I have created this list because, whilst the occasional quote here and there containing problematic statements is easy to write off as ‘words being taken out of context’, seeing all of these quotes, articles, tweets, as well as some meta on major characters written by Moffat together is a little harder to write off.
Three things before we begin. Firstly this is by no means a comprehensive list, as such I will likely be adding to this post anything new said by Steven Moffat which I feel is relevant as well as anything I missed when I initially wrote it. Secondly, if you wish to link to this post, for whatever reason, feel free. Thirdly, if something on this list is unclear or you would like a further explanation feel free to drop me an ask, however I will not be responding to any hate I may receive so please try and be polite.
With that said, here is a list of everything I could find in which Steven Moffat demonstrates his ability to be a complete arse.
- Scotsman Interview 06-06-04
Includes sweeping generalisations such as “women are needy” as well as claims that “there’s a huge, unfortunate lack of respect for anything male”.
- After Elton Interview 01-08-11
In which Moffat spectacularly fails to understand why one-liners and minor characters don’t constitute actual GSM (Gender and Sexuality Minority) representation.
- Wales Online Interview 04-01-12
An interview were Moffat responds to an article in the Guardian which questions whether BBC!Sherlock is sexist.
- Guardian Interview 20-01-12
This is the interview in which Moffat said asexuality was boring, Irene Adler of the original “Scandal in Bohemia” was un-feminist, and talks about claims that his writing of Doctor Who is sexist.
- Think Progress Interview 07-05-12
Just one choice quote; “I remember when I was reading that story as a kid, Sherlock goes on and on about The Woman, the only one who ever beat him, and you’re thinking, he’s had better villains than this. And then you click: he fancies her, doesn’t he? That’s what it’s about.”.
- Doctor Who Confidential, All About the Girl. 10-04-10 (at 23:10 and 23:34)
“And I thought, ‘well she’s really good. It’s just a shame she’s so wee and dumpy…When she was about to come through to the auditions I nipped out for a minute and I saw Karen walking on the corridor towards me and I realised she was 5’11, slim and gorgeous and I thought ‘Oh, oh that’ll probably work’.”
- Doctor Who Confidential, Blinded by the Light. 01-05-10
“Part of the mission statement when writing a script for Doctor Who is how bad of a time can you give Amy Pond.”
“What is the base group of people who would run away with the Doctor? They’re all going to be a bit mad. A bit dislocated. Not happy with where they are. Are they yearning for outer space? They’re going to be people who feel like they can take on the Doctor, who’s quite an intimidating sort of person. So, they’re going to be feisty—they’re going to be all those things.”
“I think the function of a companion is pretty simple. I don’t think that’s very difficult. It’s just a question of who credibly is going to agree to go in the TARDIS? Who’s going to do it? Is it going to be a mother of 15 children? No. Is it going to be someone in their 60s? No. Is there going to be a particular age range? I mean … who’s going to have a crush on the Doctor? You know, come on! It’s more than a format. It’s evolved from good, dramatic reasons.”
- From an article in The Times, 19-05-12
“Your wife turns into a boat, and shortly after that, you never sleep again and you clean shit off someone. It doesn’t seem like a very appealing prospect. Obviously, the moment I saw my child, that was different, but up until that point, I was thinking, ‘how long before she gets back to normal size? Will this damage anything?’”
Adventures in Twitter
- 1:12am, 31-08-11. (x)
“I AM sexist. Women are cleverer, nicer, kinder and better at stuff. Don’t let on or they’ll keep us in fields. FIELDS!!!”
- 3:00am, 31-03-12. In response to someone asking if we were likely to see any openly gay characters in Doctor Who. (x)
“Canton is nice. Vastra and Jenny are nice. Captain Jack is nice in both directions.”
“You’d have to explain gay to him first. Then straight! Then why you were still talking when there’s ALL THESE SPACESHIPS!!” and “Then he’d be very cross it was ever in doubt, add a gay marriage setting to his screwdriver and accidentally marry a Krynoid. Again.”
- 7:46am, 11-05-12. In response to someone inquiring how The Doctor could be unaware of sexual orientations when he traveled with both Captain Jack and River. (x)
“Both of whom are happily bi. He comes from a world where such narrow views seem so ridiculous they’re hard to remember”.
- 5:07am, 11-05-12. Regarding the lack of bisexual representation in television. (x)
“We don’t acknowledge you on television cos you’re having FAR TOO MUCH FUN. You probably don’t even watch cos you’re so BUSY!!”
- 2:43pm, 18-05-12. Responding to polite comments regarding the fact that River doesn’t really contribute to bi-visibility if the majority of Doctor Who’s viewers are unaware of her bisexuality. (x)
“When did I say I thought I was contributing to bisexual visibility?? Please stop being rude to me, you have no reason to be.”.
- River Song
When we are first introduced to River Song she seemed, to many, to be a very promising character. However, as more of her backstory has been revealed it has become apparent that she is far from brilliant.
Most of the problems with River Song can be summed up in a single sentence. Her entire existence revolves around The Doctor. Almost immediately after her birth she is kidnapped and brainwashed by The Silence in the hopes of defeating The Doctor. She doesn’t end up killing him, but still she is forced to serve a life sentence because everyone thinks she killed The Doctor. After she completes her sentence she becomes Professor River Song, finally living a life of her own she goes on an expedition to The Library where she dies to save The Doctor.
River really sums it up herself; “When I first met the Doctor—a long long time ago—he knew all about me. Think about that. Impressionable young girl and suddenly this man just drops out of the sky. He’s clever and mad and wonderful and, knows every last thing about her. Imagine what that does to a girl…I live for the days when I see him.”
- Amy Pond
There are many problematic elements to Amy Pond. Though she initially appeared to be a fairly progressive character, aside from a fair amount of appealing to the male gaze, by the end of series five she had been reduced to an incredibly passive role. This passivity is perpetuated in her companion title “The Girl Who Waited” which also infantilizes her.
In series six we saw the mystical pregnancy storyline, which basically reduced Amy to her reproductive system, as well as making her a damsel in distress. After this incredibly traumatic experience she has her baby stolen from her and is given no time to deal with the experience. She also seems to regress from the character, independent and looking for adventure, we see in series five. More and more she begins to fulfill the dutiful wife role.
In fact, the only time we get to see any substantial character growth, in The Girl Who Waited, it is snatched from her and she reverts back to the Amy we see at the beginning of the episode.
- Irene Adler
Yet again we have a character who initially seems very promising. Irene Adler began as a really strong character, though she is somewhat sexualized to appeal to the male gaze. The major problems, however, appear later in the program.
Whilst Irene tells John she is gay, soon a love story begins to develop between her and Sherlock. The de-gaying of queer characters is a long standing, and incredibly problematic and erasing, trope in the mainstream media.
Furthermore, unlike Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Adler, BBC!Irene does not triumph over Sherlock. Rather her silly, womanly feelings towards Sherlock prove to be her downfall which reinforces stereotypical and sexist ideas about emotions being a weakness.
Irene’s tale finishes with her on her knees, completely helpless, about to be executed, when all of a sudden knight in shining armour Sherlock swoops in and saves her.