When Thomas Gibson, who portrayed Hotch, was terminated from Criminal Minds while filming Episode 2 of Season 12, fans were devastated. Mr. Gibson has a powerful and determined fan base who sprung up in protest under many hashtags but eventually settled on #NoHotchNoWatch as their battle cry.
Thomas Gibson is not the only star to be maligned in the media or dismissed from a film or series. Johnny Depp is frequently attacked in the media despite being a People’s Choice favorite. Tim Allen’s show was inexplicably canceled, leaving the fans of Last Man Standing angry.
CBS and ABC were quick in their attempt to justify Thomas Gibson’s dismissal from Criminal Minds, with descriptions of not only the now-infamous altercation with writer and co-executive producer Virgil Williams but also of two other incidents from the distant past. Neither merited a footnote in Thomas Gibson’s long and prolific career, at least in the hearts and minds of fans.
Many Criminal Minds fans, regardless of whether Thomas Gibson was their absolute favorite Criminal Minds star or not, were deeply offended. Fans were offended not only by Gibson’s sudden dismissal but by what #NoHotchNoWatch considers a media attack on Thomas Gibson’s character. It seemed unfair to these fans.
Thomas Gibson is hardly the only television star to be dismissed suddenly under circumstances that seemed unfair. Earlier this year, Tim Allen’s show Last Man Standing was suddenly canceled despite stellar ratings. Fans of Last Man Standing were furious.
Tim Allen, as quoted in Deadline told Norm Macdonald on a recent podcast that he had “no idea” why ABC “did what they did.” Tim Allen added a rather cryptic comment as an afterthought about his Last Man Standing character being a conservative.
Still, Thomas Gibson and Johnny Depp do not share Tim Allen’s political views, so what is it? Why are these stars being attacked, fired, and canceled?
#NoHotchNoWatch is not the first fan group to protest this type of dismissal either. Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook were also once fired from Criminal Minds by CBS for no clear reason. Fans protested and CBS rescinded, bringing these lovely ladies back to Criminal Minds.
Thomas Gibson was not the only actor to be demonized in the media either. Johnny Depp has suffered a firestorm of bad press. Johnny Depp’s fans also step up, defending the beloved movie icon against various social media attackers and even organized protests and boycotts. See this article from the Inquisitr for more on Johnny Depp’s bold, protective fans.
From the beginning, the #NoHotchNoWatch protest stood out as unique in their organization and structure from other movements involving a disenfranchised actor or show. Thomas Gibson’s support group is organized, with weekly Twitter Meetings, a perpetual online presence and a fair amount of publicity.
Today, #NoHotchNoWatch is still going strong, even though they have been unable to bring Thomas Gibson back to Criminal Minds.
I agree. I haven’t watched an episode since #ThomasGibson left and now I even have problems watching the episodes before he was so ignominiously fired. It still makes me just a little upset at the injustice of how he was treated after they fired him????#NoHotchNoWatch
— SouthunLady (@SouthunLady) December 5, 2017
Hey, Thomas hope your Sunday is going well! Your #NoHotchNoWatch forever team still supports & loves you, and Missing You???? Yep, we miss you very very much. Many of us haven’t watched CM since you left????It was hard Thomas, but we r healing‼️❤️????
— Pattie (@pattiesmart) December 3, 2017
Thomas Gibson’s dismissal from Criminal Minds set in motion a chain of events that could still prove fatal for the aging crime drama, with or without #NoHotchNoWatch. While #NoHotchNoWatch is well organized, in many ways, they simply state what millions of Criminal Minds fans are thinking. It was a poor idea to terminate Thomas Gibson and publicly malign the character of a beloved icon.
Not everyone who was offended by the attack on Thomas Gibson belongs to #NoHotchNoWatch or attends their weekly Twitter fests held every Wednesday at 10 p.m. Not everyone who now finds Criminal Minds disappointing without Thomas Gibson is even aware of #NoHotchNoWatch.
Criminal Minds fans and regular viewers are declining in numbers, and #NoHotchNoWatch is providing an explanation for that decline. They are just saying what many others who cared about the show feel whether they are a part of #NoHotchNoWatch or not.
Why was Thomas Gibson really dismissed from Criminal Minds? Why is Johnny Depp continually “crucified in the media unjustly,” as Marilyn Manson so eloquently pointed out in this quote from the Independent? Why was Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing canceled despite stellar ratings?
Everyone has their theories, but the reasoning of the networks and media outlets are beyond the understanding of most fans. Why attack beloved icons, especially considering these stars are generating profit to the same networks that are attacking them and firing them?
Tim Allen, Johnny Depp, and Thomas Gibson have powerful fan bases, and even beyond the fans, these attacks draw the attention of many who just find these situations unfair and mean-spirited. Do networks care about viewer opinions at all anymore?
Fans of Thomas Gibson, Johnny Depp, Tim Allen, and many others are puzzled at how networks and the media treat iconic stars.