The Last of Us star Storm Reid slams homophobic backlash to queer stories: ‘It’s nonsense’

Storm Reid pictured wearing a suit top with a black bra underneath, in front of a grey background at the Los Angeles Premiere of The Last of Us

Storm Reid, who plays Riley in The Last of Us, has spoken out about dealing with bigoted viewers following her character’s gay love story in the seventh episode of the post-apocalyptic series.

“Left Behind” follows Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Riley as they explore an abandoned shopping centre in the Boston Quarantine Zone, a (relatively) safe haven within the otherwise fungus-ridden world of the show.

The two sneak into the mall, explore an arcade, carousel and a photo booth – and it’s all very wholesome, until they’re attacked by a clicker (an infected person). The pair fight off the monster, despite both receiving a bite, then kiss as the infection takes hold.

Where LGBTQ+ representation appears on screen, though, backlash will surely follow – and it was no different this time around as bigots criticised the tragic but beautiful gay love story.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Reid said that she echoes Ramsey’s statements on the subject of queer storylines, after her co-star hit out at conservative viewers who lambasted episode three’s portrayal of gay couple Bill and Frank.

“Like Bella said when episode three came out: if you don’t like it, don’t watch,” Reid told EW, referencing Ramsey’s GQ interview. 

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“We are telling important stories. We’re telling stories of people’s experiences and that’s what I live for. That’s what makes good storytelling because we are telling stories of people who are taking up space in the world.”

“I’m not only representing women. I’m representing young Black women and I’m representing young queer women that are experiencing new feelings and new relationships.”

Storm Reid as Riley. (HBO)
Storm Reid as Riley. (HBO)

She delivered a final blow to viewers whining over the groundbreaking TV adaptation.

“It’s 2023. If you’re concerned about who I love, then I need you to get your priorities straight,” she continued.

“There [are] so many other things to worry about in life. Why are you concerned that these young people – or anybody – love each other? Love is beautiful, and the fact that people have things to say about it, it’s just nonsense.”

The Last of Us airs on Sundays on HBO in the US and on Mondays in the UK on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.