The Boys Controversy Tears Fandom Apart After Showrunner Comments

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

The Boys is a TV show that has often courted controversy thanks to its extreme violence and bizarre sexual content. Season 4 has certainly had plenty of the latter, including extremely uncomfortable scenes of Hughie getting sexually assaulted by his former childhood hero. That would have been bad enough, but The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke admitted that he and other crew members found Hughie’s plight as “hilarious,” which many fans have deemed hypocritical since the showrunner was so careful and respectful about portraying Starlight’s own sexual assault in season 1.

A Difficult Scene

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To explain how The Boys caused so much controversy in the most recent season, we need to return to season 1. That season featured Starlight as a newcomer to The Seven, but the shine of her new gig wears off once her childhood hero The Deep assaults her.

It was an extremely hard scene to watch, and to listen to the show’s creator, it was also very hard to film.

Kripke Took Great Care

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The Boys’ creator and showrunner Eric Kripke knew how much controversy that scene would cause and “wanted to get it right,” a goal he realized by having “a lot of conversations with a lot of women” in which he tried to “get the f*** out of the way and just let them speak.”

He knew that the stakes were impossibly high “because if I got that wrong, it’s not just that it would fail as a scene, it would be hurtful.”

Hughie Doesn’t Get The Same Care

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In retrospect, he said and did all the right things and functionally pulled off the impossible, using The Boys to tell a relatively respectful and insightful casting couch-style scene while minimizing potential controversy.

Unfortunately, that seems to have completely gone out the window a few years later: in a recent interview, Kripke was asked point-blank about the decision to torment Hughie by having him endure sexual assault from his childhood hero so shortly after his dad died.

An incredulous Kripke replied “Well, that’s a dark way to look at it” and claimed, “We view it as hilarious.”

A Double Standard

Certainly, Hughie’s sexual assault in season 4 of The Boys is played for laughs, but the controversy stirred by Kripke’s comments means that nobody in the fandom is laughing. The circumstances Starlight and Hughie faced in the show are broadly very similar: they are each young people sexually assaulted by a superhero they once admired. 

In what seems to be a very clear double standard, the showrunner treated her assault as a delicate incident that could upset many fans and treated his assault as nothing more than a gross punchline.

What Happened Between Then And Now

It doesn’t help that many fans think the most recent season of The Boys has been going through the motions, so the last thing it needs is a major controversy tearing apart the fandom.

Sadly, Kripke’s comments are not only dividing fans but also make it seem like he was completely insincere when describing how he agonized over the portrayal of Starlight’s assault and didn’t want to cause pain to anyone watching.

Perhaps worse is the idea that he was sincere before but has now become a bit like the show’s fans: completely desensitized to the nonstop parade of degrading sex and violence.

Either way, we’re starting to be more and more grateful that this Amazon show only has one more season left.