The Walking Dead issues powerful rebuke to homophobic fans after queer love story sparks bigoted backlash
The Walking Dead has firmly shut down homophobia in the fandom after trolls were whipped into a frenzy by a queer storyline.
The show’s official Twitter account made it clear that homophobia will not be tolerated after some fans criticised spin-off series The Walking Dead: World Beyond for depicting a gay couple.
In the series Jelani Alladin plays Will, a former security officer at the Campus Colony who is also Felix’s boyfriend (Nico Tortorella). Their relationship has been the subject of ire from anti-LGBT+ fans, with many bending over backwards to try and justify their homophobia.
That homophobia spilled over on social media after Alladin spoke about the beauty of representing a same-sex relationship on television on the Talk Dead to Me podcast.
Speaking on the podcast, Alladin said: “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.
“They have the same struggles, they have the same complexities, they get mad at each other, they love each other just as hard.”
He went on to say that his character loves Felix “unconditionally” despite his flaws.
The Walking Dead queer love story sent homophobes into a frenzy.
Anti-LGBT+ commenters quickly shared their thoughts on the relationship. One said their on-screen love looked “forced”, while another said the gay relationship was “exactly why” they wouldn’t be watching the spin-off.
Another commented: “I don’t like how every character simply HAS TO HAVE A LOVE INTEREST. Oh we can’t find a character for you, screw it you’re gay with this guy. It’s so fake just for added emotional drama.”
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.
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) January 26, 2021
Alladin’s comments prompted so much backlash that the official Walking Dead Twitter account felt the need to intervene.
Writing on Twitter on Tuesday (26 January), The Walking Dead account said: “Hi, hello. If LGBTQ+ characters on television (or anywhere) make you uncomfortable or angry, please unfollow us.
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“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 wilful ignorance. Thank you.”
The tweet has been liked more than 18,000 times, with huge swathes of Walking Dead fans showing their support for queer representation in the replies.
However, the tweet also led to many others doubling down on their homophobia, bizarrely trying to defend their distaste at seeing LGBT+ characters represented on television.
The Walking Dead has won praise from fans in the past for its representation of LGBT+ characters. The series also stars gender fluid and bisexual actor Nico Tortorella, a longtime fan favourite among queer viewers.
All nine seasons of The Walking Dead and spin-off series The Walking Dead: World Beyond are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial and then cancel or pay £7.99 per month and watch other films and shows available on the platform.