AMC’s The Walking Dead is a show about the living outsmarting the dead. Every week the series airs, the characters must survive the constant threat. But, for the show’s creator, Robert Kirkman, everyday is a threat as well with rabid fans constantly send him death threats via the internet.
The Walking Dead hit television screens initially in 2010. However, AMC was assured a hit with the TV series being based on an already hugely popular comic book series which was developed by Robert Kirkman and first published in 2003. While the fame of The Walking Dead is a fantastic thing for Robert Kirkman, it also carries the burden of death threats, as he recently revealed to Aftonbladet. As Bloody Disgusting translated, Robert Kirkman has been receiving death threats from “fans” for 15 years now. These threats can be daily occurrences, and something people around him quite often don’t know how to handle. However, for Kirkman, he is blasé.
“I could ask the police to trace the person but it is probably no danger … It can be very scary if it is from a 35-year-old man with a lot of knives who knows where I live. But it can also be a 13 year old highly emotional girl …We’ll see if I survive, but I do not think anyone is going to hurt me here.”
— Neek (@NeekPortal) June 22, 2016
A prime example of the sort of abuse that gets hurled in Robert Kirkman’s direction is the Season 6 finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead when the show ended on a cliffhanger that many fans thought was unwarranted. The cliffhanger involved a pivotal scene from The Walking Dead comics where Negan bashed to death a much-loved character. However, in the TV series, AMC (along with Kirkman) decided to delay the reveal of who Negan kills until the Season 7 return of The Walking Dead. Many fans were enraged to find out they would have to wait months until the character death was revealed. Plenty of these fans took to social media to voice their opinion of the Season 6 finale and what they thought of AMC and Robert Kirkman for making them have to wait. In fact, fans were so agitated that Kirkman issued a reply to fans about why he and AMC chose to end Season 6 at that point.
[TV] Robert Kirkman addresses TWD Season 6 season finale fervor in issue 154 of The Walking Dead comic, out today! pic.twitter.com/GJUsA8qNU5
— Z.E.D.D. Radio (@ZEDDRadio) May 5, 2016
For Robert Kirkman, the death threats have become an inspiration of sorts. Even though he has become desensitized to them, he also listens to what people have to say and uses some of that critical analysis from rabid fans to help shape his work.
“I use it as a tool. You get a sense of what the audience likes and dislikes, and what path they want the action to take,” he explained to Aftonbladet.
But should celebrities such as Kirkman really be so laid back about death threats? After all, some of these fans are actually dangerous. As recently as June of this year, The Voice talent, 22-year-old Christina Grimmie, was shot and killed by a fan who later took his own life. While it is not common for celebrities to be killed by deranged fans, it does happen enough to make death threats issued over the internet something that should be monitored at least. This is especially true when you consider many internet users still see the web as an anonymous place where they can voice their true opinions without fear of face to face conflict. However, more common than celebrities being murdered by fans is injury or stalking. Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Mila Kunis are just a few celebrities who have either been injured by rabid fans or followed obsessively by stalkers.
But for now, Robert Kirkman is happy to just sit back and let his fans speak their minds via social media rather than have every individual death threat investigated.
Did you get upset with AMC and Robert Kirkman with the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead and take to social media to express your anger? Let us know by commenting below.
The Walking Dead returns with Season 7 on Sunday, October 23, 2016.
[Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM]