Yesterday, news broke that a Walking Dead t-shirt is getting pulled from U.K. Primark stores after someone complained about the racist nature of a t-shirt stating "eeny meeny miny moe" next to an image of Negan's bat Lucille in the company's Sheffield, England location. The phrase was famously uttered by the TV villain during Negan's introduction to the small screen, but someone who has never watched The Walking Dead took offense, and now the t-shirt is being whisked out of the major chain. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan on the AMC series, recently saw the news and has a decidedly blunt opinion about the controversy. Here's what he had to say.
Speaking via Twitter, Jeffrey Dean Morgan revealed that he does not, in fact, agree with Primark's decision to cut the shirt from the store. While the person who complained about the shirt is right that the nursery rhyme in question had negative connotation back in the day, featuring an n-bomb drop, the nursery rhyme has been changed over the years to talk about catching a "tiger tiger by the toe." That's the version used in The Walking Dead comics and the AMC show of the same name. Only the first few words of the rhyme can be seen on the t-shirt.
Interestingly, this controversy of sorts is only coming out now, years after the publication of the issue of the graphic novel and months after Negan himself uttered the words on The Walking Dead. The person complaining, Ian Lucraft, looks as if he didn't have any context when he and his wife saw the shirt in the store. He told The Star he found the shirt to be "fantastically offensive" because it relates to the practice of "assaulting black people" in America.
The introduction of Negan on The Walking Dead was harrowing for fans everywhere, because it also meant we got to meet Lucille, a baseball bat that Negan uses to take out those who stand in his way on the series, that is, when he doesn't get his minions to do his dirty work for him. At the start of Season 7, both Glenn and Abraham found themselves on the receiving end of the bat after losing the twisted game of tag. It was a shocking and violent episode, but more because of Negan's actions than any connotations.
The Walking Dead has dealt with controversies in the past, but most of these have not been related to Negan and thus Jeffrey Dean Morgan may not be used to having to deal with news of this scale. With that, we have to say: welcome to being on one of the most popular TV shows in the world.
The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET, only on AMC. To find out what else is heading to TV, take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.