Diana Gabaldon has officially responded to a controversial casting on Season 4 of Outlander. Gabaldon shared her opinion after fans blasted the show on social media for casting an actor who was arrested and convicted on two counts of domestic violence.
On this week’s episode of Outlander, titled “Common Ground,” Will Strongheart appeared in a scene as Tawodi, a Native American who thanked Jamie (Sam Heughan) for ending the life of a Cherokee tribal member who raped a woman.
Fans took issue with the casting decision after finding out that Strongheart has a history of domestic violence.
“I offer my sincere apologies to those affected by my actions — especially to the women and their families who I have hurt resulting in pain and suffering that they did not deserve…
Will Strongheart#CommonGroundhttps://t.co/wQ1wfajAqx pic.twitter.com/u2CplZkjPc
— Sheugs (@Sheugs) November 26, 2018
According to Entertainment Weekly, the actor was arrested for assaulting a woman named Melanie Rope in 2010. Rope came forward with her story last April while Strongheart was preparing for the release of his new film, Indian Horse.
Rope claimed that Strongheart has abused other women in the past. She then deleted the post and Strongheart issued a statement about the accusations.
Strongheart apologized for abusing women and asked for forgiveness for any pain he has caused. He also revealed that he was struggling with alcohol addiction at the time and has been sober for the past eight years.
The actor spent 18 months behind bars for the convictions in 2010 and has not responded to the controversy surrounding his casting on Outlander.
Despite the apology, many Outlander fans felt like the series should not have cast Strongheart for the part. In response to the backlash, Gabaldon revealed that she is not involved in the casting process.
#Outlander #Episode4 had very poignant moments; especially when #jamiefraser went to the Cherokee to deliver the dead "bear" and hopefully reach a #CommonGround The disturbing part was seeing #willstrongheart who has multiple assault charges against him.#Blacklanderz https://t.co/lF9fY2nV7J
— Helina✞ (@helinazewdu) November 25, 2018
She added, “Naturally I don’t think it’s good that this happened. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask the production people to investigate the backgrounds of every actor they hire for a minor part.”
Strongheart plays a minor role in Season 4 and is only in two episodes. Apart from Outlander, Strongheart appeared in The American West and The Alienist.
Starz has not commented on Strongheart’s future on the show.
New episodes of Outlander air Sunday nights on Starz.