Evan Rachel Wood: Chief Hopper’s rages on Stranger Things are red flags (spoilers)

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Mild spoilers for season three of Stranger Things
The third season of Netflix’s Stranger Things was released last Thursday, so by Friday, most fans had finished watching all eight episodes. People were left wondering whether one of the characters had survived their trip to the Russians’ secret lab beneath the Starcourt Mall, where the Russians had managed to start opening the gate again.

People were also wondering what had happened to Chief Hopper. Over the course of the season, starting with the first episode, Hopper began flying off the handle and raging at and/or threatening other characters (notably, El, Mike, Max, Murray, Alexei, who had been in charge of figuring out how to open the gate, and Larry Kline, the mayor). Hopper also became incredibly jealous after Joyce missed meeting him for dinner because she was visiting with Mr. Clarke to find an explanation for how the magnets on her fridge and on a store display could have suddenly lost their magnetism. (Hopper had shown little interest in the problem when Joyce had mentioned it to him earlier.)

Among Hopper’s most vocal critics was Evan Rachel Wood, who has spoken about being a survivor of an abusive relationship. The actress took to Twitter to address Hopper’s abusive behavior; Entertainment Tonight has a good synopsis of Hopper’s abuse and of Evan’s tweets:

“You should never date a guy like the cop from #strangerthings,” Wood wrote. “Extreme jealousy and violent rages are not flattering or sexy like TV would have you believe. That is all.”

“Yes I am aware it’s ‘just a show’ and it’s set ‘in the 80s’ even though this stuff was unacceptable then too, but that’s exactly my point,” Wood continued in a second tweet. “It’s just a show and this is a gentle reminder not to fall for this crap in real life. Red flags galore.”

“Also I can’t not laugh at the people assuring me its [sic] just a show but correcting me on the characters name. 😑,” she added in a third tweet.

Following her tweets, Wood once again returned to the platform to write that “abusive people” were “attacking” her for her Stranger Thingshot take.

“Cue all the abusive people attacking me on twitter for posting a warning not to fall for abusive behavior like a popular tv character exhibited on a popular show because it reminds them of themselves and they feel personally attacked?” she wrote. “Bring it on guys.”

“I didn’t even say he was a bad guy or to stop watching the show, I just said ‘don’t date people like that,’” she added in another tweet. “But alas, abusers hear an attack and want a fight. Proving my point with their own retaliation.”

[From Entertainment Tonight]

Evan is right that Hopper is abusive, and something that many people are complaining about (because he is a fictional character) is that the character has been destroyed, and that needs to be addressed by the Stranger Things writers. Evan seems prepared to deal with the backlash that she’s getting, though I’m sorry that she’s on the receiving end of that in the first place. Her larger point isn’t about a fictional character, which she stated, but about the very real danger of actual abusive people, whom she was warning people not to date. She also used one fan’s snarky comment that she focus on real people rather than fictional ones to spread awareness about a law that she wrote, The Phoenix Act, which she explained, “ensur[es] more rights for Domestic Abuse survivors.” I’d not heard of the act until writing this story, and I’m so grateful that Evan is spearheading this difficult work; I hope the law passes in California and then around the country.

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38 Responses to “Evan Rachel Wood: Chief Hopper’s rages on Stranger Things are red flags (spoilers)”

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  1. eto says:

    Agreed, they took Hopper in a really gross direction this season. Was not sad he died.

    • TheHeat says:

      I don’t think he did die…did you watch past the credits on the last episode? :)

      I do agree, his behaviour made me very uncomfortable and I didn’t like him.

      I hope that they learn from this and write him better next season.

    • Alyse says:

      Yeah, just while watching the new season (not shaped by any social media etc) I felt like his character had become so unlikeable and unreasonable!!

  2. KC says:

    Yes I was triggered by him too! I thought I was going to put myself into a rage coma watching all the misogyny on this season with how he treated El making out with Mike and his straight up abuse to Joyce.
    I really hope they don’t bring his character back.

