Joe Rogan gave up watching The Walking Dead when it killed off Glenn (Steven Yeun) because the zombie drama has "no respect for [its] main characters." At the time one of the longest surviving characters on the show, Glenn was murdered by newcomer villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere moments after Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) was bludgeoned to death by Lucille, the name given to Negan's baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. The graphic episode was inspired by issue #100 of creator Robert Kirkman's comic books, where Negan beat Glenn to death to impose Savior rule over Rick Grimes and his survivors.
"That show I used to love. I loved that show for the first few seasons," Rogan said on the latest episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. "It was a great show for the first two or three seasons."
Glenn was killed off in "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be," the Season 7 premiere directed by Greg Nicotero.
"When they killed Glenn, I was like, 'I'm done.' The day they killed Glenn," Rogan said. "It's the way they did it, too. It's like, 'What? You guys got no respect for your main characters.'"
Rogan then recalled seeing Yeun in public post-Walking Dead, claiming he "looked depressed."
"Can you imagine? If you're on a show, and you'r one of the big players on the show — and he was one of the main guys, and one of the more interesting guys — and he's on the show for five, six years, whatever it was, and then one day they just baseball bat you," he said. "This new guy baseball bats you. So not only is this new guy on the show getting all the heat, but now he baseball bats you to death."
Rogan added, "And then you're just out there in public and probably people are mocking you on social media, if you're not smart and you read that sh-t and you feel bummed out."
The episode came under fire for its gruesome execution-style deaths and was condemned by the Parents Television Council, who called the "brutally explicit" episode "one of the most graphically violent shows we've ever seen on television."
Some viewers filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission: some appalled viewers accused the episode of being "sadistic, emotional torture," while other criticisms called it "beyond brutal, beyond sick and beyond evil."
Other complaints filed to the FCC said Abraham and Glenn's deaths were worse than footage of genuine ISIS beheadings.
"I don't know, it's like one of those, 'Thank you, I guess?' [reactions]," Yeun said during a 2019 convention appearance when asked how he feels about such strong response to Glenn's death. "It's a compliment, but also... you don't want the show to not be seen, you want the show to go on. So I don't know, I say like a confused thanks."
Yeun's former co-star Chad Coleman, who played Tyreese between Seasons 3 and 5, previously revealed he stopped watching The Walking Dead because of Abraham and Glenn's gory deaths.
Cudlitz, now a director on the show, later said it was "not the wisest thing" killing both the fan-favorite Abraham and Glenn in the same episode because it was "too much of a loss for the fans, for the audience."