ENTERTAINMENT

'Walking Dead' Star Quits Social Media After Frightening Death Threats

"When you start saying you hope I die, I don’t know if you’re talking about Josh or Eugene."

04/05/2017 1:03 AM AEST | Updated 04/05/2017 1:03 AM AEST

Actors on “The Walking Dead” are already trying to survive zombies. They shouldn’t have to deal with internet trolls, too.

But after allegedly receiving death threats online, Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene Porter on the show, has shut down his social media accounts. 

The actor spoke out against internet hate in the past, when his co-star Alanna Masterson was subjected to body shaming. In a Build Series interview with HuffPost, McDermitt said that “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,” he said.

Thanks to his character’s dark turn on the show, the abuse reached McDermitt ― and he’s had enough. 

Before his departure, which seems to have included Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, McDermitt posted a message ― which you can watch below ― recalling the abuse:

Death threats, don’t send me death threats, because I will ― I’m gonna report all that shit to the cops. I’m just sick of it. You can hate Eugene, I don’t care. I’ll argue that you’re wrong, but 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 shit. So just don’t be an asshole. And then ... stop complaining. Let’s just stop complaining about everything on the internet. OK. Seriously. Go spend time with your family or friends or loved ones. Just get off the internet. Is there anything else? Other than I love you? I do. I love you guys.

The online harassment came after McDermitt’s character unexpectedly joined baddies Negan and the Saviors against Rick and the Alexandrians in Season 7. 

In an interview following the episode where Eugene switches sides, McDermitt told HuffPost the initial fan reaction was positive.

“The reaction so far has been great,” the actor said. “I was worried to be honest, with him saying, ‘I’m Negan,’ and him kind of pledging his allegiance to the dark side. [I was worried] that I’m going to catch a lot of flak for it, but people understand where Eugene is, what kind of position he’s found himself in, and they tend to forgive you a little more when they recognize that.”

The actor continued, telling HuffPost that problems arise when people look at the show as a documentary.

“These fans, some of them will come after us, the actors, and yell at us like, ‘How can you go against Rick, man.’ And I’m like, ‘What? This is a story. It’s fiction. Simmer down.’ So I was kind of waiting for that sort of backlash, but so far it’s been overwhelmingly positive.”

Unfortunately, that positivity didn’t last.

In the wake of the news, many fans have offered support. 

Having interviewed McDermitt multiple times, I can say he’s a very nice, funny and kind person. But let’s get real, people. No one deserves to be subjected to death threats, no matter what their character does on “The Walking Dead.”

As McDermitt said in our Build interview, reflecting on cyber bullying: “This is bullshit. This should never happen.”

HuffPost has reached out to McDermitt’s representatives for comment and will update this post accordingly.

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