Nick Offerman calls out 'homophobic hate' against “The Last of Us”: 'It’s not a gay story, it’s a love story'

The actor won best supporting performance in a new scripted series at the 2024 Independent Spirit Awards for his role as Bill.

Nick Offerman put his acceptance speech to good use at the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards, by clapping back at the homophobic backlash that followed his brief role in The Last of Us.

On Sunday night, Offerman earned the prize for Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series, the latest accolade for his turn as Bill, a hardened survivalist with a heart of gold. Once the spotlight was on him, the actor wasted no time singing the show's praises.

“Wow, thank you so much. I’m astonished to be in this category, which is bananas,” Offerman said when he took the stage. “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!'”

<p>Michael Buckner/Getty Images; Liane Hentscher/HBO</p> Nick Offerman at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in 'The Last of Us'

Michael Buckner/Getty Images; Liane Hentscher/HBO

Nick Offerman at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in 'The Last of Us'

Offerman went on to acknowledge that earning the award was a group effort: "Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin wrote this thing, Peter Hoar directed it, Murray Bartlett planted the strawberries... and that is not a euphanism," he joked, before also thanking his wife Megan Mullally, who convinced him to accept the role.

Earlier this year, Offerman also earned the Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a drama series.

Offerman starred opposite Bartlett in  "Long, Long Time,” the emotional third episode of the drama which has been lauded by critics and fans alike for its devastating portrayal of a love story amidst a zombie apocalypse.

The episode takes a break from the main storyline — featuring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey — to spotlight the romance of two men who spend 20 years carving out a life for themselves as the world descends into chaos. The series delves significantly deeper into their love story than the game, which only hints at the relationship.

"The idea was to show these two people functioning in a relationship, two very different people who have different concepts of how to love," series creator Craig Mazin told EW last year. “And in their relationship and their two different ways of loving, both outward and inward, we create a kind of thematic codex for the whole show. Every relationship we see from that point forward, you can feel like a Bill and Frank kind of lurking inside everybody."

Season 2 of The Last of Us is currently in production with a release slated for 2025. The sophomore season will include Pascal and Ramsey, along with newcomers, Kaitlyn Dever, Isabela Merced, and Young Mazino.

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