Mr. Bates has always been a little pugnacious. And the same goes for the actor who plays him.
Brendan Coyle, who's portrayed the honorable Crawley family valet for three seasons on PBS' Downton Abbey, used a not-so-nice expletive to tell off a Twitter follower who didn't like what he had to say about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Per The Sun, Downton fan Roberta Knighton took the 48-year-old actor to task for some untoward remarks he made regarding the former PM, telling Coyle the comments were "beneath him." That prompted a sharply worded and unprintable retort on his part.
"Hard to know how to respond to that…but go f--k yourself feels about right," the Emmy-nominated thesp tweeted back, adding, "You have no idea what is beneath me…p.s. go f--k yourself x."
To add insult to injury, Coyle then blocked her from his Twitter page.
For her part, when asked about the online spat, the 53-year-old fan replied that she was taken aback that Coyle was not nearly as mild-mannered as his small-screen alter-ego Mr. Bates might suggest.
"He comes across as utterly sweet and gentle then speaks to people like that. I was shocked," Knighton told the newspaper.
Coyle, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his role as Bates, is currently in Vietnam filming the movie Noble and has yet to comment on the matter.