Harry Reid has shared his disappointment at viewers' negative reactions to his recent EastEnders gay kiss with co-star Jonny Labey.
The 22-year-old actor's character Ben Mitchell shared a smooch with Paul Coker on Monday night, but revealed on Instagram afterwards that not everyone had been open to their relationship.
"It's upsetting to read the negative tweets about the gay kiss in last night's episode of Eastenders," he wrote alongside a photo of notorious bisexual gangster Ronnie Kray.
"I only want to ask one question. Would you have called Ronnie Kray disgusting?"
Reid, who joined the long-running soap last September, added that he was "not biting, it just needed pointing out".
@bbceastenders there should be a warning before scenes like this happen— Adrian F Henderson (@adr1anhenderson) June 1, 2015
Gay couple kissing before the watershed and violence, but no swearing because that would be wrong #Eastenders— The Joker (@aldapiez) June 1, 2015
@bbceastenders eastenders please stop showing these disgusting scenes,im a long term viewer but scenes like this will put off your audience— Faze (@EriPrince95) June 1, 2015
Why so much concentration on gay issues in soaps lately. Too much graphic information. PC brigade at work again #eastenders— K.J. (@DanburyPark) June 1, 2015
I'm no prude, nor anti-gay but I think eastenders was a bit out of order with the kiss scene, especially considering the broadcast time.— Si (@aletales_) June 2, 2015
Ben had been openly gay before he killed Heather and began describing his sexuality as a phase, even dating Abi in a bid to prove it. Newcomer Paul slipped Ben his number in Monday's episode and they later kissed after meeting at Blades.
Landmark LGBT TV moments
Landmark LGBT TV moments
1/9 EastEnders gay kiss - 1989
EastEnders becomes the first British soap to screen a kiss between two gay men. The Sun branded the landmark kiss between Colin and Guido as a “ love scene between yuppie poofs”.
2/9 Orange is the New Black – 2013
The Netflix series features lesbian and bisexual women of different colours and sizes, but its greatest accomplishment is the honest portrayal of its transgender character, Sophia Burset (played by Laverne Cox).
3/9 Brookside lesbian kiss - 1994
Brookside followed suit as the first to screen a lesbian kiss when Beth and Margaret shared a passionate embrace.
4/9 Lesbian lead on US TV - 1997
US TV gets its first ever lesbian lead, as Ellen Morgan (played by Ellen DeGeneres) came out in a special two-part episode of ABC's Ellen.
5/9 Primetime TV gets gay characters - 1998
Will & Grace debuts on NBC as one of the first primetime US series to feature lead gay characters. Actors Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes played Will and Jack on the successful show that ran for eight seasons.
6/9 First lesbian drama series - 2004
Television gets its first predominantly lesbian dramatic series in Showtime's The L Word.
7/9 Glee - 2009
Glee is the television show with the most number of regular and recurring homosexual characters, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Glee has won four Golden Globes, including a supporting actor nod for Chris Colfer—who played bullied open gay character Kurt Hummel.
8/9 Modern Family – 2009
The Emma-winning and progressive ABC series features an interracial and extended family along with leading gay characters Cam and Mitchell as the adored married couple.
9/9 E4's Cucumber, Banana and Tofu – 2015
Russell T Davies' recent trio of programmes bring a sensitive and serious yet funny portrayal of contemporary queer life with gay and lesbian lead characters—Henry and Scotty.
Reid's co-star Adam Woodyatt took to Twitter to support him, writing "Don't bite little bro, they're not worth it", while hoardes of other fans voiced their anger at the nasty tweets.
@HarryReid16 Don't bite little bro, they're not worth it.— Adam Woodyatt (@AdamWoodyatt) June 2, 2015
@bbceastenders firstly Eastenders is NOT a family show.. & secondly no warnings 4 male/female kiss. No need for warnin of male/male kiss.— CarrieHeffron (@CarrieH2010) June 1, 2015
So many homophobic tweets about the gay kiss in #EastEnders tonight STOP. It's 2015. Smh— TwoDoorTom:). (@tom_inwood) June 1, 2015
*Ben & Paul kiss on Eastenders* Dad: But it's before watershed Me: So straight people can kiss but gays can't? Dad: Yeah Me: *throws bottle*— Buck & Wanda (@Druidess_Amelia) June 1, 2015
Love that there are people genuinely angry at a gay kiss on Eastenders, but have been absolutely fine with three decades of murders.— Paul Sinha (@paulsinha) June 3, 2015
Ben and Paul's gay kiss was by no means the first on EastEnders - it became the first soap to air one in 1989 between Colin and Guido.