Actor Penn Badgley of You and Gossip Girl fame spoke out against Netflix for glamorizing serial killers in a new interview. You, which premiered part one of its latest season last week, follows Badgley’s character, Joe Goldberg, as he spirals into becoming an obsessive stalker to protect those he loves, which results in him becoming a serial killer. The show is based on a book by Caroline Kepnes, and Joe Goldberg is entirely fictional.
Badgley feels that because the real story of You lies in Joe’s manipulation of many of his victims and the story is not based in reality, it remains an ethical depiction of a killer. He criticized Netflix for glamorizing real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, which starred Evan Peters. Badgley’s comments add to the ongoing sensation of the internet’s newfound fascination with true crime.
— Pop Base (@PopBase) February 13, 2023
Fans of the shows mentioned in the interviews were quick to call out the irony of Badgley’s statements on the matter. Some argue that You romanticizes killers as well–each season, before Badgley’s character ultimately ends up harming his partner or someone associated with them, he romances them first. The primary difference is that Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy have real victims, several of whom have family members who are still alive.
Penn Badgley, Who Plays a Serial Killer on Netflix, Is Calling Out Netflix for Sexualizing Serial Killers 👏
— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) February 13, 2023
This is the latest of controversial takes surrounding the show, which maintains a sizable fan following since its 2018 debut. Badgley has been trending on social media for several days since he also remarked in an interview that he asked You‘s show runner for few to no sex scenes in this season.
While many fans of the show voiced support for Badgley on social media, others viewed his decision as a catalyst that could start a new trend in the film industry.
If you’re mad about Penn Badgley politely asking his showrunner to limit his sex scenes because of personal boundaries he wanted to maintain for his own personal relationship, you’re weird.
— carina adly mackenzie (@cadlymack) February 13, 2023
Others were quick to start rumors about Badgley cheating on his wife, Domino Kirke, who he married in 2017. The couple share a son. There is currently no direct evidence to support these rumors.
what is with all these elaborate theories about why penn badgley isn’t doing sex scenes anymore lol. have we lost the ability to recognize a blatant case of “on a tight leash after getting caught cheating”
— mr. rager’s neighborhood (@lilgrapefruits) February 12, 2023
I’m pretty sure penn badgley requesting not to do horny scenes anymore is simply the way we’re finding out that he cheated on his wife and my girl had *conditions* https://t.co/hcciiVNpk0
— Jessica Blankenship (@blanketboat) February 12, 2023
People were quick to refute this given the lack of evidence, citing that the ongoing debate surrounding the autonomy of nudity and sex scenes in film should not be questioned because a straight male actor reportedly felt uncomfortable.
no offense to the sex-addicted generation, but I find your complete inability to accept penn badgley’s right to establish clear boundaries when he’s married with a child really creepy and unprofessional. it’s his choice not to do HIS sex scenes. THE END. https://t.co/NVL3fFZHdB
— beena (@skiesandtheseas) February 13, 2023
It’s crazy how Penn Badgley saying “I don’t want to record sex scenes anymore because i’m a married man” translates to “I cheated on my wife & with any form of temptation, I would do it again” to some of y’all. Reminder to never hire any of you as my lawyer.
— ⌘ left at london ⌘ (@LeftAtLondon) February 13, 2023
When describing his decision to cut back on the intimate scenes this season, Badgley referenced the importance of “fidelity” in his marriage. This led some to analyze his choice of words carefully, assuming that he classified intimate scenes as cheating.
no offense to sexless generation, but i find penn badgley's antisex comments really creepy and unprofessional. it's his choice not to do sex scenes but tying it to infidelity and not crossing boundaries with his wife is offputting
— Manish (he/him/his) (@vertigay314) February 11, 2023
If I were one of penn badgley's female co-stars I would be at least moderately weirded out by the fact that he considered our pretend sex scenes to be tantamount to cheating on his wife
— Jack Hamilton (@jack_hamilton) February 12, 2023
Some contributed to the conversation by saying that Badgley’s choice to step away from intimate scenes was unprofessional. Since the scenes are stimulated and production companies require intimacy coordinators to maintain personal boundaries now, some felt Badgley’s comment on the matter was unnecessary.
Does this man — an actual actor — not understand the concept of "acting"?https://t.co/Hlf93qSZFq
— Yasmin Nair (Couth No More) (@NairYasmin) February 13, 2023
Badgley is yet to address either of the conversations that he unintentionally started during his latest press interviews this week, and neither have any other actors from Netflix’s You. Part two of the latest season of You comes to Netflix on March 9.