Actors Talk About The Backlash They Got For Playing A Character

List Rules
Vote up the stories where fan backlash went too far.

These 14 actors who dealt with angry fans did not write or create their on-screen characters. However, they did receive toxic backlash from fans for the decisions their characters made or even because they were cast for the part in the first place. Most fans, even diehard ones, do not become cruel internet trolls. Unfortunately, some fanatics totally cross the line of common decency when their backlash goes way too far. 

Find out which actors received death threats because rabid fans did not like what their characters did on screen. Which actor became suicidal after a barrage of hurtful online comments? Which actor's private information, including nude photos, were leaked online after racist, misogynistic fans didn’t like her being cast in a comedy movie?

Make your voice heard. Vote up the stories where fan backlash went too far. 

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  • Jake Lloyd Was Mocked By Kids After Playing Young Anakin Skywalker
    Photo: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace / 20th Century Fox

    Jake Lloyd was just 9 years old when he unknowingly assumed the weight of the Star Wars franchise after taking the role of young Anakin Skywalker (the future Darth Vader) in Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    The experience of working on one of the most anticipated movies of the century would be a horribly negative one for the young actor. He was picked on at school and received such cruel criticism from vindictive Star Wars fans he decided to quit acting for good. 

    “Other children were really mean to me,” he said. “They would make the sound of the lightsaber every time they saw me. It was totally mad."

    “I’ve learned to hate it when the cameras are pointed at me,” added Lloyd. 

    In 2017, Mark Hamill spoke out about the unfair treatment. “I couldn’t believe some of the things they wrote about the prequels, you know," said Hamill. "I mean really, beyond ‘I didn’t like it.’ I’m still angry about the way they treated Jake Lloyd. He was only 10 years old, that boy, and he did exactly what George wanted him to do. Believe me, I understand clunky dialogue.”

    299 votes
  • Hugh Bonneville Got Blamed For His Fictional Daughter's Demise On 'Downton Abbey'
    Photo: ITV

    Even Downton Abbey fans can emit toxic backlash. Hugh Bonneville played Lord Grantham for six seasons on the British historical drama. In Season 3, Lord Grantham's daughter Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) tragically perishes during childbirth. The beloved character's sudden passing shocked and saddened Downton Abbey fans around the world. 

    Lord Grantham, unfortunately, sided with the wrong doctor's opinion regarding how to treat his sick daughter. After Sybil's demise, Downton fans went after Bonneville for the decision his character made. A few even made death threats. 

    "People on Twitter were devastated. I've had hate mail and bomb threats, because I'm obviously the most evil person on the planet for favoring one piece of medical advice over another," joked Bonneville. "In some people's eyes, it's my fault, because obviously, I do live in Downton Abbey! I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but it's lovely that people are devastated about Sybil's death. It shows they've invested in the world, and it's a real compliment that they care so much."

    148 votes
  • Josh McDermitt Chalked His 'Walking Dead' Hate Up To Complaining
    Photo: AMC

    Eugene Porter, a self-described lying coward, decided to go to the dark side in Season 7 of The Walking Dead. The geeky, mulleted brainiac made what he thought was the safest choice when he betrayed Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the other good guys to join Negan Smith's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) villainous crew.

    Some diehard fans of The Walking Dead apparently felt such a sense of personal betrayal they opted to take it out on the actor who portrayed Eugene. In fact, the online mistreatment got bad enough for Josh McDermitt he had to delete his social media accounts following the twisty Season 7 finale. 

    "When you start saying you hope I die, I don't know if you're talking about Josh or Eugene," wondered McDermitt. "Just stop complaining about everything on the Internet. Just go spend time with your family or friends or loved ones. I love you guys."

    130 votes
  • Ahmed Best Felt Jar Jar Binks Ended His Career Before It Started
    Photo: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace / 20th Century Fox

    Star Wars fanatics waited 16 long years for another trip to a galaxy far, far away after 1983's Return of the Jedi. George Lucas delivered the first installment of his prequel series, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, in 1999 to mixed reviews and endless criticism.

    One of Episode I's biggest gripes came in the form of the CGI-created character Jar Jar Binks. The goal for Jar Jar was to add a little levity to the dramatic prequel saga. Instead, the blundering Gungan was anything but funny to most spectators. In fact, the character with its Rastafarian look and speaking style was criticized for being racially insensitive. Jar Jar quickly became one of the most hated characters in cinematic history.

    Ahmed Best bore the brunt of Star Wars fan backlash. The comedian and actor provided Jar Jar's voice and motion capture. Unfortunately for Best, the toxic fan fallout became relentless. “It’s really difficult to articulate the feeling,” Best said. “You feel like a success and a failure at the exact same time. I was staring at the end of my career before it started.”

    However, it was not only Best's career that suffered; his mental health also took a nosedive. “I had death threats through the Internet,” Best added. “I had people come to me and say, ‘You destroyed my childhood.’ That’s difficult for a 25-year-old to hear.”

    The backlash became so traumatic for Best he even contemplated suicide.

    169 votes
  • Martin Freeman Thought The Fan Expectations For 'Sherlock' Stopped Being Fun
    Photo: BBC One

    The BBC series Sherlock won nine Emmy Awards over its four-season, 15-episode run. However, according to Martin Freeman (Dr. Watson), there were no plans to add an additional season after fans' dissatisfaction with Season 4.

    Despite the mixed reviews, Season 4 of the stylized sleuth series was still a massive hit. Nevertheless, Freeman said intense fan pressure not only put a pause in production, but it also took all the fun out of making the show. 

    “To be absolutely honest, it [was] kind of impossible,” Freeman said. "Sherlock became the animal that it became immediately. Whereas even with [the UK version of] The Office it was a slow burn. But Sherlock was frankly notably high quality from the outset. And when you start [that high] it’s pretty hard to maintain that."

    “Being in that show, it is a mini-Beatles thing,” he added. “People’s expectations, some of it’s not fun anymore. It’s not a thing to be enjoyed, it’s a thing of: ‘You better f*cking do this, otherwise, you’re a c*nt.’ That’s not fun anymore.”

    119 votes
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    90 VOTES

    Seth Gilliam Got Death Threats From Fans Of 'The Walking Dead'

    Seth Gilliam Got Death Threats From Fans Of 'The Walking Dead'
    Photo: AMC

    Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) from the long-running AMC series The Walking Dead is far from perfect. However, his cowardly past and betrayal were eventually redeemed. 

    Raging Walking Dead fans were especially upset when Father Gabriel betrayed Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the group. So much so they seemed to take it all personally. 

    In 2017, Gilliam revealed fan anger turned into death threats. "It was kind of different for me because it’s unlike any other role that I’ve played. It’s had such an impact on the audience," said Gilliam. "It took a little getting used to, the death threats, and realizing they were coming from 13-year-old boys in the basement of their Wisconsin home, as opposed to people who were really meaning me harm. That had a profound impact on me, on just how seriously people are involved with the characters in the show."

    "For a while, I felt the lines were kind of blurred because it's so personal," added Gilliam. "It was like, 'Well, wait, I didn't write these lines. This isn't me improvising on set. This is the way the plot is going.'"

    90 votes