The Walking Dead is taking a bold stance against bigotry by sending a strong message to any anti-LGBTQ followers of the AMC series. In a post on the show's official Twitter page, The Walking Dead's creative team made their collective position very clear. "Hi, hello. If LGBTQ+ characters on television (or anywhere) make you uncomfortable or angry, please unfollow us. While we also encourage you to look within and be more accepting, know that there is no place in our fandom for hateful discrimination or willful ignorance. Thank you."
It seems that this statement is related to the new Walking Dead spin-off, The Walking Dead: World Beyond. A recent episode of the show featured a gay kiss between actors Jelani Alladin and Nico Tortorella, who play Will and Felix, respectively. Alladin shared the post, and expressed how "proud" he was to be part of the show that would stand up for "this LGBTQIA relationship." He also tagged Tortorella in the post. "I play Kristoff, they hate. I play Hercules, they hate. I play a queer zombie killer, they hate." Alladin later added, referring to other roles he's been criticized over. "Well, we can clearly tell whose having more fun."
The Walking Dead, like many other franchises, has always had to deal with its fair share of toxic fandom that leans into outright discriminatory behavior. One franchise that has dealt with this on a more public level is Star Wars, leading series star Mark Hamill to share his thoughts in a Daily Beast interview from May 2020. "I don’t know when, over the period of time, fandom became so contentious," Hamill said.
He went on to say, "People are really opinionated, and you can’t help but be opinionated yourself, because you’ve lived with the character so long. So whether it was on Episode VII, VIII or IX, I’d have disagreements, and I would say to whoever it was, 'Well, I don’t know if that’s right.' But everyone shares the same goal: you want to make the best movie you can."
He went on to speak specifically about the new trilogy of films, saying, "I love the new cast. I think the characters are great and all the actors are just perfect. I wish I’d gotten to work with them more, obviously, because I was so isolated. But you know, I never expected to come back at all. It was bittersweet, but I was able to enjoy it from a different perspective than years ago when I was in my twenties. So it was just fun to be a part of it, and it was sad in a way because I knew it would be the last time I’d ever play Luke."