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Haley Lu Richardson Thinks People Shouldn't Be So Critical Of Portia In The White Lotus

If there's one thing "The White Lotus" has never lacked, it's divisive characters. Across its first two seasons, the Mike White-created HBO series has focused primarily on the kind of wealthy, oblivious characters who have grown used to walking through life without having to worry too much about the impression they make. In other words, "The White Lotus" isn't a show that has ever featured a large number of what TV viewers would normally consider "likable characters."

The series, to its credit, doesn't seem particularly interested in convincing its viewers that they should root for or like many of its wealthy central figures, either. It's for that reason that viewers have had such an easy time either rooting against or straight-up hating characters like Shane (Jake Lacy) in "The White Lotus" Season 1 and Cameron (Theo James) in "The White Lotus" Season 2, both of whom make it their business to behave particularly badly — even by the HBO show's admittedly appalling standards.

It's not just the more straightforward "villains" in "The White Lotus" who have been the subject of intense online criticism, though. As a matter of fact, over the course of "The White Lotus" Season 2's seven episodes, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), the anxious, depressed assistant to Tanya McQuoid-Hunt (Jennifer Coolidge), gradually emerged as a surprisingly divisive figure among the show's fans. Richardson, for her part, doesn't believe all the criticism her character received was necessarily warranted.

Haley Lu Richardson was surprised by how strongly viewers disliked Portia

In a recent interview with Variety, Haley Lu Richardson shared her thoughts on the end of "The White Lotus" Season 2 and the surprisingly negative way her character, Portia, was received by many of the show's fans. The actor, in specific, revealed how surprised she was by the conversations that began to surround her "White Lotus" character and explained why she still finds it odd just how heavily some viewers criticized Portia, especially given how badly many of the HBO show's other characters routinely behave.

"It does feel weird because it's, like, 'Really? Portia, of all these people, is the one that you're labeling the villain of the season?'" Richardson said. "She's the only one of all of them that doesn't have money and is also kind of redeemable at the end of the day because it's still not really solidified who she is as a person." The actor also added that she did find it interesting to engage in some of the online discussions surrounding her character.

"The fact that Portia is the character that's really getting picked apart, from her clothes to her whole being, it's been kind of fun, honestly, for me to read about it and kind of be part of the whole conversation," Richardson admitted. The actor, however, was also quick to further explain not only why she believes Portia's life after "The White Lotus" Season 2 could turn out better than some viewers think, but also why she was so taken aback by the negative reactions to the character.

"There's hope for her to turn things around and be good and get her s*** together," Richardson noted. "It doesn't fully make sense to me that she's the one that people dislike so much."