Outlander Fans Demand Answers After Show Casts Actor Convicted Of Assault

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Sunday's episode of Outlander sparked outrage after an actor accused of domestic violence appeared on screen. Will Strongheart plays the role of Tawodi, a Cherokee leader who commends Jamie (Sam Heughan) for killing a member of the tribe who sexual assaulted a woman.
"That is not our way," Tawodi says in the episode.
Strongheart, the actor, was convicted of two counts of assault causing bodily harm in 2010, according to CBC news. This prompted a fan to confront author Diana Gabaldon about the actor and whether or not she had anything to do with his appearance in the series on Gabaldon's Facebook page,
"How do you feel about the casting of Will Strongheart, who has a known history of abusing women and even did jail time for it? Did you know and don't they do background check, esp. in the#metoo age? One google gives the result," they wrote on a post of Gabaldon's. "I find this incredibly insensitive, a slap in the face of the victims, esp. considering the lines he delivered:He harmed his woman one year ago...That is not our way' Good joke."
"No, I have absolutely nothing to do with the casting," Gabaldon replied. "Sometimes, they'll tell me ahead of time who's going to play a particular part, if it's an important character and they want me to announce it here when whichever media outlet they/ve chosen break it, but not otherwise. And no, they didn't tell me about any of the Native American actors except Tantoo Cardinal."
In response to further questioning, 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."
This isn't the first time Strongheart's record has surfaced. In April of this year, ahead of his movie Indian Horse, an alleged victim came forward on social media to detail their assault, as well as allegations from other women. Strongheart told CBC that "This is about the 10th time such posts have been made in the last eight years. I wish to inform you that this matter has been dealt with as of 2010. However, due to my recent involvement in film, and other outlets; these two women have found reason to post and continue to post whenever I am mentioned publicly. I have addressed this many times over on my social media accounts, letters/etc. I've made public and personal apologies, held myself accountable for the negative actions I had done and hoped each time was the end of it."
Representatives for Starz did not immediately return Refinery29's request for comment.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.

More from TV

R29 Original Series