‘Riverdale,’ ‘Stranger Things’ Actress Shannon Purser Admits Being Bisexual, Faces Queer Baiting Backlash

Shannon Purser, star of two hit Netflix series Riverdale and Stranger Things, recently took to Twitter to reveal that she is bisexual. In an emotional post last Tuesday, the 19-year-old actress confessed that she also has just recently come out to her loved ones. Purser added that being a part of the LGBT community is all very new to her and that she is “still processing” everything.

In the same tweet, Shannon Purser also addressed the “queer baiting” backlash she is facing for a recent tweet about shutting down “shipping” rumors between two female Riverdale characters, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge. Betty and Veronica, or “Beronica” as fans call them, were seen kissing in a previous episode.

Shannon’s tweet, which has since been deleted, earned the ire of the Netflix show’s fans over its seemingly slanted tone. Queer baiting is a term that refers to a situation when people in the media imply romantic notions between two same-sex characters, only to attract more LGBT viewers and then denying them after.

Shannon Purser in a scene from Stranger Things.

Shannon apologized to those who were offended by the nature of her post but insisted that she was not aware of the term “queerbaiting.”

“I have never heard the term ‘queerbaiting’ in my life until today. That being said, I have never ever wanted to alienate anyone and my tweet was thoughtless. I wasn’t referring to all the beronica shippers, just the ones who were particularly cruel to me personally. Either way, It wasn’t a wise or kind thing to say and I’m disappointed in myself, especially as a Christian who has always been taught to speak love to others.”

Shannon closed her post by thanking those who raised the queer baiting issue to her attention. Following the brave revelation, fans gave their outpouring support for the young actress. Shannon’s Riverdale co-star, Hayley Law, even replied to the tweet and called Shannon “genuine.”

Shannon Purser is no stranger to issues thousands of adolescents around the world are dealing with. Before admitting that she is, in fact, bisexual, Shannon previously confessed having anxiety about her sexuality.

“Getting comfortable with your sexuality is a process. It’s going to be ok. I wish I’d known that sooner,” Shannon tweeted last week.

“Another thing I wish I’d known about sexuality is to take it slow. It can define you as much as you want it to. But it’s gonna be ok.”You’re going to be ok. No, you’re going to be great.”

According to Daily Mail, Shannon also dealt with self-harm and courageously shared her experience with her Twitter followers last year. The teen star posted a photo of an old razor she used to cut herself with, saying, “I haven’t self-harmed in years, but I kept this around, ‘just in case.’ I forgot it was there & now it’s in the trash.” She also urged her young fans to seek help and not to give up.

Shannon Purser celebrate SAG award with "Stranger Things" cast

In a series of tweets just hours before her coming out as bisexual, Shannon also addressed the dark underlying theme of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. Drawing from personal experience, the young actress commented that watching the show might not be a good idea for those who have suicidal tendencies or those who have undergone sexual assault.

“There are some very graphic scenes in there that could trigger painful memories and feelings. Please protect yourselves,” Purser tweeted.

Shannon Purser is best known for playing the fan favorite Barbara “Barb” Holland on Stranger Things. She is also playing as Ethel Muggs on Riverdale. She will be next seen on upcoming films Wish Upon, Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, and Life of The Party opposite Melissa McCarthy.

[Featured Image by Andrew Toth/Getty Images]