Will Suffered A Hate Crime On 'Nashville,' But Fought Back By Rising Above Bullies

Will Lexington has had a hard go of it on Nashville. Sure, he’s tall, handsome, and can carry a tune, but as a gay man trying to promote his music in a very conservative environment, he's faced enormous struggles and unfair treatment. And though he's been discriminated against before on the series, Wednesday night's episode showed the first time that Will was physically attacked for being a gay man in country music.

It all started at a show for The Exes, Gunnar and Scarlett’s band. Will had mentioned that he was looking forward to getting up on stage again, and Scarlett invited him to perform a little set during their show. But as soon as Will got on stage, a heckler in the front of the audience started screaming slurs at him, and eventually threw a beer bottle at Will, striking him in the face and breaking his nose. The police were called and Will was encouraged to press hate crime charges, but he decided not to. When Gunnar asked him why he didn’t get the jerk that hit him locked away with a felony, Will said he'd "show him." Talk about something not boding well... but it turns out that Will returned to the same bar the next night, bought his offender a beer, got back on stage, and told the whole bar that it wasn't going to stop him from singing his song. You go, Will! That bigot ran out of the bar, totally shamed.

At first, I was worried that Will would do something stupid and try and fight the guy or something (very much like Chris Carmack’s character, Luke, on The O.C.), but I was so relieved when he realized that fire is not the antidote to fire. Water and a little understanding is. Gunnar said, “He’s braver than I am,” and I totally agree. Will knows that it’s hard to change a closed mind — bullies only respond to force, and standing up for himself was the greatest force of all.

Images: Mark Levine/ABC; Giphy