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Here's why celebrities are defending 'Succession' star Jeremy Strong on social media

Strong's controversial profile in the New Yorker has caused buzz across social media all week.
/ Source: TODAY

"Succession" fans have spent much of the week discussing their theories and predictions for the finale of the popular HBO show - and debating a prestigious profile of leading actor Jeremy Strong.

The profile, which appeared in the New Yorker on Dec. 5 just hours before the show's second-to-last episode, quickly garnered widespread attention for its portrayal of Strong, who plays outcast Kendall in the Emmy-winning drama.

The sprawling piece that detailed the 42-year-old's acting history, delving into his practice of “identity diffusion," and included quotes about his methods by past and present co-stars. Some initial reactions found the story to be entertaining, but not offensive.

“What the Jeremy Strong piece showed was a subject and profiler both at the top of their game,” one Twitter user wrote. “If highly creative people are no longer allowed to be a) arty and weird and b) entertainingly bemused by said weirdness, then we as a culture are truly f——d.”

Another tweeted, “Kinda sweet that we all came together to tell Jeremy Strong it’s okay to be an absolute weirdo.”

A few criticized Strong's acting methods and suggested that he might be too intense to be well-liked by his castmates. Many also scanned the profile for clues about the fate of Strong's "Succession" character, who was left in a dangerous situation at the end of the show's eighth episode.

In general, though, the response to the profile was positive.

“The Jeremy Strong profile just makes me like him more than I already did,” one social media user wrote.

However, celebrities perceived the profile and the response to it online as an attack on Strong’s character. Many came to the defense of the actor to praise his work ethic.

Two days after the profile came out, Jessica Chastain, who worked with Strong on “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Molly’s Game,” tweeted her support for the actor she’s known for two decades.

“Hes a lovely person. Very inspiring & passionate about his work,” she wrote. “The profile that came out on him was incredibly one sided. Don’t believe everything you read folks. Snark sells but maybe its time we move beyond it.”

On Friday, December 10, Chastain also passed along a lengthy screenshot of a statement on Twitter, from director Aaron Sorkin, writing, “Aaron Sorkin doesn’t have social media so asked me to post this letter on his behalf xx.”

“After reading Michael Schulman’s profile of Jeremy Strong—a profile in which I participated—I wanted to speak up,” began the statement from Sorkin, who recently directed Strong in "The Trial of the Chicago 7." “I think I helped Mr. Schulman create what I believe is a distorted picture of Jeremy that asks us to roll our eyes at his acting process.”

In the statement, Sorkin shared how he had responded to the journalist who wrote the profile. The original article included snippets of Sorkin’s response about Strong asking to be sprayed with real tear gas during a scene, as well as playing a kazoo in the middle of a scene. In his statement, he provided the full answers for more context on each situation.

After sharing each answer, later in the statement, Sorkin acknowledged that it was “perfectly normal” that only some of his answers were used, but wanted to clarify some of his statement.

“Let me be clear, Jeremy would never suggest endangering a member of the cast or crew or anyone else," he wrote. “It was something he mentioned in passing and I was telling the story affectionately and as a way of demonstrating his commitment. Nor would Jeremy ever consider disrespecting an actor and certainly not Frank Langella.”

Sorkin’s statement sparked a slew of new defenses, including Adam McKay, the executive producer of “Succession.” McKay, who shared an article on Twitter from Deadline about Sorkin’s response, said, “I couldn’t agree more.”

“Jeremy is not only a lovely guy but a brilliant actor who was cast in Succession precisely because of his passion the New Yorker writer mocks,” the tweet read.

Anne Hathaway penned a message of support to Strong on Instagram on Saturday, December 11, writing in part, “As the week ends, I would like to send some love to Jeremy Strong who I’m lucky enough to have worked with twice and who I am proud to consider a friend.”

“I deeply value his qualities of thoughtfulness, sincerity, authenticity, sweetness, depth, kindness, generosity, as well as his powerful intelligence and extraordinary sensitivity,” she continued. “He is an incredibly talented and inventive artist who is fully engaged and committed on set, as well as a passionate, open person in life. I find all of these things inspiring. (oh, and he’s fun.)”

His “Succession” co-star Brian Cox, who was also quoted in the article, discussed the piece on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” during an appearance on the show on Wednesday, December 8.

“The result that Jeremy gets is always pretty tremendous," Cox said in the profile. "I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises he puts himself through in order to prepare.”

Last week, Cox told the show's host, “The thing about Jeremy’s approach is it works in terms of what comes out the other end.”

Despite some of the outcry the article has received on both ends of the spectrum, fans of Strong are speculating that he wasn’t even bothered by the article at all.

“all these people defending jeremy strong meanwhile he somewhere sitting on a rock with his legs crossed reading a book full of old poems from centuries ago,” one Twitter user wrote.