Reaction to The Walking Dead’s Pride merch separates the real fans from undead zombies

Zombies from The Walking Dead against a rainbow background.

As Pride month rolls on, so too does the endless stream of rainbow-branded merchandise. The Walking Dead franchise has just released its own, and its unsurprisingly awoken undead bigots.

When June comes around, the queer community can guarantee one thing – every brand will whack a rainbow over their logo. Sometimes, they’ll try and sell it too.

This year is no different, though there appears to be a worrying increase in the number of brands having to defend or retract their Pride offerings.

US megachain Target decided to pull their Pride range earlier this month after right-wing miseries descended on the stores to destroy the merch, while Innocent smoothies pandered to pressure from gender-critical Twitter users and removed a thread showing support for Mermaids, a charity working with trans youth.

Even Peppa Pig can’t escape the Pride backlash: after sharing a photo of the Peppa Pig clique stood by a rainbow, the TV show’s Instagram account was flooded with hateful comments.

Now it’s The Walking Dead’s turn. Earlier this week (5 June), the official Twitter account of the beloved post-apocalyptic drama shared an innocuous link to its pride merch alongside a photo of two men holding hands.

You may like to watch

In the caption, the brand announced it would be donating “a portion of the proceeds” to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a New York-based organisation dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ youth.

While the Pride merch in question is literally just a rainbow version of The Walking Dead logo slapped on various apparel, the reaction would have anyone thinking it featured Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon going at it.

Alongside a string of comments featuring the throwing up and faeces emojis, some so-called fans demanded a boycott of the show – despite it ending last year.

One particularly vile reply to the post asked whether the Pride merch was “a HIV ad”.

Thankfully, other fans were quick to drown out the miserable bigots with reminders of how queer inclusive The Walking Dead is, with the franchise having dozens of characters that sit under the LGBTQ+ umbrella

The TV series alone has featured gay and lesbian couples, non-binary representation, and a ton of queer kisses, while the video games also include LGBTQ+ protagonists

“Homophobes in the replies forget that The Walking Dead is full of LGBTQ+ characters,” one fan commented. “Did y’all not watch the same show?”

“How are there homophobic The Walking Dead fans?? Some of the best characters were literally gay,” another questioned.

A third summarised: “The homophobes in the replies can stay mad. Happy Pride!”

Please login or register to comment on this story.