A highly vocal and unusually vile number of individuals took to Twitter over the last week to castigate voice actress Laura Bailey and creative director Neil Druckmann regarding the character of Abby in The Last of Us, Part II.
Bailey pointed out in a post some of the tweets she’s been getting over her portrayal of the character. Just the sample she showed held a number of death threats, though none of the actual user IDs were displayed. However, subsequent replies to her post flooded in supporting the actress, including Critical Role DM Matthew Mercer’s laconic note, “They gotta go through us first.”
Man. I try to only post positive stuff on here… but sometimes this just gets a little overwhelming. I blacked out some of the words cuz, ya know, spoilers.
Side note. Thank you to all the people sending me positive messages to balance it out. It means more than I can say.❤️ pic.twitter.com/kGyULWPpNu
— Laura Bailey (@LauraBaileyVO) July 3, 2020
Druckmann also posted his support, saying, “As the people that propagate this kind of hate would say, how stunning and brave! I hope these gamers get the mental help they so clearly need. Unfortunately, this is now the cost of making popular entertainment that challenges conventions. Laura doesn’t deserve any of this.”
As the people that propagate this kind of hate would say, how stunning and brave! I hope these gamers get the mental help they so clearly need. Unfortunately this is now the cost of making popular entertainment that challenges conventions. Laura doesn’t deserve any of this. ❤️ https://t.co/kHzXddZzIB
— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) July 3, 2020
Naughty Dog also released a statement in support of Bailey: “Although we welcome critical discussion, we condemn any form of harassment or threats directed towards our team and cast. Their safety is our top priority, but we must all work together to root out this type of behavior and maintain a constructive and compassionate discourse.”
From the sample of tweets in Bailey’s post, there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason given for the vitriol. While some of them do seem to be making the classic mistake of being unable to separate the performer from the character, others do not. There has been some discontent over narrative choices Druckmann and Naughty Dog made during the development process. It would appear Bailey has been caught up in that discontent, though it’s equally clear that she has a much larger number of supporters and fans who wish her well.