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Sean Hayes Recalls ‘Will and Grace’ Cast Receiving Death Threats: ‘It Was the Craziest Thing’

Sean Hayes Reveals the Cast of ‘Will and Grace’ Used to Receive Death Threats
Sean Hayes Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Sean Hayes recalled the tumultuous time when the cast of Will & Grace received death threats.

“On the beginning of Will & Grace, we used to get death threats all the time,” Hayes, 53, said on the Monday, May 28, episode of the “SmartLess” podcast. (The hit sitcom, which premiered in 1998, was the first mainstream LGBTQ+ series at the time.)

Following Hayes’ admission, cohost Will Arnett jokingly asked, “That’s for s–ty jokes or?” Hayes erupted into laughter at Arnett’s quip before recalling one of the “greatest” letters that the Will & Grace cast received — which he clarified was not a death threat.

“This woman wrote in to Will & Grace, took the time, got a pen, paper, wrote it, got a stamp, mailed it. Remember this was before the internet and everything. It’s a lot of effort to really share with someone how much you hate them,” he said. “This one woman wrote in and she said, ‘We’re all going to hell. You should be ashamed for putting this on television. You’re all horrible people. But I love the show, I just don’t like what it’s about.’”

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In response, cohost Jason Bateman joked, “And could you send me an 8 x 10?” while Arnett, 54, added, “Can I get some tickets for the April 12 show?”

“It was the craziest thing,” Hayes concluded, to which Arnett agreed, “That’s so f–king crazy.”

Sean Hayes Reveals the Cast of ‘Will and Grace’ Used to Receive Death Threats
Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack and Debra Messing in ‘Will & Grace.’ Cover Images

Will & Grace — which initially ran for eight seasons from 1998 to 2006 and returned for three seasons from 2017 to 2020 — centers around best friends Will Truman (Eric McCormack) and Grace Adler (Debra Messing). Jack McFarland (Hayes) and Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) also starred as the pair’s pals on the show.

Hayes — who did not publicly come out as gay until 2010, after the show’s first iteration came to a close — previously opened up about not declaring his sexuality while on Will & Grace.

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“We would get death threats to the show and I was scared,” Hayes told The Guardian in 2018. “I didn’t have the tools at such a young age to deal with the ramifications of coming out as gay in a huge public way.”

He continued: “But wisdom comes with age, and you realize, ‘Oh, I was doing more damage in not coming out sooner. I should have been more fearless, like my character.’”

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