The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan is used to breaking hearts and angering fans with his portrayal of the foul-mouthed, violence-loving Negan. In recent days, the Supernatural alum has found a different way to frustrate and alienate his one-time supporters.
While taking pictures with fans this past weekend, Morgan was caught in a “Blue Lives Matter” T-shirt, which features an American flag with a single blue line in the middle. Blue Lives Matter, not unlike how Black Lives Matter supports African-Americans and their injustices through racial discrimination and police brutality, was established following the 2014 murders of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
Though Blue Lives Matter was not created with the intent of being controversial, many have taken issue with the movement in recent years after it and All Lives Matter were interpreted to be dismissing of Black Lives Matter. Celebrities have tried to avoid aligning themselves with Blue Lives Matter, although Morgan, who won the MTV Movie & TV Award for Best Villain, and a Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television this year for his portrayal of Negan, had no issues wearing the shirt.
The picture, which was removed from Morgan’s verified Instagram account, has been reposted on various social media platforms.
Though images of Morgan and the shirt began to circulate Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t until the actor responded to negative feedback from fans on Facebook that the story began to trend. Though Morgan took the Facebook post down, the BBC was able to retrieve the 51-year-old’s message.
“Dear a-holes. Blue lives do matter. Can’t believe I need to explain to you this fact. All lives matter. All of em. This shirt was made in response to the cold blooded murder of two GOOD cops in NY, both that had immigrated to the US, and took an oath to protect and serve. This shirt was given to me at a convention by a woman, whose son, was shot during what was a routine traffic stop. He was black.”
Morgan also praised the first responders from Sunday’s tragic shooting in Las Vegas and addressed “people who go online to start s**t,” advising them to “grow up.”
The controversy is one of several that have plagued the franchise since Season 7 ended in April. As the Inquisitr reported this summer, stuntman John Bernecker died after falling 30 feet in an accident during filming on July 12. Production, which was set to go on hiatus shortly thereafter while the main cast left for San Diego Comic-Con, prematurely halted as a result.
Trouble was not just limited to stuntmen, as Xander Berkley, who plays the cowardly Gregory, was exposed by Twitter user @nightwigins to have attempted to seduce a 19-year-old fan through direct message, allegedly asking her to send nude photos. Neither Berkley, 61, nor AMC addressed the claims after the Twitter thread went viral.
Though wearing a Blue Lives Matter shirt does not sound as serious as a stuntman dying or an older man trying to solicit racy pictures from a teenager, Morgan did later apologize for the controversy in a now-deleted Instagram post.
“I stand behind the sentiment… but, what was meant as one thing has been taken as another. I understand those that are upset… and to those people I apologise. Of course black lives matter. I stand behind that. Always have. This country means the world to me. The good people in it mean the world to me… the ones looking for a fight around every corner? Racists? Bullies? They don’t. We are a country divided and it’s getting scarier every day.”
Morgan, who is currently expecting his second child with actress Hilarie Burton, will look to regain his lost fans when Negan’s all-out war against Rick Grimes begins later this month. Season 8 of The Walking Dead is scheduled to premiere on October 22 on AMC.
[Featured Image by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for AMC]