, 2023
Not only did they delete the tweet, but had the film’s director Jeff Rowe provide one of the most bogus corporate statements to Slashfilm claiming it was all a marketing error.
He said, “That was a marketing mistake, and we were furious about it. They put that out, I don’t know who did that or how that happened, but we were immediately like, ‘That’s not true. Don’t put that in the world,’ and that will now be on the internet forever. But that was never the intention. That was never the character. We always imagined her to be a female cockroach. And that one poster was a slip up.”
If what Rowe said is true, why was the poster up for over a month before it was deleted? Why was the poster only deleted after Price of Reason, Bounding Into Comics, and others started reporting they made Splinter gay? And if he and Paramount always imagined Scumbug as a female, why has the character always been depicted as male in nearly every iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before this one?
None of what Rowe says adds up.
What do you make of Jeff Rowe’s explanation and the fact that Paramount is now deleting the evidence?