A "Breaking Bad" actress writes in The New York Times about her experience performing on the hit AMC show, noting that her strong-willed character is disliked by many fans and even inspired "homicidal rage at the actress playing her."
Anna Gunn, who appears on the show as Skyler White, writes that "people transferred their negative feelings directly to me. The already harsh online comments became outright personal attacks. One such post read: ‘Could somebody tell me where I can find Anna Gunn so I can kill her?’" Gunn notes that she took steps to increase her safety after the threat.
Gunn says that the dislike inspired by Skyler — a strong woman who stands up to her husband as he spirals into making and selling meth — is partly due to her role as her husband’s antagonist.
"But I was unprepared for the vitriolic response she inspired," she adds.
"Vince Gilligan, the creator of ‘Breaking Bad,’ wanted Skyler to be a woman with a backbone of steel who would stand up to whatever came her way, who wouldn’t just collapse in the corner or wring her hands in despair," she notes.
She continues that she realized "most people’s hatred of Skyler had little to do with me and a lot to do with their own perception of women and wives. Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable ideal of the archetypical female, she had become a kind of Rorschach test for society, a measure of our attitudes toward gender.
"I can’t say that I have enjoyed being the center of the storm of Skyler hate. But in the end, I’m glad that this discussion has happened, that it has taken place in public and that it has illuminated some of the dark and murky corners that we often ignore or pretend aren’t still there in our everyday lives," she writes.