Fans of The Summer I Turned Pretty, a hit teen drama on Amazon Prime adapted from a young adult book series of the same name, are furious after discovering that one of the show’s lead actors “liked” some conservative social media posts.
Cockburn was first alerted to the controversy by his niece, who describes herself as the show’s “biggest fan” and regularly trawls Reddit threads about the Amazon streaming series.
The Summer I Turned Pretty is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl, Isabella or “Belly,” who finds herself caught in a love triangle with a pair of brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher. Just like with the love triangles in the Twilight and Hunger Games series, fans endlessly debate over who Belly should end up with. Jeremiah Stans often find themselves swayed by the fact that the character is played by actor Gavin Casalegno, the tanned, blue-eyed, curly-haired subject of every Gen Z girl’s daydreams.
But a few months ago, Casalegno’s loyal teen fan base found themselves disturbed by some of his social media activity. Problematic behavior by Casalegno included conversing with conservative actor Dean Cain on Twitter, as well as liking tweets from Republican Texas governor Greg Abbott and an Instagram video of Jordan Peterson dismantling the idea of transgenderism.
The snooping fandom also discovered that Casalegno’s father follows Andrew Tate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Donald Trump and Libs of TikTok.
Casalegno trended again on Twitter last week after he was caught liking an Instagram post that revealed he prefers women who “love the Lord,” are unvaccinated, not feminists and want to be stay-at-home mothers. Casalegno has always been an outspoken Christian, but this was apparently a bridge too far.
Casalegno’s social media presence has caused a divide within fans of The Summer I Turned Pretty. Some insists he has the right to his own opinions. Others say they denounce his views but are going to try to separate the actor from his character on the show. Still, the most popular stance among viewers seems to be that Casalengo is a hate-filled bigot who deserves to be canceled.
“I not only feel betrayed but just gross,” said one fan on Reddit after Casalegno blocked her for calling out his social media activity. “This man sure does hate women, especially me & the other women who were calling him out for his bullshit.”
“It’s not OK to have differing opinions when you’re discussing human rights. People are not allowed to “’feel however they want”’ when you’re discussing asylum seekers, women fighting for equal rights and trans rights to exist,” another chimed in.
For his part, Casalegno has claimed that he hardly uses Instagram and would not have intentionally liked the post about preferring women who are unvaxxed Christian homemakers. Even Cockburn, who occasionally has a hairpin trigger finger when scrolling Instagram, has a tough time stomaching that excuse.
The battle over Casalegno’s post raises interesting questions about how teens and young adults will deal with the fact that recent surveys show young women becoming more liberal while young men are not. Will young women be willing to let go of their increasingly radical political positions in favor of six-pack abs and pouty lips? If a handsome, famous actor can’t overcome the political divide, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for anyone else…