Ever since his first appearance in The Walking Dead's fourth season as part of Abraham's Army, "doctor" Eugene Porter quickly became a fan favorite. Viewers of the show can't deny that the mullet won them over but #JoshMcDermitt's portrayal of the socially awkward character also deserves much of the credit. Considered the least-equipped mentally and physically of the group to handle the zombie apocalypse, it was a great arc to see Eugene finally take steps to contribute to the community and better the chances of his own survival.
That proud feeling was cut short this past season after Eugene turned into one of Negan's Saviors as fans questioned his loyalty and motives. Unfortunately, as that psychotic portion of fandom tends to do, the disappointment some felt about Eugene, the character, turned into hate and negativity spewed at Josh McDermitt, real person. The backlash was so severe that he has decided to quit social media altogether.
The upset over Eugene's betrayal is completely understandable. The character joined up with the same man that murdered his friends directly in front of him and turned his back on friends who are more like family, many of which saved his life. But there is a major difference between sharing your dismay about the character's decisions and sending death threats to the actor who plays the character on #TheWalkingDead. The fact that "fans" took to social media to harass McDermitt adds to the sad reality that many people cannot differentiate beween fiction and reality.
The man plays a character on #TV; he doesn't make the decisions on the show and even if he did, those action do not represent McDermitt as a person.
The hateful comments and death threats even caused McDermitt to acknowledge his concern on a Facebook Live video that TWDHQ reposted following his decision to quit social media. He brought up the death threats and how he is taking them very seriously:
As someone who has personally met Josh McDermitt, this is extremely disheartening to see considering how friendly he is and how much time he takes out of his personal time to meet with fans at conventions across the globe. He has also been known to step up for co-stars who were cyber-bullied including Alanna Masterson, who was body-shamed after an episode in November. McDermitt was outspoken about the bullying when talking with Huffington Post after Masterson's central episode aired:
“People need to chill the F out with the crap that they’re putting on the internet. It’s very disturbing because we are people, everyone. And I’m not talking about actors. I’m talking about anyone on the internet. I mean, I just read something on CNN the other day where a teenage girl committed suicide who was cyber bullied. This is bullshit. This should never happen.”
It is a shame something similar would happen to him just a few months later even with his constant advocating to social media make more effort in eradicating bullies. McDermitt's Twitter and Instagram were always full of witty and hilarious posts so hopefully in time he will make his way back so true #TWD fans can share their love.
- Why Did Eugene Side With The Saviors? This One Small Detail From 'The Walking Dead' May Have Big Significance
- 'The Walking Dead's Scott Gimple Says Single Character Arc-Driven Episodes May Be Dead And Gone In Season 8
- 5 Questions 'The Walking Dead' Season Finale Raised For Season 8 & Beyond
What are your thoughts on Josh McDermitt quitting social media? Tell me in the comments below!
[Sources: The Walking Dead HQ, Huffington Post]