15 Actors Reveal What It's Like When Fans Absolutely Hate Their Character

Viewers let their anger for these actors’ alter-egos spill over to the real world

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Lauren Tom

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The Friends guest star had the difficult duty of playing Julie, a paleontologist who dated Ross (David Schwimmer) in the beginning of season 2, just as Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) was ready to admit she had romantic feelings for him. Shippers were not happy to have someone standing in the way of the potential couple.

“The fans were rabid,” Tom said during a Today show interview in honor of the sitcom’s upcoming 25th anniversary. “I wasn’t prepared for the amount of venom I was about to receive in a live audience where they actually booed my character.”

“I just was so shocked that they were booing me. And, of course, I was trying very hard not to get my feelings hurt. I had to get used to that,” the actress added. “I did understand intellectually that, you know, the audience was meant to be rooting for Rachel. Even I was rooting for Rachel, on some level, ’cause I was a fan of the show! But emotionally my body didn’t understand that when I heard the booing. So that was tough.”

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Jack Quaid 

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In the first film of the Hunger Games series, Quaid played a cruel teen named Marvel, who kills fan favorite Rue (Amandla Stenberg) during the dystopian child battle.

“I’m more so known as the guy who kills the most adorable character in that movie,” Quaid said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “People hate me. It’s insane. I’m not proud of it — I’m officially sorry.”

Believe it or not, Hunger Games diehards are still attacking Quaid on social media seven years after the film’s release: “Every time I post anything on Instagram — could be a photo of a mountain, could be a photo of my girlfriend’s cat — at least one person will say, ‘you killed Rue’ as one of the comments. And I’m like, ‘I know, and I’m aware.’”

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Domhnall Gleeson

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Gleeson plays General Hux, a ruthless First Order official, in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. As he explained on The Late Late Show with James Corden, meeting young fans who actually like his character is so rare that he was blown away when he encountered a Hux stan.  

“A kid’s favorite character is going to be, like, Rey or Finn, it’s going to be someone cool. And one child, I remember this one child, he’s the son of a friend of mine, who really digs General Hux,” he said. “That freaked me out. I was like, ‘I don’t want to meet him.’”

Gleeson was even more baffled by the parents’ request that he record a birthday message for the youngster. “Nobody asks me, because it’s Hux,” he said. “I sent him a video pretending to be Hux, saying, ‘Harry, happy birthday.’ But I found myself, like, telling him to burn down the galaxy and, like, ‘watch out for insurgents!’”

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Milo Ventimiglia

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Gilmore Girls fans had feelings about Ventimiglia’s character Jess, and they definitely let them be known.

In a chat with Jimmy Fallon, Ventimiglia recalled his “very first fan interaction,” and it wasn’t pretty.

“I was at the gym, I’m 24 years old, probably looked like I’m 17. Well, actually that worked out because Jess was 17, but I’m at the gym and this girl stops me. She goes, ‘Excuse me. Do you play Jess on Gilmore Girls?’ ”

After answering affirmatively, “She goes, ‘Oh my god. I f—ing hate you,’ ” he said. “And then … she didn’t even say, ‘Hey, good job.’ She just … she walks away! She was gone. She just wanted to say she hated me.”

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Billy Zane

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Zane famously played Rose’s (Kate Winslet) haughty fiancé, Cal, in Titanic. “They love to hate him,” Zane told PEOPLE about fans of the 1997 blockbuster. “And then there is a small army of those who sympathize and understand he was just a product of bad programing. You hear it all. ‘How could you?’ or ‘Poor bastard.’”

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Matt Czuchry

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Gilmore Girls fans weren’t shy about their displeasure with Czuchry’s spoiled pretty boy character, Logan Huntzberger, and his relationship with Rory (Alexis Bledel). “In the first season, especially, people would just come up to me just immediately without saying anything and said, ‘You know, you’re a real a——.’ That’s what they would do,” Czuchry said of fans on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “I would ask them, ‘Okay, why am I an a——?’ And they [would say], ‘You know why you’re an a——.’ And that was it,” he added. “And then [they’re] like, ‘Oh, I’m team Jess’ or ‘I’m team Dean.’”

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Lena Headey 

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To say the least, Headey’s Game of Thrones character, Cersei Lannister, earned a lot of haters over the years. “I guess it’s a compliment, when you’re buying a table and someone’s like, ‘You’re that f—— bitch off of [GOT],’” she said of fan hate on Conan. The actress went on to admit that hatred for her character is less alarming than the opposite reaction. “Or people say, ‘I love her!’ and I worry more for them,” she said.

