‘The Boys’ Creator Disturbs Fans By Calling Scene Involving Sexual Assault ‘Hilarious’

It seems the creator of “The Boys” has the emotional maturity of a boy.

Last week, showrunner Eric Kripketold Variety that he thought a scene in the most recent episode of his superhero series was “hilarious.” Fans of “The Boys” were disturbed by Kripke’s remarks because the scene he was referring to involved a character being sexually assaulted.

In the sixth episode of Season 4, titled “Dirty Business,” the character Hughie (Jack Quaid) is forced to endure a series of nonconsensual sexual acts because he doesn’t know a safe word — a prearranged and unambiguous signal to end the sexual activity.

“I love that it’s just such a perfect setup that he doesn’t know his own safe word,” Kripke told the entertainment magazine. “It’s just like a beautiful comedy setup that he’s trying to find it the whole time.”

In the show, Hughie is a normal guy without superpowers. In Season 4, Episode 6, he decides to go undercover as a superhero named Webweaver to get information from another superhero, named Tek Knight (Derek Wilson).

In “The Boys,” Webweaver is the show’s version of Spider-Man. Tek Knight is akin to Batman in the series (below is a promo image of both characters, with Tek Night in the Bruce Wayne-like formal attire and Webweaver in the skintight costume.)

Instead of having a Batcave, however, Tek Knight has a different kind of secret lair.

“The notion came up of, he should have a Batcave — but let’s be honest, the Batcave would be a sex dungeon,” Kripke told Variety. “Like, even the real Batcave is just this side of being a sex dungeon. It’s really dark, and there’s rubber suits everywhere. It’s not that much of a push to add a couple dildos and then a weird urinal that turns into a face mask.”

In the episode, Tek Knight invites Hughie, aka Webweaver, down to his sex dungeon to audition to be his “sidekick.” Unbeknownst to Hughie, what Tek Knight really wants is a submissive sexual partner. This leads Tek Knight to restrain Hughie and perform sexual acts on him unless he uses the safe word. Because Hughie doesn’t know the safe word, he is forced to endure numerous sexual acts until his friends come to save him.

“The idea of Spider-Man going down to be kink tickled in the Batcave is just too good to pass up,” Kripke told Variety. “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t leave that on the table.”

After Hughie is rescued, he learns the safe word was “Zendaya” — or the name of the actor who played Spider-Man’s love interest in the most recent film trilogy.

Kripke credited “the brilliant writer of the episode” for coming up with that safe word. “He just put that in the first draft. I don’t think we ever discussed it, and he just threw in that his safe word was ‘Zendaya,’ and I just laughed my ass off about that,” Kripke said.

Some fans of “The Boys” expressed on X, formerly Twitter, that they were bothered by the comedic tone of the sexual assault scene — and said that Kripke making light of it while speaking with Variety disturbed them even more.

There is one scene later in the episode (above) that seems to acknowledge that being sexually assaulted is no laughing matter — but it is brief. Hughie eventually breaks down in front of another character and tells her through tears that he is “not fine.”

It seems at first that Hughie is upset because he was raped, but he quickly expresses that he’s emotional because his father had recently died.

In Season 1 of “The Boys,” a female character named Starlight/Annie (Erin Moriarty) is sexually assaulted — but the scene is presented as tragic. Kripke told reporters at the time that he had put a lot of thought into that particular scene.

“I wanted to get it right,” Kripke said at the time about filming Starlight’s assault. “I had a lot of conversations with a lot of women, some of which were very painful. And I did my absolute best to get the f– out of the way, and just let them speak, and not try to steer it one way or another.”

He added:

“I’ve never worked so hard or stressed so much about a scene in my life before or since. Because if I got that wrong, it’s not just that it would fail as a scene, it would be hurtful. And I felt that pressure and responsibility all throughout.”

Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.