  3. Isa says:

    I kept wondering why he was acting the way he did, and then the scene where he desperately searches the kitchen for alcohol made me wonder if he was trying to be sober until then.
    I don’t really know but I hated it.

  4. Ang says:

    This was the first thing I noticed when watching the new season. Glaringly bad and over the top behavior from Hopper, when he wasn’t really like that before. It was very off-putting and almost made me stop watching. Some of the other characters were “too much” as well, almost caricatures of themselves.

  5. Jb says:

    Yea not sure why they turned into a rage machine. I get the writers we’re trying to portray a father trying to deal with his “daughter” growing up and becoming a woman and dealing with being ok with it. And I understood how they tried to create some sort of sexual tension with all the fighting and bickering with Joyce but they dropped the ball. He just seemed so angry and aggressive than an Everyman who got pulled into a crazy situation and steps up to be a “hero” when he needs to. Anyways JUSTICE FOR ALEXEI!!!

    • isabelle says:

      Hate that in movies and TV they build sex tension through fighting and anger. Which isn’t actually that common in real life. It is opposite in real life its built through having fun together, hanging out and be comfortable with each other. Hollywood really f*cks up how they show love and crushes.

      • Meg says:

        Good point and leads girls to believe to put up with that behavior because it’s just how guys show they like u by pulling your hair as a kid or negging you

  6. Jess says:

    I completely agree, they took his character too far in the rage department, it was sad to see. I do hope Hopper isn’t actually dead and the Duffer brothers learn from this and turn it around next season.

    I’m in this Facebook group where woman can chat about anything and it gets pretty raunchy and funny sometimes, but yesterday this woman posted about her husband being jealous of their children and he calls her degrading names like a stupid b*tch and tells her she doesn’t know how to properly mother because she lets their one year old sleep with them etc, and how he screams at the children and spanks them, so she was looking for advice and seemed like she was ready to leave him but an ungodly number of women told her she needed to do something special for him!!! I was so fkng pissed off, they said oh he’s feeling left out and he will cheat on you if you don’t put him first and make him feel like he’s number one in the house. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, that’s abuse and so many women don’t know it. So I applaud Evan Rachel Wood for speaking out, yes it’s a just a tv show but abuse shouldn’t be glorified in any way because apparently a lot of women think it’s normal to be spoken to and treated like that.

    • Jb says:

      That’s actually kinda sad and scary. If my husband is regularly screaming obscenities at me, the last thing I’m gonna do is treat him like some king. I hope that woman leaves her husband and those defending him get a freaking clue.

    • When a big, strong man, with a powerful, booming voice–a COP, no less! In UNIFORM! Is slamming doors, and yelling at women and kids, being emotionally manipulative, and physically intimidating…

      Maybe don’t give us whimsical musical cues, Netflix, about how we should interpret this behavior–I’m side-eyeing that, hardcore. I get that his inability to communicate in a healthy manner is supposed to make us laugh, but they’re normalizing emotional abuse.

      El is a kid, and her parent is emotionally abusive.

      Mike is a kid, and his girlfriend’s dad isn’t “crazy”, he’s emotionally abusive. And if Mike had been MY kid, I would have been pissed about what Hopper did in the scene in the truck. There was so much wrong with that.

      Winona doesn’t owe Hopper shit. She isn’t “playing hard to get”, “no” doesn’t mean “yes”, his jealousy doesn’t mean he “really, REALLY likes her”, and it wouldn’t be sexy if she tried to “fix” him. It’s also not her responsibility to do so, or something that’s even possible, or advisable.

      If someone stands you up, it sucks, and you can tell them it sucks, but then you have to accept it.

      If these Hopper scenes had been shot honestly, the camera would have stayed on the faces of the recipients of these tantrums, and dark music would have followed… because that’s the truth, and none of this is funny. And I’m not saying characters can’t go dark, or have issues… just don’t play the scene like it’s cute or funny. Again, that’s called NORMALIZING ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR.

