Sean Hayes Says ‘Will & Grace’ Hate Mail Even Came From a Fan of the Show

“It was the craziest thing,” Hayes tells his “SmartLess” podcast cohosts

Sean Hayes (Credit: Getty Images)

Sean Hayes revealed that in the early years of “Will & Grace,” he and his costars on the hit NBC sitcom received a lot of hate mail — including from someone who told them they deserved to go to Hell and in the same letter affirmed she was a huge fan of the show.

Hayes revealed that odd history on the most recent episode of his “Smartless” podcast, which he hosts alongside Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. Speaking to their guest Trevor Noah, Hayes said, “On the beginning of ‘Will & Grace,’ we used to get death threats all the time.”

But “one of the greatest letters we ever got” turned out not to be 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 joked.

“You’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,” Hayes said the woman wrote.

The groundbreaking NBC sitcom focused on the friendship between Will Truman, a gay man played by Eric McCormack, and Grace Adler, played by Debra Messing, as well as on their friends Jack, a gay party boy played by Hayes, and Karen, played by Megan Mullally.

It premiered in September 1998, just two months after the end of ABC’s “Ellen,” a sitcom that suffered a drop in both viewers and the support of its network after star Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian. Like “Ellen,” “Will & Grace” was criticized by people opposed to LGBTQ rights.

Hayes previously discussed the hate mail the show received, as well as his own journey deciding to come out publicly as a gay man. Read more about it here.


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