Why Do People Hate Gillian Anderson: Breaking Down the Internet’s Love-Hate Relationship

Gillian Anderson is an acclaimed Hollywood actress best known for her iconic role as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully on the 1990s sci-fi series The X-Files.

While many fans adore Anderson for her acting talents and outspoken nature, she has also faced some criticism and dislike over the years. This article will analyze the potential reasons why some people do not appreciate Gillian Anderson.

Blunt and Outspoken Personality

Some people interpret Anderson’s straight-talking, confident manner as arrogance or flippancy. For example, an interview she gave to The Guardian in 2021 raised some eyebrows with quotes like “I’m so unfulfilled, it’s ridiculous” when talking about her sex life. While likely intended to be tongue-in-cheek, some readers disliked what they perceived as cockiness or oversharing.

Outspoken Social and Political Opinions

Anderson is very vocal about her social and political views on issues like feminism and climate crisis. While many fans relate to and appreciate her outspokenness, others with more conservative leanings may dislike or disagree with her left-leaning opinions being so publicly espoused from a position of fame and privilege.

Looks Down on Certain Roles

After finding huge fame with The X-Files, Anderson was nervous about only being offered similar genre roles and has admitted turning down work that could typecast her or wasn’t creatively fulfilling. However, this choice and candor has led some to feel she looks down on roles in sci-fi/fantasy as “beneath” her.

Issues During and After The X-Files

Rumors of tensions between Anderson and co-star David Duchovny plagued The X-Files over the years. While both deny serious feuding, they admit difficulties working together that intense 14-16 hour days exacerbated. Detractors read into this supposed off-screen tension to dislike Anderson.

Exit and Eventual Return to the Franchise

Anderson originally intended to leave The X-Files after Season 7, but reluctantly signed on for an 8th season that she has admitted regretting. She then did not participate in the 2008 movie before finally returning for more new seasons in 2016. Her on-again-off-again relationship with the defining franchise that “made” her led some fans to criticize what they saw as hypocrisy or lack of loyalty.

Perceived Difficult Behavior and Demands Around Sex Education

After Anderson earned acclaim for her role in the first season of teen drama Sex Education, controversy erupted over reports that she demanded higher pay to continue on the show, as well as an executive producer credit.

When negotiations broke down, Anderson exited the popular series to dismay from fans. While Anderson never publicly addressed the rumors, detractors read the move as evidence of unwarranted difficult behavior and “diva demands.”

Pay Rates by Season for Sex Education Stars:

ActorGillian AndersonAsa ButterfieldEmma Mackey
Season 1 Pay$350-400K per episode$250-300K per episode$25-30K per episode
Season 2 PayDid not return$250-300K per episode$25-30K per episode

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was Polarizing

Anderson’s recent portrayal as controversial right-wing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown received mixed reactions. Supporters felt she embodied Thatcher well and humanized the divisive figure.

Detractors disliked what they saw as an attempt to sanitize or glorify such a polarizing political persona associated with policies like cutting social services and confronting unions. The role brought political debates around Anderson’s acting choices that likely did not sit well with some left-leaning fans.


In the end, Gillian Anderson is an acclaimed actress celebrated for portraying strong female characters and speaking her mind. However, those same direct qualities that earned her praise also provoke dislike from some who interpret her persona as arrogant, demanding, or controversial.

Within an industry that often silences women’s voices and choices, Anderson has insisted on asserting herself and her boundaries around roles, compensation, and creative demands. While that inspires many, it also reads to some as difficult behavior undeserving of a leading lady.

Similarly, her candor and outspoken social opinions connect with audiences craving authentic celebrity voices. Yet that same unfiltered nature also lends itself to Things Rubbing People the wrong way or leading to criticism when she takes on divisive roles.

Ultimately, Gillian Anderson is a prime example of how actors, especially women, often unfairly face blowback and scrutiny for exhibiting agency over their careers and voices. Readers can decide whether qualities often praised in male stars should instead be admired in Anderson too, or if they interpret her decisions as worthy of criticism. Love her or dislike her, Anderson’s portrayal of multifaceted women living life on their own terms has undeniably made cultural impact over the past 30 years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Disliking Gillian Anderson

Why do some X-Files fans dislike Gillian Anderson?

Some longtime X-Files fans disliked Anderson for several reasons: rumors of tension with David Duchovny, exiting the franchise after Season 7, only reluctantly agreeing to Season 8, not participating in the 2008 movie revival, and finally for only agreeing to return in 2016 once she was offered equal pay to Duchovny.

These choices came off to some fans as hypocritical or displaying a lack of loyalty to the series that made her famous.

Does Gillian Anderson dislike doing sci-fi roles?

Earlier in her career, Anderson expressed wariness about becoming typecast and only offered science fiction/fantasy roles following her nine years starring as Dana Scully on The X-Files. This led to criticism that she now looks down on the genre, despite winning acclaim for roles in shows like American Gods in recent years.

Why did Gillian Anderson leave Sex Education?

After Season 2, reports emerged that Anderson demanded a significant pay raise and producer credit to remain on the hit Netflix show Sex Education. When talks broke down, she exited the show to dismay from fans. However, without Anderson or the show publicly addressing the controversy, definitive reasons for her departure remain unknown.

Why was Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher controversial?

Anderson’s recent turn as late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on The Crown polarized some audiences and critics. Her performance earned praise for humanizing the divisive right-wing political figure. However, detractors argued it wrongly attempted to sanitize or glorify such a controversial leader known for policies that confronted unions and cut social services spending.

What makes Gillian Anderson so unlikable to some people?

While extremely talented, Gillian Anderson’s direct acting style and persona tend to provoke strong reactions from viewers and critics.

Traits often praised in male stars, like being blunt, assertive over her career choices, and vocal about political opinions can come off to some viewers as arrogance or flippancy undeserving of a leading lady. Her outspoken nature connects with many fans but can also rub more conservative detractors the wrong way.

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