It only takes a glance at the placards brandished at last week’s anti-Trump protest to see that people love to mock the US president.
From jokes about his appearance to endless comments on the size of his hands – we get it, they’re small – it seems that nobody can resist taking a dig at Donald Trump.
And it’s not like there aren’t valid reasons for critique; from cruel immigration policies which separate families at borders to the ongoing accusations of Russian collusion, there’s plenty to say about the president’s policies.
But earlier this week, a slew of online users felt The New York Times took things too far with an animated short depicting Trump and Putin as gay lovers.
The minute-long clip – part of a three-part series entitled 'Trump Bites' – opens with the president in his bedroom, spraying his mouth with breath freshener and straightening up his bow-tie before heading downstairs to meet his date for the night – a topless, ultra-muscular Putin.
In this episode of Trump Bites, Donald Trump’s not-so-secret admiration for Vladimir Putin plays out in a teenager’… https://t.co/kACP3w0Pxa
— New York Times Opinion (@New York Times Opinion)
What follows is seemingly love at first sight.
Together, they slide into a car and link hands; again, Trump's famous tiny hands make an appearance, depicted in stark contrast to Putin's gargantuan, hairy knuckles. Within seconds, their ride has transformed into a flying unicorn. Triumphant, they make out vigorously, their tongues swirling and finally joining together in unison.
But there’s a problem, one which should be obvious – if your joke uses homosexuality as a punchline, your joke is homophobic.
The cartoon reinforces plenty of myths about gay couples, namely that they need to be comprised of one 'feminine' party and one 'masculine' party. Unsurprisingly, Trump – who portrays himself often as an ultra-masculine powerhouse – is portrayed as girlish and giddy, infatuated with his hulking Russian partner.
Femininity and homosexuality aren't synonymous, nor are femininity and weakness; the cartoon clumsily implies these links in order to undermine Trump as a joke.
Unsurprisingly, plenty of social media users weren't laughing; many took to Twitter to air their frustrations and underscore the cartoon's homophobia.
Piers Morgan isn’t gay and Donald Trump isn’t gay and they aren’t gay together and saying they are isn’t woke and i… https://t.co/NrvkAw4pxR
This isn't the first time 'gay jokes' have been made about politicians - a sketch of Piers Morgan rimming Donald Trump went viral earlier this year, and was later broadcast by the BBC, much to Morgan's annoyance.
Again, the argument applies: homosexuality isn't a punchline.