      If he doesn’t know how to talk to his daughter and her boyfriend about boundaries, that’s tough, and I feel for him. But how about modeling the behavior he wants to see, first? And why was he going to Winona before talking to Mike’s ACTUAL PARENTS?! Who might have been just as concerned, and grounded him for a while… no fuss, no yelling. People with dysfunctional behaviors don’t want simple, sane solutions–they run from them. There’s no satisfaction for them without the drama.

      I actually like Hopper. In the end, though, I was cringing as the show tried to sweep all the crazy under the rug and bring Hopper and Winona together… it felt so wrong. The way they tried to turn his emotional abuse into some kind of mutual ‘Sam and Diane’ style bickering–just “sexual tension, tee-hee!” was vomit-inducing.

    • Nicole76705 says:

      I think the “male first” line of thinking is a religious influence. A supervisor of mine was like that due to religion. Husband first, kids second. Of course, her husband had his issues but he he wasn’t physically abusive.

      I agree, JB, if he starts screaming obscenities at me, I ain’t treating him like a king, but the piece of shite he clearly is. And come at me buddy for letting our 1 year old sleep with us. Nope.

      • When you have kids, it HAS to become about them for a while, especially when they’re little. People jealous of their own children have problems, it’s sick.

        Relationships evolve, and we need to grow and evolve with them… there’s room for everyone. And as the adults, the burden is on us to be patient, and give up time and attention, and take what we can, when we can. Our needs aren’t as immediate as a child’s.

  7. Suz says:

    Agreed. He was nothing but a violent drunk this season save one tender moment with El.

  8. Rocķy says:

    I thought they were trying to channel 80s movies like Romancing the Stone or War of the Roses where the romantic characters fight constantly. They didn’t succeed at that, but that was what they were attempting.

    I found all the making out by El and Mike completely creeped me out. Remember they are 15 and El has no social experience at all. They shouldn’t have been in her bedroom at all.

  9. AlmaMartyr says:

    She’s completely right, I’ve noticed this as well. It made me really uncomfortable.

  10. Wickster says:

    I was also triggered by his rages and the way he spoke to Joyce; I also thought the scene when the scientist character urges them to “have sex already” because they are so angry at each other and arguing —especially because he constantly is dismissing her intelligence–was not only inappropriate for a young audience but really a bad reading on the situation. She was with a kind and loving man who just died and then with someone who rages at her and treats her terribly and patronizes her (when he was in her store and all the magnets dropped on the floor. and he just walked away without picking them up for her–what a jerk).
    I also thought that for a show aimed at kids, there was way too much swearing (I mean when I was that age I no way said those words around adults OR other kids, though I grew up in the 70s and maybe it was different??).
    And the early kissing scenes were unnecessary and the allusions to sex… they could have portrayed their “experimentation”without putting two adolescent actors through that. It felt creepy that El’s lack of knowledge about certain things was being in a way taken advantage of, but just as creepy that Millie Bobby Brown was 14 at the time it was shot.
    I appreciate the character El is the heroine in many situations. But this season just felt creepy.

    • Ang says:

      This show is not intended for “young audiences” it’s an adult show. I agree with everything else you said 😊

      • Wickster says:

        I’m just going off of what I know from my young nieces and nephews. They are all enamored of the show. But I am a liberal prude, LOL…I know realistically they watch much worse things.

      • eto says:

        It’s rated TV-14 according to Google

  11. Fluffy Princess says:

    I thought Hopper was way, way too Rage-y this season. I felt some of his rage was more born of frustration of everything that had happened and was happening, and that he just didn’t know how to deal with it properly. BUT — it Definitely was over the top and way too much.

    And when did he start crushing on Joyce so hard? They always just seemed like old friends who were caught in a Strange situation and were a team, but that their “romance” was in the past when they were in High School. Plus, Hopper always seemed like more of the “voice of reason” and a strong, but calm in Season 1 and 2. He was just so over the top in Season 3.

