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9-1-1's Oliver Stark Had A Perfect Response To Homophobic Fans After Buck's Gay Kiss

"9-1-1" Season 7, Episode 4 is the show's 100th episode, and it's not called "Buck, Bothered and Bewildered" for nothing. The episode marks a monumental turn for Evan "Buck" Buckley (Oliver Stark) when he confesses his romantic feelings to Tommy Kinard (Lou Ferrigno Jr.) and the two kiss. If there was any question about whether the actor approves of the character embracing his sexuality, Stark would like to make it known that he fully supports Buck's arc. In fact, he's taken some time to acknowledge the fandom's support on social media — and he took shots at the unavoidable homophobic trolls and detractors while he was at it.

"Humbled and overwhelmed by the positive reaction to Buck's storyline," Stark wrote in an Instagram story (via Pop Base). "I've read so many of your messages and I couldn't be prouder. If you are one of the smaller group of people commenting on my posts about how this has ruined the show. I would like you to know that I truly don't care. This is a show about love and inclusion."

Stark is clearly very invested in his character and has predicted a journey of healing for Buck in the past. As such, it was no surprise that the actor doubled down on his message and let the haters know that people who disagree with inclusivity aren't exactly contractually required to watch the show. "If one other character finding a new facet to his sexuality and realising his bisexuality is your deal breaker — I fear you've missed the entire point of the show," he wrote. "You are not required to announce your departure."

Stark says the show has plenty of hints about Buck's sexuality

"Buck, Bothered and Bewildered" may have officially revealed Buck's bisexuality to the world, but if you ask Oliver Stark, the show laid plenty of groundwork for the revelation well before the episode dropped. "There have been crumbs for years and years," the actor told TV Line. "If you look back, and I don't know if it was even intentional from anybody in the moment, I think that the thread is there throughout. So coming to this moment now is really exciting and deserved and earned."

Superficially, Buck's path from his ultra-masculine ladies' man image at the show's beginning to his characterization in Season 7 might seem like a pretty big leap, but as far as Stark is concerned, Buck has been bisexual for quite a while. As luck would have it, the actor was ready to explore that side of the character before showrunner Tim Minear told him about the kiss plotline. "What's kind of crazy is that this season I did decide 'If there's an opportunity, I think I want to start leaning more heavily into that,'" Stark told Entertainment Weekly

It remains to be seen where Buck's story arc takes him going forward, but the truth of "9-1-1" is that it has no shortage of well-told, critically-appreciated stories. In a show where even Buck's armchair has unexpected meaning, there's no reason to believe that the show will fumble what just might turn out to be the character's most pivotal storyline — at least if Stark has any say in it.