Sad news struck today for fans of The Walking Dead actor Josh McDermitt, thanks to some people who think that The Walking Dead is a documentary and not a fictional television show. The popular actor who plays Eugene on the zombie-filled drama on AMC had to deactivate his social media accounts because people kept harrassing him because of his character’s actions.
Fans and fan groups took to the internet to show their support for Josh and let him know that not everyone is unable to distinguish reality from fantasy. It’s unknown how severe the harassment was, but if the actor felt he had to cancel his social media, it must have been severe.
— TWDFanLaughs (@banterbus111) May 1, 2017
It seems that people may be angry with Josh for Eugene’s role in Season 7 of The Walking Dead. Eugene’s choice to play along with Negan and the Saviors was not a popular one, with many fans upset that Eugene didn’t take multiple opportunities to be rescued. However, as Josh pointed out in several interviews, Eugene is doing what he feels he has to in order to survive. That doesn’t sit well with fans who want Eugene to stand up, but most are able to recognize the primary difference between Eugene and Josh, i.e., one is a fictional character and the other is a real person who is reading a script.
— Stephen Sweet (@sweetstephen55) May 1, 2017
When we say that Josh deleted all of his social media, we mean all of it. His Instagram and Facebook have been deleted as well, leaving many people bereft of his candid fan photos and Instagram stories. For now, there’s no word of when or if he will return to social media and he hasn’t issued a formal statement regarding any incidents either. The Inquisitr will be sure to update you if any new developments in this story occur.
Update: A Facebook Live stream by Josh was released by a The Walking Dead fan group and is posted at the end of this article.
Crazy Death Threats To The Stars
Of course, Josh isn’t the only actor or star to face harassment or death threats because of his job. There have been many famous people that have had fans react to something they said or did with verbal threats.
In 2013, Taylor Swift made a lot of One Direction and Harry Styles fans angry when she sang her hit, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and sang part of it in a faux British accent. Fans of Styles took to Twitter to let Taylor know how they felt about it, with some going to the extremes and tweeting, “@taylorswift13 I’ll Kill You, you F*****g B***h! I Hate you so much! You are gonna die!”
Taylor has also been the fuel for some people’s anger. When Kanye West famously interrupted Swift’s thank you and acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA’s, he felt the fury of fans on Twitter. Kanye told the Evening Standard a year later that he received private messages on Twitter that said things like, “Die, n****r, die.”
Police take death threats seriously, and step in if there seems to be a very real threat. For example, in 2015, actress Jamie Chung (Once Upon A Time, Gotham) received over 100 threatening emails that included several threats to kill her. Police intervened and determined that the sender was not a danger to Jamie based on how far away they lived from the star.
In the infamous case of Dominic Monaghan’s stalker, Meredith McLarty, police intervened and were able to make an arrest. McLarty runs a fan blog about the Lord of the Rings star and has been reportedly in love with the actor since 2001. Because of her harassment, Dominic got a restraining order against her, prohibiting her from contacting him on social media. However, because of repeated harassment, the restraining order was upgraded to prevent her from contacting him at all. Police arrested her after she sent out a tweet that mentioned Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon in 1980, and Monaghan together.
Stars are extremely cautious especially when it comes to death threats and stalkers, and rightly so. There are multiple times when stars are harmed or killed by deranged fans. Past victims have included Christina Grimmie, a talented singer who came to national acclaim on NBC’s The Voice, John Lennon, Selena, and most famously, Rebecca Schaeffer. It was Schaeffer’s murder that caused a host of changes in how stalkers and celebrity death threats are treated as well as the creation of a special police task force dedicated to dealing with stalkers in California.
Update [May 2, 2017]:
People have been questioning whether or not Josh McDermitt cancelled his social media accounts because of harrassment or if it is some sort of publicity stunt. However, in this video released by The Walking Dead HQ on Facebook, Josh specifically addresses harrassment that he has received. This video is from the last Facebook Live video that Josh released prior to deactivating all of his social media accounts.
We reiterate that we hope that people calm down and that Josh feels safe enough to make his way back to social media and his fans. As more news becomes available, we will update this space with that information.
[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello/AP Images]