Nickelodeon made the announcement on Twitter over the weekend in honor of Pride Month.
Introducing the newest member of the LGBTQ community: SpongeBob SquarePants!
On Saturday, Nickelodeon confirmed on Twitter that SpongeBob was among the LGBTQ community, sharing a photo of the beloved cartoon sponge and writing, “Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month.”
The network also included photos of transgender Canadian actor Michael Cohen, who played Schwoz Schwartz in Henry Danger, and Korra from The Legend of Korra, who is bisexual.
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) June 13, 2020
Social media users quickly expressed their overwhelming approval of Nickelodeon’s announcement, sparking the hashtag “#SpongeBobIsGay” to trend on Twitter.
“We stan spongebob the gay icon,” wrote one Twitter user
“All those homophobic rats are screaming inside #SpongebobIsGay,” said another.
— Alice (@satanofrock) June 14, 2020
— sánch🕊 (@sancheztdavis) June 14, 2020
— Brandon (@DeltaSigmaBeta) June 13, 2020
In 2005, SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg told Reuters that the loveable cartoon character was asexual, despite many fans assuming he and his starfish pal, Patrick Starr, were gay.
“We never intended them to be gay,” said Hillenburg, who died in 2018. “I consider them to be almost asexual. We’re just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show.”
SpongeBob SquarePants launched in 1999 and aired for 12 seasons following the adventures of SpongeBob and fellow Bikini Bottom residents Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, Pearl, Gary the Snail, Plankton and Mrs. Puff.
The animated series has won four Emmy Awards and spawned two films. A third film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, was intended to be released in May but has been delayed to August due to the coronavirus pandemic.