It is a truth now universally acknowledged that Penn Badgley is hot on You, even if Badgley himself is still trying to unpack why everyone is so horny for his character, Joe. After his tweets calling out fans who find themselves uncontrollably attracted to his murderer character went viral, Badgley told the New York Times that he was just trying to engage in some thoughtful discussion about why some people have so much sympathy for a stalker and killer — but “all of this nuance is lost on social media, which I have to learn again and again.” While he doesn’t necessarily regret provoking the discussion, he didn’t anticipate that he would open Twitter fans up to so much scrutiny — so he DMed fans that he had quote-tweeted to check in and clear the air.
“I actually had a lengthy conversation over DMs with one woman, and she correctly pointed out that I had sort of misinterpreted what she said,” he told the Times. “She was talking about why she was so charmed by me, the actor, rather than by the character of Joe.” Adding that people were “definitely trolling” the woman in question, Badgley said that the responses to her tweet were, to him, emblematic of the culture that makes it possible for us to lust after an actual serial killer.
“There was a person who did say in typical troll fashion, ‘maybe we should send real murderers to your house to make sure you know the difference,’ ” he said. “That’s chilling and that is exactly what Joe is, so it dovetails too perfectly, because we can’t get away from Joe.” Sure, Joe might be somewhat charming, smart, and looks great in an (unnecessary) apron, but like Badgley said — spoiler — “he kills four people and then Beck. What more can we tell you about his character than that?”