    Also, keeping the door open 3 inches in Junior high — that was GENEROUS as far as I’m concerned. First of all, my parents would have been, “Alone time in the bedroom?” Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha – no. And even in High School, the bedroom door NEVER closes. Like it better be wide open at all times or you can just hang out downstairs with everyone else. Period. The end — no discussion otherwise.

    • I don’t mind the creators showing us abusive behavior. I mind the way they portrayed it… I thought the musical cues, and the the actors reactions in those scenes, were concerning.

      And then to say they’re just “sniping” at each other, because “sexual tension”, when what HAD been happening up to that point, was Joyce avoiding Hopper, or being merely polite and helpful in her store (on the clock, when she COULDN’T avoid him)… and Hopper being petulant, manipulative, and loud, when he couldn’t get his way, and wasn’t willing to either accept that she wasn’t into him (and/or was still grieving for her fiance, something he tried to shame her for), or just put in the work to charm her.

      He was literally trying to manipulate and bully her into a relationship, and it was gross, and Netflix, in my opinion, didn’t take responsibility for what they were showing us… it seemed very much like they wanted the audience to view this behavior as “funny”, “cute”, and “relatable”.

  12. sparker says:

    My son is totally in love with her and I approve.

  13. isabelle says:

    Be careful ladies to think abusers only are in the package of so called anger and emotional outbursts…lifelong abusers adapt and learn how to hide their abuse. Mine appeared sweet, nice and calm. He never raised his temper and remained calm no emotion when he would spew horrible things from his mouth, gaslight and an emotionally destroyed me. Abusers come in many packages.

  14. Marie says:

    I would love to see this site report on more celebrity news and less opinion based crap. Listening to all these over sensitive b*{ches on here complain is ridiculous. That’s what Facebook is for. Report the news Celebitchy! Who gives a rats ass about Evan Rachel Woods opinion? Is this really celebrity news worthy?

    • TheHeat says:

      Hi Rage-y Hopper!

    • Mash says:

      I feel you marie….

      • Marie says:

        Thank you Mash! I’ve been following this site for a long time and still love it but lately it just seems to cover some pretty boring topics. I come here for celebrity news. Not he said/she said nonsense that will be forgotten two days from now. So she didn’t like a character in a show. Big deal. Move along.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Are you for real marie? Or am I just not getting the joke.

  15. Angela Hull says:

    I’ve always thought the show is really about childhood trauma, or trauma in general. I’m a huge fan of the show. Having said that, I’m as or more concerned as someone who’s gone through foster parent training that the show doesn’t accurately show what **El’s** issues really would be in that case. Sure we see Billy’s, but he’s not the viewer’s focus. I agree w above poster, Hopper’s behavior is a sign of inability to cope and thus alcoholism and inability to control anything or anyone – which regardless of the motivation/core problem/addiction is abuse and usually along with other wrong/illegal behavior. He’s spiraling, it sure seems, even if at the end it seemed he was taking responsibility for his fear … though he didn’t say so which isn’t really taking full accountability!

  16. phlyfiremama says:

    In general, the way women have been treated this particular season has been VERY offputting. When Will says the stuff about the evil invaders from “Khuzetown”, or whatever the city was that sounds like “cooze” something, I was so grossed out. There is such an anti-female bias it is disturbing.

    • phlyfiremama says:

      In short, things I liked about ST3: Erica, Murray, Max, and the LGBTQ inclusiveness with Max being at least bisexual (ALL the symbols are there in the bedroom scene with El)
      Things I DON’T like: Just about everything else, but Hopper this season is just uggg.

      • Ang says:

        Not just Max, Robin is gay and they made that very plain. 👍🏼

      • phlyfiremama says:

        Correct, Ang!! Robin is the other thing that I like. I am as straight as an arrow, but I AM AN ALLY of LGBTQP.

  17. Ang says:

    I immediately noticed that one too. Ugh