'Walking Dead' Showrunner Apologized To Actor For Misogynistic Insult On Show

Showrunner Scott Gimple wanted to make it clear the line was just about Negan being terrible.

If you haven’t noticed by now, on “The Walking Dead,” Negan is kind of a jerk.

Thus far, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character killed Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), was the reason for a war that left numerous characters dead and has had sex in the woods with his socks on.

It’s all very disturbing. And the show creators know it.

On a recent episode of Skybound’s “Talk Dead to Me” podcast, former “Walking Dead” actor Ann Mahoney said she even got an apology for Negan’s behavior.

In the show, Mahoney played Olivia, who was in charge of the supplies for Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) people in Alexandria before being shot by Negan’s group. Olivia was also a target of Negan’s insults. In the season seven episode “Service,” the villain told Rick, “I can’t be the only one to notice that you got a fat lady in charge of keeping track of rations, can I?”

Talking about the line on the podcast, Mahoney said she received a call from then-showrunner Scott Gimple to apologize.

“Gimple called me and was, like, ‘I just want you to know that I’m sorry about that line, but Negan’s an asshole, and so he says asshole things.’ He’s, like, ‘But none of us think of you like that, but it just kind of shows everybody what a misogynist he is, basically,’” Mahoney said.

Ann Mahoney as Olivia in a scene with Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan.
Ann Mahoney as Olivia in a scene with Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan.

The responsibility for the line didn’t fall directly on Gimple alone, as it was a nearly word-for-word lift from issue No. 103 of “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman’s source comic book, Comicbook.com pointed out.

In a later episode, Negan insulted Olivia again when she tells him that Alexandria is practically starving. 

“You? By ‘practically,’ you mean ‘not really,’” Negan said before apologizing and propositioning her for sex, which finally caused Olivia to slap him.

“That’s my job as an actor, right? To be offended. And it does — that stuff does hurt when people say it, right? But that’s who Olivia is, and she’s standing up,” Mahoney said about the insults. “Olivia is much more of a mama bear than we actually got to see in the show, but so she’s taking that job very, very seriously, and she’s very protective of people and their food. She wants to make sure her people are not uncomfortable. They’re not starving. So I think it hurts her deeply when he decides to use it as a way to make fun of her.”

Despite Negan’s behavior, Mahoney enjoyed acting alongside Morgan, saying that he was “lovely” to work with and that the pair had a big brother-little sister relationship on set. She added that Lincoln, the show’s star, showed up for her last day of work just to say goodbye. She credited part of the show’s success to the quality of the people who work on it.

“When you cast a bunch of people who aren’t jerks, who love the work, who are happy to be there, it just creates this magic on set. Because everybody’s just, no matter how brutal the circumstances are, is so thrilled to be doing the work that it makes it a joy,” Mahoney said.