Nick Offerman Uses Spirit Awards Acceptance Speech to Blast Toxic ‘Last of Us’ Fans

Offerman called out the homophobic hatred that came from some ‘fans’ of the franchise following his acclaimed performance
Nick Offerman Uses Spirit Awards Acceptance Speech to Blast Toxic ‘Last of Us’ Fans

Like most zombie shows, HBO’s TV adaptation of The Last of Us comes to the conclusion that humans have the capacity to be worse monsters than the mindless, gurgling, rotting hordes that define the franchise. Nick Offerman, on the other hand, is less forgiving toward certain mindless, gurgling and rotting gamers.

Early last year, Offerman’s brief performance in the Last of Us episode “Long, Long Time” drew a massively positive response from Parks and Recreation die-hards and zombie love story enthusiasts alike, despite the protestations of a small and small-minded minority of the game series’ fans. Offerman’s time playing the gruff, guarded and secretly gay doomsday prepper Bill opposite Murray Bartlett’s more outgoing character Frank jerked untold thousands of tears from the eyes of viewers who had never before seen a video game adaptation tell a story that was as touchingly human as the couple’s post-apocalyptic romance. And, when award season rolled around, both The Last of Us and Offerman cleaned up nicely as the freshly shaven TV veteran won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series this past January.

However, Offerman wasn’t done winning accolades for his time on The Last of Us — nor is the discourse over the show’s depiction of queer people as actual people less toxic than it was this time last year when “Long, Long Time” was the most talked-about episode in television. At last night’s Spirit Awards, Offerman accepted the trophy for Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series with some choice words for homophobic “fans” of the franchise.

“Thanks to HBO for having the guts to participate in this storytelling tradition that is truly independent,” Offerman began after a signature squeaky chuckle. “Stories with guts that when homophobic hate comes my way and says, ‘Why did you have to make it a gay story?’ We say, ‘Because you ask questions like that. It’s not a gay story, it’s a love story, you asshole!”

While the vast majority of the conversation surrounding Offerman and Bartlett’s on-screen love story in “Long, Long Time” praised the pacing, the performances and the touching humanity of their multi-year, post-collapse romance, the uglier feedback that Offerman and the show received was uncomfortably predictable, considering the way discourse over LGBTQ+ representation in the franchise has gone in the past. Back when the long-awaited sequel to the first video game was released in 2020, backlash over controversial story decisions and surprise character deaths led to a veritable mob of incensed gamers who targeted the series’ depiction of gay and transgender characters with hateful rhetoric. So, when “Long, Long Time” aired and drew insults like “LGBT propaganda” from followers of the franchise, it didn’t come as a surprise to The Last of Us fans who had seen that exact homophobic hate run rampant in the community just a couple years prior. 

However, as Offerman hinted, and as the franchise co-creator Neil Druckmann has often remarked, neither the HBO show nor the games are made to appease the small-minded gamers who can watch horrific zombie abominations tear human beings limb from limb, but who recoil in pain when a couple of charming, weathered gay men eat strawberries.


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