I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead. I have read most of the comics and have seen every episode of the television show. I thoroughly enjoy immersing myself in the story for the roughly one hour it’s on the air. After that, it’s back to the real world.
However, for some Walking Dead fan(atics), the lines are more blurred.
Yesterday, Josh McDermitt, who plays the character Eugene, announced that he quit social media over the harassment, and even death threats, he’d received from some fans. What did he do that prompted such emotions among these people? Well, here’s where it gets weird. You see, McDermitt didn’t do anything. These fans are made at what his character, Eugene, did.
This next section contains mild spoilers for those who haven’t seen the show so, you’ve been warned…
In this past season of the series, Eugene (you know, the guy whose actions are scripted by the writers) switched allegiances, aligning himself with a group called the Saviors. The head of the Saviors, Negan, had already killed two members of the group to which Eugene had previously belonged. When Negan found out that Eugene knew how to make bullets, he took Eugene back to his headquarters. However, instead of sentencing him to a life of servitude, Negan gives him a position of importance, safety and relative privilege.
Again, this is Eugene, not Josh McDermitt.
To offer some insight into why he quit, a Facebook live video he cut on the night the season 7 finale aired offers some insight. In it, he said the following:
“Death threats, don’t send me death threats because I will report all that s— to the cops. I’m just sick of it. You can hate Eugene, I don’t care. You can think whatever you want but when you start saying you hope I die, I don’t know if you’re talking about Josh or Eugene. I gotta report that s—, so, just don’t be an a—hole. And just stop complaining. Just stop complaining about everything on the Internet. Just go spend time with your family or friends or loved ones. Just get off the Internet.”
So, again to make this all clear to those fans, there is a difference between the character you see on-screen and the person in real life. If you are having trouble distinguishing, unplug and seek counseling.