In celebration of LGBT Pride Month, the cable network Nickelodeon seemed to suggest in a tweet that one of its most beloved children's cartoon characters, SpongeBob SquarePants, is gay.
Before his death in 2018, the show's creator Stephen Hillenburg had been asked often about SpongeBob's sexuality. He claimed the sea sponge working as a fry cook for the Krusty Krab restaurant was asexual, indicating that sexuality was not part of the cartoon's storyline.
"We never intended [the characters] to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual," Hillenburg said at the time. "We're just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show."
But the network seemed to change course Saturday, tweeting an image of SpongeBob alongside two of the channel's main characters who are known to be members of the LGBT community.
Though the tweet was not explicit about confirming the sexual identity of the sponge, LGBT activists quickly rushed to celebrate his "outing."