Consider us officially angry on behalf of Daniel Portman, who portrays Podrick on Game of Thrones. In a recent interview with Esquire magazine, Portman revealed he’s been sexually assaulted by female fans in the past. It may feel easy to shrug off Portman’s comments, especially since they’re sandwiched into an otherwise light, fun interview and they’re about a man, but this news is truly gut-wrenching.
On GoT, the character of Podrick is known as a dependable, kind-hearted young man who is also pretty well-endowed. This particular physical trait of Pod’s has also become fodder for memes and jokes within the GoT fandom. But if Portman’s comments to Esquire are anything to go by, it’s apparent that fans are having trouble distinguishing between what’s real and what’s not real.
“I’ve been grabbed by so many [fans],” Portman commented, continuing, “Like the amount of like older, older women who are very [makes grabbing gesture with his hands]…”
Portman didn’t go into specifics about incidents that have stuck with him, but with the help of his comments this interview illustrates the way he was touched by female fans was not solicited. Portman reflects on this, telling Esquire, “What can you do? You know? Obviously, tell them not to do it. It hasn’t happened for a while. In this day and age, you’d think that people would be able to separate reality from fiction.”
He continues, saying, “I don’t want to say [being groped] comes with the territory, but, you know, people are crazy about it. It’s certainly not cool.”
Portman ends the discussion on the topic with the following: “I was 20 when that happened, so it was kind of like a kid in a candy shop. When you tell a 20-year-old actor, who’s sort of stumbled onto this big TV show, that all of a sudden you’re meant to be Casanova, people all over the world wonder whether or not it’s true. I would be lying if I said that that hadn’t been fun.”
I don’t know about you, but I am extremely not okay with this news. My heart goes out to Portman for having to deal with this, especially being so young and newly-minted as a star thanks to GoT, and this never should have happened to him. It’s already a huge task to deal with everything that comes with being a celebrity. As such, let me be clear when I say: no celebrity and furthermore, no human being, should ever be subjected to sexual assault. Touching another person anywhere, including their genitals, without their consent is appalling behavior. Adults should understand that. Female fans should understand that.
I get that fans can sometimes feel like they are entitled to a celebrity’s time and attention because they themselves spend so much time lifting up their celebrity of choice and singing their praises on social media and beyond — but that doesn’t entitle someone to grope another person. Even if you’re interacting with a male celebrity whose public persona, which is specifically engineered based on what kind celebrity they are, is that of a hunk, you can’t just go around groping him as if that’s what he wants.
Hopefully, Portman’s story can serve as a reminder this behavior is not okay and if you’re a fan of his (or any other celeb’s), you should make sure you remember that he’s a person just like you and deserves to have his personal space respected.