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Netflix’s new show Bridgerton, which on the surface is seemingly another period drama, has been wildly popular among fans. Nicola Coughlan, who portrays Penelope Featherington on the show, has many fans, but the Irish actor has also dealt with online trolls. Recently, the actor spoke out about fans making comments about her body — learn more about what the actor had to say.

Nicola Coughlan smiling in front of a white background
Nicola Coughlan | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Coughlan has dealt with criticism

The British Theatre Guide is a perfect example of the cringe-worthy criticism Coughlan has had to endure. One reviewer from the organization, Philip Fisher, commented on her performance in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. To quote Fisher directly, “the kind of overweight little girl who will always become the butt of her fellows’ immature humor.”

Coughlan did not take the comment lightly. As reported by The Guardian, she responded by saying, “I know you are a theatre reviewer and your body has no relevance to your job but maybe you’d like me to cruelly review it for you and post it online.” 

The same reviewer has made off-color remarks about her body before when he reviewed her performance as Jess in Joe Forever at the Traverse Theater in Edinburgh. His opening line for that review was, “Jess is a fat girl.”The BTG has since deleted both reviews and apologized to Coughlan.

She had something for Instagram as well

In a recent Instagram post, Coughlan implores those that have opinions about her body to kindly keep their comments to themselves. Acknowledging that her status as an actor opens her up to a certain amount of criticism, she implores readers to please not share them with her directly.

She adds that the sheer amount of messages she receives criticizing her body is simply too much. On the other hand, her personality shines at the end of the heartfelt message by adding that she is delighted with her hair in the picture she shared with her fans.

Coughlan receives support from fans


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After taking to Twitter to air her grievances, Coughlan has been overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement she has received from fans. She told The Guardian, “I had support from people I know, and so many I didn’t, and while I appreciated that, it was overwhelming.” 

She also acknowledges that she isn’t alone in her fight and that not all those that are affected by the same prejudices are female. She says that she has been contacted by male actors as well. Still, she feels that she should speak out and play her part in the revolution that is sweeping Hollywood the moment. She says that she is inspired by the Time’s Up movement and all the incredible work that is being done to shed light on the sexual harassment that has been allowed to run rampant in show business for several decades.