Shannon Purser hit the scene in a big way last year as the breakout star of Stranger Things, immediately becoming a fan favourite for her portrayal of Barb.
Following her stint on the Netflix hit, Purser's star has continued to rise with her recurring role as Ethel Muggs on Riverdale, the CW's dark new adaptation of the Archie Comics franchise.
Last night, 19-year-old Purser got into a discussion with fans of the show surrounding the show's apparent queerbaiting; in the show's pilot episode, Veronica kisses Betty in an attempt to convince Cheryl to let them onto the cheerleading squad, before being swiftly shut down by Cheryl, who points out that "faux-lesbian kissing hasn't been taboo since 1994". The kiss was used heavily in promos leading up to the show's premiere.
Fans who "ship" Veronica and Betty as a couple - were tweeting their disappointment about the lack of LGBT+ representation in the show, with one Twitter user writing that “Riverdale had the chance to open doors and do something groundbreaking, something that would mean so much to so many young girls”.
In a now-deleted tweet, Purser responded: “And I get that, representation is so powerful and important. But we didn't write the show? We have literally no say in what happens,” prompting fans to criticise her for not caring about queerbaiting.
Purser then came out as bisexual via a screenshot of her phone's Notes app, saying that she is still "very very new to the LGBT community" and had "never heard the term 'queerbaiting'" before then. She thanked fans of the show for educating her and apologised for hurting their feelings.
Earlier this month, Purser tweeted about having "anxiety" around coming to terms with her sexuality, saying that it can be "really scary", particularly when reconciling it with her Christian faith.