In a podcast interview with Paul Greene, Chris McNally opened up about some of the hateful messages he has received from “When Calls the Heart” fans who were on Team Nathan’s side. While he also received encouraging messages, he shared that he was really surprised by the wave of hate he received from some fans of the hit Hallmark series.
McNally Revealed He Was Told He Didn’t Care About the Show & That He Should Leave & Find Another TV Series
McNally plays Lucas on “When Calls the Heart.” Lucas was part of the Nathan-Elizabeth-Lucas love triangle that dominated most of Season 8. Greene, who portrays Carson on the show, talked with McNally about some of the hateful messages that were shared when Season 8 ended.
You can watch the full podcast below.
At nearly 90 minutes into the interview, McNally talked about some of the hurtful comments he heard.
The end of season 8 was the first time I felt the wrath of some of the Hearties. And it switches quickly… There’s a group of people who are very vocal. … It did take a little bit of recalibrating for me because everyone has been nothing but supportive. .. . This was like a wave of hate. And I mean… I laugh about (it) now, the people writing me and being all, ‘You’re awful.’ Another one I thought was funny was: ‘You’re a pretty good actor. Why don’t you just get a job on another show?'”
McNally said that while Team Lucas fans were supportive, some Team Nathan fans weren’t nearly as nice. He described the barrage of mean messages as being a “wave of hate.” He added that people talked about how the show was only trying to get ratings, but he found that odd because shows need ratings to stay on the air.
People who are rooting for Lucas are very supportive… ‘We’ve been Team Lucas since the beginning. … He’s always pushed Elizabeth to be a better person… He cares about her well being more than his own….’
And then there’s the negative of, ‘You’ve lied to us. You’ve misled us… You’ve manipulated us for ratings.’ …
Shows need ratings, otherwise they won’t survive. So on one hand…ratings are important. … I don’t think people were trying to purposefully mislead anybody. I think they were trying to create an engaging drama. You don’t have a story without conflict. What would happen? It’s not interesting. You need to be engaged because of conflict… Clearly people cared, but that was my first time feeling the hate wave…
Later in the podcast, he shared another example of a “hate message” he had received.
After that…final episode, we experienced all the vitriol that was coming at us… So initially it stings a bit when people are like, ‘Oh I hate you, I hate all this, I hate what you’re doing, I’m never gonna watch the show again.’ … I sent out a tweet saying something like…’I love how passionate you guys are and I’m hearing a lot of people saying that they don’t want to or may not return to watch the show, and you will be missed… But we look forward to doing the next season for the people who will be back.’
There’s somebody who answered, saying how condescending that is. ‘You don’t even care… Chris, you don’t care.’
And I’m reading and I’m really like, ‘Who are you to tell me that I don’t… How do you know that I don’t care? … I actually emotionally invest in it.’
…(It’s) comical how people assume that. Like, what evidence do you have to make that statement that I don’t care? None.
McNally did point out that Nathan is a great character too, and he understands why some fans were strongly Team Nathan.
“I totally understand wanting Elizabeth to end up with Nathan,” he said. “I think that the writers did a great job of setting up two viable characters for Elizabeth to eventually settle down with. I think he’s a great guy, he’s got awesome characteristics. He’s charming, he’s caring, compassionate, he’s brave, all these wonderful things… Nathan’s not leaving Hope Valley… Your character is still there. … It’s become a story that is about the community.”
He also addressed fans who were upset because the show is no longer about a schoolteacher and a Mountie.
And I notice a lot of people write, ‘Hey, this story isn’t about the books anymore. What’s happened? It’s changed. I’m not going to watch anymore because Janette Oke’s story was about a Mountie and a schoolteacher.’
But I mean, that story hasn’t been told since Jack left. It’s not all of a sudden different. It started to change three years ago. I read that and just think, ‘I don’t agree with that perspective.’ I think that it’s been a different show for a while.
McNally did clarify that the hate is starting to subside.
“There’s been a lot of instances where people have been going through a tough time, and this show has helped them get through that…” he said.
Greene Agreed that Fan Hate Needs to Stop
Greene agreed with McNally that some fans need to tone the hate down. He said that from his perspective, some fans were being disrespectful in the way they worded their anger. But, he emphasized, those people are in the minority compared to the majority of fans who are very kind.
What the audience doesn’t understand is that without drama and conflict, it’s boring… They think they want everything buttoned up and sweet and cute like a puppy dog, like knitting, but that’s not really… It’s about good storytelling…
….They were a lot more angry when Daniel Lissing left the show … It’s a very small group but they seem big because what they say is very disrespectful, I think especially to the writers and to other actors like you and to the network. … But it’s a very small group and they’re very loud, and unfortunately with platforms like Twitter … it seems like they’re the majority because …they retweet and reshare… But the Hearties are in love with Hope Valley. They’re in love with the feeling that that town gives them on a Sunday…
Greene added later that he loves Hearties, but some just need to tone down the hate.
“Nothing but love for these Hearties, even the angry ones…” he said. “All I can request is that they speak in words that you would want your kids to speak in… You can be upset about it, but there’s a way of saying it that doesn’t assassinate somebody’s talent and their intentions… It is jarring…”