The Walking Dead made clear that not even zombies can stomach hate and homophobia. Jelani Alladin and Nico Tortorella play a gay couple in the spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and when some intolerant fans became upset with the characters and storyline, the show tweeted a quick and final response for any bigots who find their moral senses offended.
“If LGBTQ+ characters on television (or anywhere) make you uncomfortable or angry, please unfollow us,” read the post on the show’s main Twitter account, and reminding viewers “there is no place in our fandom for hateful discrimination or willful ignorance.”
Alladin plays Will on the show, a former security guard and the boyfriend of Felix, portrayed by Nico Totorella. Alladin’s recent remarks on the Talk Dead to Me podcast describing the beauty of the characters’ relationship evidently was a triggering event for some of the show’s apparently homophobic fans.
“There was no kind of need to explain anything further and I love that The Walking Dead is kind of putting that forward, that LGBTQ relationships are nothing different than any other kind of relationship,” Alladin explained on the podcast. “They have the same struggles, they have the same complexities, they get mad at each other, they love each other just as hard.”
Innocent and touching enough, but some haters will never be satisfied. One bigoted viewer named David claimed his beef wasn’t about LGBTQ+ characters on the show, but about how the show is “forcing them in your series just to bring lgbt supporters.”
A quick response from another fan of the show put David in his place, noting that “straight characters don’t need any type of special introduction to be accepted.”
“I mean, Bethany’s my best friend and we have been through a ton of shit together,” Tortorella said of Meyers.
While the controversy over the storyline shows much remains to be done to combat transphobia and intolerance, at least one reader saw an opportunity.