This article contains spoilers for the third season of Gotham which some readers may wish to avoid.

Gotham star Robin Lord Taylor has hit out out “homophobic” viewers who aren’t happy with his character’s newly-introduced gay storyline.

The FOX fantasy crime drama series based on the characters of DC Comics’s Batman franchise is currently airing its third season in the US, and a recent episode saw Taylor’s villainous character Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin profess his love for fellow series antagonist Edward Nygma, aka Riddler (Cory Michael Smith).

Taylor, who has portrayed the classic DC villain throughout all three seasons of the show, told Collider he believes that fans who argue that the character’s sexuality shouldn’t have been changed from the original Batman comic books are being homophobic, whether they’re aware of it or not.

“A lot of people [were] coming at me and saying like, ‘I love what you do with The Penguin, but I really hate this gay thing because it’s not canon,’” he said.

“Penguin was raised by penguins, and that was apparently fine, and you know Jack Nicholson, the Joker killing Batman’s parents in the [Tim Burton movie]. I haven’t really seen a lot of people shitting their pants about that.

“But, you know, when we introduce a queer storyline, ‘Eh, we love you and we love the show, but this really bothers me because you’re really messing with the character’s origins.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re homophobic, that’s homophobic. That’s it, right there.'”

The 38-year-old actor added that he thought the moment The Penguin revealed his love for Riddler on the series was “very brave”.

He said: “I don’t want to get too heavy and political, but I have to say the fact we introduced a queer element to a traditional villain storyline, something that’s been around for a very long time, I thought that was very brave.

“I thought that, even though it’s not the traditional trajectory that things tend to go, I thought that what we brought to it, both Cory and I, was a place of emotional honesty and the fact that that was treated and was embraced by both Warner Bros. and Fox, I think should be applauded.”

Gotham continues in the US next Monday (April 24) on FOX. The series is expected to air in the UK on Channel 5 later this year.

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