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Alexander Skarsgard

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We can’t really blame Big Little Lies viewers for being a little put off by Skarsgard after his portrayal of a domestic abuser. “People did not like me,” he shared during a panel about the HBO drama. “I was isolated up in Alberta, Canada, so I missed the whole show and everything around it. I got back about a month after the series finale, and it was tough. I flew into JFK, got off the plane and people were like, ‘Oh…’ I’m going to die a very lonely man.”

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Vanessa Morgan

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Morgan joined the cast of Riverdale for season 2, and fans started getting inappropriately worked up about her role before she even hit the screen. “She’s a Southside Serpent, a gang member, and Jughead’s first friend. So I might stir up the pot a bit with the Bughead relationship. There might be a little love triangle,” Morgan told Glamour of her character, Toni Topaz. “I’ve already had some death threats,” the actress continued. “But the thing is, it’s half death threats because they don’t want that [actually] happening, and there’s half that’s just all love. Who knows if [my character coming between Bughead] is even going to happen. People are just jumping to conclusions.”

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John Huertas

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The This Is Us star knows getting fans on his alter-ego’s side is an uphill battle. “Because from season 1, we know that Miguel wasn’t super welcomed into the Pearson family by the audience, so there’s been a scientific approach to how they layer in Miguel’s stuff without pushing people away too soon,” he told PEOPLE of his character. “At first, I’m like, ‘Come on guys, we have to do something amazing. Miguel has to do something amazing to have them like him right away.’ But [the writers] said, ‘You have to trust us.’”

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January Jones

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Jones told reporters all about how her relationship with Mad Men fans changed based on Betty Draper’s evolving storylines. “The first couple seasons, people were very empathetic and felt bad for her … and were like ‘Poor Betty’ and people would come up to me and feel bad for me. Once she left Don and gained her independence and started speaking out for herself, started to empower herself… people hated her,” she said. “Even at the end of season 2 when she slept with that guy in the bar, the hate that I got from men, especially … like ‘How could she do that?’ [Fans] were like mean to me on the street.”

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan

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The Walking Dead star had to deal with some intense fan reactions when his brutal character, Negan, joined the show.  “I was with [costar Norman Reedus], but we had been riding motorcycles all day and we were in the middle of nowhere and stopped to get a coffee,” Morgan recalled on Entertainment Weekly‘s radio show. “And this lady is at our car, and she’s probably 80 years old, and she comes up and just flips me off and says ‘F— you!’ And Norman falls off his chair, laughing, and I’m like ‘Whoa! Whoa!’”

“It was crazy,” Morgan went on, “And she did have her daughters with her, by the way. But then her next question is, ‘Where do you live?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to tell you where I live!’”

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Ben Barnes

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“It was very exciting for the first time to have some light-hearted abuse shouted at me on the subway,” the Westworld star told Access Hollywood of the backlash after his character, Logan, became antagonistic on the show. “Also just guys coming out of [bars] after like six beers and just pointing at you and shouting, ‘Violent delights have violent ends!’” 

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Dominique Perry 

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Insecure fans weren’t thrill when Tasha (Perry) began a relationship with Lawrence (Jay Ellis), lead girl Issa’s (Issa Rae) ex.  “I get so much hate mail. I’ve even had a girl be like, ‘Oh, my God, you know I want to fight you, right?’” Perry told Essence. “For a lot of women, [Tasha] represents that side chick or that other woman that ruined a happy home. [But] I really don’t feel like Tasha is like that at all. She’s just caught in the middle of Issa and Lawrence’s situation. I feel like she’s just innocent in it all, to be honest.”

Despite her sometimes contentious relationship with fans, Perry is thankful for the role. “I think this is one of the most lit shows on television. It was definitely needed, so I’m just happy to be a part of it, whether people hate me, I mean, hate Tasha, love Tasha — it’s whatever. I’m just so happy to be a part of it. It doesn’t get to Tasha or me,” she said. 

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Hugh Bonneville

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Downton Abbey diehards were outraged when Lord Grantham’s [Bonneville] decisions inadvertently helped seal the fate of a beloved character.  “People on Twitter were devastated,” Bonneville said the death of his TV daughter. “I’ve had hate mail and bomb threats, because I’m obviously the most evil person on the planet for favouring one piece of medical advice over another. 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,” he added. “It shows they’ve invested in the world, and it’s a real compliment that they care so much.”

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