Fans of zombie drama The Walking Dead – which routinely features graphic violence and gore – are up in arms after the show included a gay kiss.

In the latest episode of the AMC drama, newly-introduced gay characters Aaron and Eric shared a kiss after reuniting following a zombie attack.

The pair are the first openly gay male characters to appear on the drama – though the show features lesbian character Tara, and previously hinted at a lesbian subtext between travelling companions Michonne and Andrea.

Twitter was full of homophobic abuse after the incident – despite the show featuring the murder of young children, cannibalism, brutal disembowelment and torture in the past.

Ross Marquand, who plays Aaron, told the Daily Beast: “It’s been a great deal of responsibility to do it justice with respect not only to our gay fan base, but to the viewers in general.

“My boyfriend, who’s played by Jordan Woods-Robinson, and I met as often as we could before we shot that scene and tried our best to get to know each other on a personal level.

“It was one of the most beautiful scenes that I’ve had the pleasure of shooting because it dialled into what I think the theme of the show is.

“This is not a show about zombies; I think it’s a show about relationships and the real human connection that we have to one another.

“When you lose someone, or you feel that you have lost someone, it doesn’t matter what the situation is, you mourn them and you miss them and you want them back and you will do anything in your power to protect the ones you love.

“I hope that that’s the focus of our characters, that it’s not hung up so much on our sexual orientation.”