Nick Offerman hits out at homophobic response to ‘The Last of Us’ gay storylines: ‘You a**hole’

Nick Offerman has hit back at homophobic comments made about an episode of The Last of Us in a fiery Independent Spirit Awards speech.

The actor played Bill, a reclusive, closeted survivalist trying to survive the cordyceps outbreak in the third episode of the post-apocalyptic series. When fellow survivor Frank (The White Lotus star Murray Bartlett) stumbles upon Bill’s house, the latter reluctantly takes him in – which ends up being a night of passion for the pair.

The episode, entitled “Long, Long Time”, then follows the lovers across two decades as the infected continue to take over the world, eventually leading to a devastating – but chosen – end. 

Despite being seen by many as one of the best episodes of television of last year, it was review-bombed by homophobes, and, currently, a quarter of the reviews on IMDb have just one star.

Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman (R) as Bill and Frank in The Last Of Us. (HBO)

Last night (25 February), as Offerman picked up the gong for best supporting performance for the role, at the Independent Spirit Awards, he took a moment to mock those who questioned why the queer storyline was necessary.

“Thanks to HBO for having the guts to participate in this storytelling tradition that is truly independent, 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 a**hole’,” Offerman said.

He went on to call more of this type of storytelling and thanked on-screen lover Bartlett for “planting the strawberries”, adding: “That’s not a euphemism.”

It’s not the first time the homophobic backlash has been addressed by Offerman, who also won an Emmy Award for the role.

Speaking to iNews last year, the actor, who also appeared in A League of Their Own, revealed that he was “kinda fascinated by how openly people will express hate and brand themselves as bigots”.

He continued: “I kept thinking: ‘We can see you’. Because here were men saying: ‘I’m a father and a Christian and a patriot and I hate queers’. [Isn’t it crazy that] the public expression of that kind of hatred is still pretty safe?”

Co-star Bella Ramsey, who plays leading survivor Ellie Williams in the series, also had a cutting response to those who were unhappy with the series’ queer representation.

In episode seven, Ramsey’s character kisses her best friend Riley (Storm Reid), while in the upcoming second season, she will find a girlfriend in new character Dina.

“I know people will think what they want to think, but they’re gonna have to get used to it,” Ramsey told GQ last year. “If you don’t want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character, that’s on you, and you’re missing out.”

Season two of The Last of Us is expected to air in 2025, while later this year Offerman can be seen on the big screen in another vision of a terrifying near-future: Alex Garland’s Civil War.

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