Sean Hayes Says 'Will & Grace' Cast Got Hate Mail From Fan Who Said They 'Love' The Show

Sean Hayes says the cast of “Will & Grace” received some confusing hate mail after the series premiered in 1998.

During an episode of the “SmartLess” podcast released on Monday, Hayes told fellow co-hosts Jason Bateman and Will Arnett and guest Trevor Noah that he and his cast mates “used to get death threats all the time” from people angry about the series featuring gay characters.

The show followed the friendship between Debra Messing’s Grace Adler and Eric McCormack’s Will Truman, a straight woman and her gay best friend living in New York City. Hayes played character Jack McFarland, who was also gay, while Megan Mullally rounded out their quirky clique as Karen Walker.

While the death threats were one thing, Hayes said there was a less menacing message that managed to etch into his memory.

Detailing “one of the greatest letters we ever got,” the actor said, “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.”

Hayes, Messing, Mullally and McCormack (left to right) appear on
Hayes, Messing, Mullally and McCormack (left to right) appear on "Will & Grace." Hayes said the cast received some strange and scary hate mail when the show began. NBC via Getty Images

“This one woman wrote in, and she said, ‘We’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 continued.

“It was the craziest thing,” he added.

The “Cats & Dogs” actor previously talked about how getting death threats while on “Will & Grace” left him “scared” for his safety during a 2018 interview with The Guardian.

“I didn’t have the tools at such a young age to deal with the ramifications of coming out as gay in a huge public way,” said Hayes, who waited until 2010 to come out publicly.

“But wisdom comes with age,” he continued. “And you realize, ‘Oh, I was doing more damage in not coming out sooner. I should have been more fearless, like my character.’”

Listen to the full episode of “SmartLess” online.